Hunter packed up his things and told general manager George McPhee of his decision Monday morning, just hours before the team met for the final time this season. According to McPhee, Hunter’s decision to step down from the head coaching position was based on family reasons and also Hunter’s desire to return coaching the London Knights, the OHL team Hunter was the co-owner, president and head coach of before accepting the Capitals job back in November.
Although Hunter went a respectable 30-23-7 during the regular season after taking over for Bruce Boudreau, he was praised around the hockey world for the Caps’ commitment to defense through the first two rounds of the postseason. The Caps ultimately came up short against the New York Rangers in their 2-1 Game 7 loss, but it was because Hunter was able to reshape the team’s identity that they even made it that far.
This is still a bit of a shock to Caps fans, who are still reeling from another guy-wrenching playoff exit. But it also leaves plenty of nagging questions: What is the main reason why Hunter is leaving? Why did Hunter take the job in the first place if he wasn’t going to stick around?
But the biggest question of all—who is going to replace Hunter behind the Caps bench for the 2012-13 season?