Capitals hire Tim Hunter as assistant coach

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Loose Pucks,Sports,Brian McNally

The Capitals have hired Tim Hunter as an assistant coach, the organization announced on Monday.

Hunter, 51, has coached 1,041 games as an assistant at the NHL level. His addition finalizes the staff of new coach Adam Oates, who played for Hunter for five seasons in Washington between 1997 and 2002. Hunter worked for Ron Wilson, later following him to San Jose (five years) and then Toronto (three years). Hunter and Oates were part of the only Caps team to reach the Stanley Cup finals (1998).

Oates hired former teammate Calle Johansson last week to work with the team’s defensemen. Both men played under Hunter, who was in Washington with Wilson for five years from 1997-98 through 2001-02. Dave Prior, the team’s director of goaltending, Blaine Forsythe, assistant coach/video, and associate goalie coach Olie Kolzig, who also played under Hunter with the Caps, remain on staff.

Hunter also played for 16 seasons in the NHL with Quebec, Vancouver, San Jose and Calgary, where he helped the Flames win the 1989 Stanley Cup. Primarily a right wing as a player, Hunter earned 3.146 career penalty minutes. That ranks eighth in the history of the league.

In Washington, Hunter’s teams reached the Stanley Cup playoffs three times in five years. There was that Stanley Cup Finals appearance and two first-round exits. In San Jose, also under Wilson, their clubs made the playoffs four times in five seasons – one was lost due to the 2004-05 lockout. The Sharks reached the Western Conference finals in 2004 and the conference semifinals three times (2006, 2007, 2008). They twice won the Pacific Division title.

Hunter moved on to Toronto with Wilson for the 2008-09 season, but the Maple Leafs didn’t qualify for the postseason in any of their three years with the club.

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