Washington Capitals GM George McPhee has confirmed that head coach Dale Hunter would not return next season. That choice was apparently not the Capitals choice, but the choice of Dale Hunter himself. According to McPhee, Hunter informed him a little after 10:00AM that he would not return.
Hunter has decided to return to the junior league London Knights, which he coaches and co-owns with his brother. According to McPhee, the move is not surprising to him. McPhee stated that the Capitals could not get any deal beyond the end of this season, making Hunter's move back to junior hockey unsurprising. Essentially, Hunter was nothing more than caretaker, in my opinion. Hunter is not expected to depart immediately, but will likely stick around and assist the Capitals with the June 22 and 23rd NHL Draft.
Given the fact that the possibility was pretty high this could b the outcome, makes you wonder two things. First, why were the Caps even interested then in bringing Hunter in and changing the entire system, when, more than likely, a new coach will install his own system? Second, what was Hunter thinking? Was this just an NHL test drive for him?
The brief Hunter era ends with a 30-23-7 record in 2011-12 and the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and an eventual 7-7 playoff record.
UPDATED WITH Dale Hunter Comment
Dale Hunter said that he agonized and slep on the decision of whether to return to Washington, but said that the decision he made 'was the right one for me and my family." Bottom line for Hunter, his family and family business outweighed his quest for a Stanley Cup.