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Caps fire Boudreau, name Hunter replacement

Arlington, VA (Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals have fired head coach Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with Dale Hunter.

Boudreau had guided Washington to first-place finishes in the Southeast Division in each of the past four years after taking over behind the bench on November 22, 2007. However, the talent-laden team never advanced past the second round of the playoffs and is off to a middling start this season.

The Capitals are 12-9-1 thus far and three points behind first-place Florida in the Southeast Division. They have also lost six of their last eight games, including a 5-1 setback at Buffalo on Saturday.

Boudreau had a record of 201-88-40 in the regular season and reached the 200- win plateau faster than any coach in modern NHL history, but the team managed only a 17-20 mark in the playoffs.

Hunter, one of just four players to have his number retired by the Capitals, was in his 11th season as the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights. He owns the highest winning percentage in league history with a record of 451-189-23-24 and was the 2003-04 winner of the Brian Kilrea Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Coach of the Year. The Knights were off to a 20-5-0-1 start this season.

The 51-year-old Ontario native played 19 seasons in the NHL and ranks second in league history with 3,565 penalty minutes. He was also a productive player with 323 goals and 697 assists for 1,020 points in 1,407 games for Quebec, Washington and Colorado.

Hunter spent 11 full seasons and part of another with Washington, and was the team's captain from the 1994-95 campaign until his trade to Colorado late in the 1998-99 season. He appeared in 872 games with the Capitals and his 100 career playoff games are tied for first in team history, while his 82 points and 47 assists both top the club's playoff list.

11/28 09:51:46 ET