From Comcast SportsNetWASHINGTON (AP) -- Dale Hunter made his Washington Capitals coaching debut in a blue suit. He had to. "It's the only one I got," he said. Hunter was behind the bench on the NHL level for the first time Tuesday night as the Capitals lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues. He was tabbed as the replacement for Bruce Boudreau, who was fired Monday. "I definitely have butterflies going," Hunter said before the game. "It's like the first game when you get traded." Hunter played 19 seasons in the NHL and spent the past 11 years coaching the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, where he wore the same suit every game. He said he plans to continue the ritual with the Capitals. "I only have to wear it two hours and a half every game," he said. So how often does he go to the dry cleaners? "I go after every game," he said with a laugh, "unless it's back-to-back." As he spoke, Hunter wore a lime green tie with blue and white diagonal stripes. Surely he must have another one, right? "Nope," he said. "Same one." Well, not quite. During the game, he sported a red tie. In contrast to his noted intensity as a player -- Hunter ranks second all time in NHL history in penalty minutes -- Hunter's meeting with reporters two hours prior to faceoff turned into a pretty good stand-up routine. Asked what has surprised him the most in the two days he's held the job, he looked back at the throng and said: "You guys." "There used to be three people here," said Hunter, recalling the sometimes scant media attention the team received when he played here from 1987-99. "That's good for the area. That's how much the Caps have won, and fans are following them and you guys are following them. That's awesome." Hunter had a reputation for playing locker room practical jokes during his playing days, but he says that's behind him -- for the most part. "I grew up," the 51-year-old Hunter said. "I'm a coach now. I don't do it to players. I might do it to coaching staff." Expect Hunter to be demanding when it counts as he handles the reins of a team that was failing to meet high expectations. "I have as a player been through some coaching changes, and it does give you a lift," he said. "It's all new. You've got a clean slate again. ... I'm an emotional guy. We're in the trenches together, the coaches and the players, and it's up to us to win."
FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player.
Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore.
They may not have been on the best of terms.
"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."
But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.
"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.
"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.
"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."
DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.