Originally posted on Turner Sports Desk  |  Last updated 11/28/11
The Washington Capitals started off with a bang. Unfortunately that bang was followed by a monstrous thud. Bruce Boudreau appears to have no answers other than hard practices, healthy scratches to send bogus messages and juggling his lines. The Caps last two efforts show a team that has tuned out their coach. 
Rumors are rampant that Dale Hunter, A beloved former Cap is first in line to replace Boudreau but his lack of coaching experience at the NHL level could place the Caps in a deep hole as he adjusts to hockey at the highest level. Here are four names Caps Owner, Ted Leonsis and General Manager, George McPhee should consider as they search for the Caps next bench boss.

Adam Oates - A seasoned assistant, a former Cap and a future hall of fame player. Adam Oates brings a thorough understanding of two way hockey to Washington. Adam Oates is an offensive genius and his numbers as a player are hard to ignore. Oates would definitely grab the attention of the highly paid but underwhelming Russians (Ovechkin and Semin) who cannot add consistency to their games. Oates currently serves as an Assistant Coach in New Jersey so his transition to bench boss would be easier than bringing up an OHL Coach like Dale Hunter.

 Tony Granato - A proven Coach with an active winning percentage second only to Bruce Boudreau. Tony Granato was gritty two way player and he coaches the exact same way with excellent results to back it up. The other bonus of Granato is that pulling him out of arch rival Pittsburgh where he currently serves as an Assistant weakens one of our biggest foes plus provides us priceless intelligence on the inner workings of the Penguins. Granato is a heck of a coach and he would hold people accountable for their actions on and off the ice. The Caps could definitely use a guy like Granato.

Joe Mullen - Hall of Famer, two way hockey player and a master of the basics of the game. He's coached at the AHL level and clearly he has numbers no one can deny. He also brings the intangibles that the Caps need. Accountability, leadership and experience coaching on the NHL level. He is currently an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers so stealing him may take something away from another conference foe. For those of you that remember Mullen he was a smart hockey player that always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Dale Hunter - The sentimental favorite of Old School Caps fans like myself. Other than Joe Juneau's goal to put the Caps in the Stanley Cup Finals, Dale Hunter scored the Franchise's 2nd biggest goal vs the Flyers in the playoffs. Hunter is smart, tough and rest assured everyone in that locker room will be held accountable no matter their salary. Although Hunter is not the most talented or savvy guy on this short list he brings the intangibles the Caps need. This Caps team needs a leader who is not afraid to do what he needs to do to get consistent performance from everyone. If a team takes on the personality of the coach then the Caps are in good hands with Hunter as bench boss.

When you replace a coach mid-season on a Stanley Cup capable team that Coach must be able to come in, assess quickly and hit the ground running with his plan to get back on track. For that reason alone I believe Oates, Granato and Mullen should be the front runners because they are already at the NHL Level. Hunter would have a steep learning curve which could hurt the Caps chances this year. If McPhee wanted Hunter he should have done it over the Summer. To place Hunter in now is not giving him the best opportunity to succeed.

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