As Washington Capitals players were collecting their belongings from their practice facility Monday, they were dealt another blow just two days after their season-ending loss to the New York Rangers.
General manager George McPhee made the announcement that coach Dale Hunter had stepped down.
Hunter made the choice to return to his family -- and his major junior team -- in London, Ontario.
McPhee was disappointed, but ultimately not surprised.
"If we have our priorities right in this life, family comes first," McPhee said. "Dale needs to go home."
The announcement was so sudden that some players only found out about Hunter's departure when the media asked them about it during their exit interviews. One such player caught by surprise was Joel Ward.
"It sucks, actually," Ward said when a reporter broke the news to him.
Most players agreed.
"I like the way we play. I really wanted to see him back," Nicklas Backstrom added.
"It was a surprise because he did a great job here," fo...