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.
The Flames made one move over the weekend, adding winger Blake Comeau from the Islanders on waivers.
Comeau started his new career phase on a line with Lee Stempniak and Roman Horak.
“He got here an hour and a half before game time, so we kind of threw him to the wolves here,” Flames coach Brent Sutter told Calgary reporters. “I thought he responded well with it. I thought he gave us a pretty solid game.”
But more changes are in order, as Calgary demonstrated while falling 2-0 at St. Louis. General manager Jay Feaster is on the prowl. He, Sutter and team president Ken King had a state-of-the team meeting before the Flames played the Blues.
The state of the team is not good. Calgary is 8-12-1 and appears headed toward a major overhaul. Stalwarts like Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff could come into play at some point this season.
“Most people define rebuilding by losing frequently for years in order to get high draft picks. You will then get them and you will live happily ever after,” King told the Calgary Sun. “You’re always rebuilding.
“We’ve done transactions. Jay’s talked about Meritocracy — I think it’s pretty clear that’s there — he’s talked about giving young people a chance — I think it’s pretty clear that’s been done.
“I think you will continue to see activity and transactions take place which in aggregate will be an improvement to the team. We’re not naive. We’re not saying we’re going to stand pat and see what happens. It is forever a work in progress — every team is.”
Calgary could get involved in the Kyle Turris bidding, along with Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The Coyotes finally signed their restricted free agent, officially putting him in play.
How are the Flames owners holding up?
“These are very mature, seasoned, veteran business people, who understand the world, right?” King told the Calgary Herald. “They’re not sycophants who are trying to chase a dream for the sake of a dream. They’re pragmatists . . . and I think that’s a great benefit. I don’t think anybody can do much in an environment of fear or panic. But make no mistake, the sense of urgency that is necessary and appropriate is a fact of life, too.”
The Coyotes finally re-signed their restricted free agent, giving that franchise an opportunity to move the young center to a new team.
Let the talk talks heat up.
Turris figures to need an AHL conditioning stint to get up to game speed. He has bulked up to 195 pounds with his off-ice work, but he needs to get competitive legs back.
Since he doesn’t appear to be a great fit for Coyotes coach Dave Tippett or his system, starting out in Portland would be the best for everybody.
Back in 2007, Turris, 22, was the third overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. He has flashed high-end offensive ability, but has failed to sustain that level of play.
He missed training camp and nearly two months of the NHL season while haggling for his new deal. He settled for modest money: A two-year deal paying him $1.2 and $1.6 million.
Turris still must build market value to get up into the $3 million-per-year range. Maybe that will happen in Phoenix some day . . . and maybe that will happen elsewhere.
“Sometimes, you kiss and make up and you're family forever,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic. “In some cases, it doesn't work and then you have to make a change. I'm hopeful it will work out.”
Experts figure Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver could be trade fits for Turris. The Flames, in particular, are looking to overhaul their roster with general manager Jay Feaster running the show now.
Could the Flames fetch Turris by offering Mikael Backlund and a draft pick? Perhaps, but Maloney would like to see Turris boost his value with strong performance first.