How About a Round with an Old Friend?

I don’t know if George McPhee is a golfer, or if he even owns a set of clubs, but early this offseason I’d urge him borrowing a set of clubs if need be and setting up a round out on the links with this guy:

A real good guy to chat puck and chug a beer with

The thing about golf played by buddies, even when it’s played badly, is that it affords hours of uninterrupted and if needed frank conversation. War stores and warm reminisciences get swapped out on the links. World-weariness can be escaped on tee boxes and greens.

I wouldn’t presume to dictate an agenda for such an outing between our GM and legend. But I think they should hit the links together, have a couple of beers, and talk some puck. There are worse ways to spend a summer day than in the company of a game 7 hero, no?

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9 Responses to How About a Round with an Old Friend?

  1. Geo says:

    Quite a few fans float Dale’s name as possible NHL coach material, though I don’t know how many Ontario Hockey League coaches jump directly to the NHL. And his OHL postseason record (a Memorial Cup, a 2nd finals visit, surrounded by several 1st, 2nd, 3rd round exits) isn’t exactly spectacular (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Hunter).

    But certainly if a team matches a coach’s personality, a team that matched Dale’s would be something to see. 🙂

  2. Re. your concluding sentence, Geo — 10 of those games should fill the entirety of a ‘Best of’ DVD collection for a franchise.

  3. Paul says:

    Precisely how many times is Dale Hunter’s name inscribed on the Stanley Cup? As I recall he made it to the finals once, and conference finals just one other time with the Caps.

    For every time they show him roofing one on Ron Hextall they also need to show him cleaning out Pierre Turgeon after a goal.

    Let’s not romanticize Hunter’s legacy in an hour of dejection over last night’s loss.

  4. Paul,

    As one who has spoken with John Carlson on numerous occasions about *Coach* Hunter, and knowing the regard for the coach that exists today within the Capitals’ organization, I have to beg to differ with you here.

  5. WFY says:

    Beer? Mr. Hunter prefers diet Coke.

  6. Geo says:

    While it’s true Dale has the record for most NHL playoff games without winning a Stanley Cup, one really can’t question his tenacity, team spirit, pugnaciousness and doing whatever it took (including, yes, doing dirty things) to win. I know from interviews here and elsewhere Carlson is crazy about Dale, and I gotta think his good habits have more to do with Dale’s tutelage than his very brief time in Hershey.

    But I dunno. Would Dale as Coach have some magical scheme to break a trapping defense? Could he come up with plays that would get Ovy away from Hal Gill? Would he chew out his team with a Herbert Brooks-ish speech every time they underperformed? Could he get players who don’t excel at crashing the net and planting themselves in front of it to make that commitment? Would he maybe ditch the whole “optional” practice routine (Dale was supposedly always 1st to every practice as a player) and make players more accountable?

    If he had a real plan for success at the NHL level as a coach, and it’s something he wanted to do, he’d be an intriguing choice.

    I love Boudreau as coach, but maybe he really is Bryan Murray II (Murray’s first three Caps teams also went out in the 1st, 2nd and 1st rounds his first 3 years as coach), and it’s up to someone else to get them over the hump. Does Bruce have a brother? 😉

  7. penguin pete says:

    hey paul. suck it.

    and that’s a budweiser, dammit. don’t try to convince me otherwise.

  8. Paul says:

    @Penguin Pete: your comment is as classy as your moniker. High praise from the flightless bird.

  9. Paul says:

    @Pucks&Books: I am not sure what we’re differing over. I remember too well the Easter Epic which led directly to the trade that got Hunter. The theory was that the Caps had no playoff fire and were too soft. It paid off in the first round the next year with a Caps comeback from 3-1 (and trailing 3-1 in game 7) to win the series on Hunter’s OT goal. I also remember what happened next: game 7 elimination to the Devils in round 2.

    The next season they were STILL too soft, so they unloaded Gartner (quite possibly the Alexander Semin of his day) and Murphy (name on Stanley Cup now how many times kids?) for Ciccarelli and Rouse. Result? Round 1 elimination in 1989.

    Their breakthrough in 1990 was thanks to a third-line wing who someone must have hypnotized and told he was Maurice Richard. The bad night in Georgetown led to Poile/Pollin walking away from a HOF defenseman in Stevens, followed by seven more seasons of wandering the hockey desert. Finally, a brand-new GMGM patched together a collection of veterans (with a young Bondra and Kolzig) for a Cup run.

    The bottom line here is that heart is only one ingredient of a Cup contender, along with skill, judgment, adaptability, and coolness under pressure. Hunter had plenty of heart, but was no superstar in the other areas.

    Before we give up the future in pursuit of this mythical property, remember who the Caps ended up giving up to get Hunter: two serviceable players in Haworth and Duchesne, and the draft pick that went on to win the Hart, Conn Smythe, and TWO Stanley Cups: Joe Sakic.

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