If the Capitals screw up now, perhaps their new coach will slash them, spear them or check them head first into the boards. Dale Hunter was a fiery competitor during his playing days for the Caps. He was a more vicious and less skilled version of Mark Messier. He became notorious for reprehensible acts committed on behalf of his teammates. Given his penchant for delivering cheap shots, it's hard to imagine Hunter playing in today's sanitized NHL. But as a coach he should be just fine. He replaces the embattled Bruce Boudreau as head coach in Washington. Hunter has been cutting his coaching teeth -- and perhaps sharpening his coaching stick blade -- with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. His extensive work with juveniles should prepare him for dealing with temperamental Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, who seemed to lose his goal-scoring zeal under Boudreau's thumb. Hunter is an interesting hire for Capitals GM George McPhee. Washington hockey fans love him, so he can expect a warm embrace when he coaches his first NHL game Tuesday night against the Blues. But how will Ovechkin respond? Will Alexander Semin come back to life or continue to drift? As for Boudreau, he did admirable work in Washington while posting a 201-88-40 record. Although he couldn't lead the the Caps to the Stanley Cup the franchise covets so, he did more than enough to merit further NHL employment.