Power Rankings Roundup: Week 8

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 26: Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Washington Capitals makes a save on Derek Roy #9 of the Buffalo Sabres as Dmitry Orlov #81 of the Washington Capitals battles for position with Jordan Leopold #3 of the Buffalo Sabres during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on November 26, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)

Our weekly temperature-taking of the mainstream media's opinions on the Washington Capitals.

Outlet This Week Last Week What They're Saying
19 14 Former NHL'er and Capitals colour analyst for Comcast Sportsnet, Craig Laughlin, told us on HNIC Online that Alex Ovechkin isn't the only one to blame for Bruce Boudreau's firing. There's plenty to go around. Ovie is an easy target with just one goal in his last eight games and minus-7 on the year (59th in league scoring with 17 points). It will be interesting to see how much Dale Hunter uses the Great Eight on the ice. Ovechkin's ice time is down (18:48) over two minutes per game from last season's. Laughlin did commend Nicklas Backstrom who is having an outstanding bounce-back year, with 25 points in 22 games and 52 percent in the faceoff dot.
17 14 Bruce Boudreau is gone; Dale Hunter is in. I can't help but think of recent Eastern Conference teams -- Pittsburgh and Philadelphia -- that struggled early. Despite great talent, they went through early-season coaching changes and responded by reaching the Stanley Cup final that same season.
22 21 The bottom has fallen out on the talented Caps, as they have just three wins in their past 11 games and on Monday morning replaced head coach Bruce Boudreau with former Caps agitator Dale Hunter. Where has the goaltending gone? And the offense? The Caps have been outscored 33-17 in their past eight games as they've sunk from the top of the conference standings to eighth place.
16 13 The sputtering Caps haven’t allowed fewer than three goals in a game since Nov. 11. And now the coach has paid the price.
12 6 Bruce Boudreau’s firing leaves no more excuses for Alex Ovechkin & Alexander Semin.
- 13 NHL.com only ranks the top 16 teams, which means ... yeah.
18 14 Yes, Bruce Boudreau endeared himself to Caps fans with a good run, but in the poetic lyrics of Miss Janet Jackson: "What have you done for me lately?" So the Dale Hunter Era begins with his NHL debut on Tuesday night against a team that recently made a coaching change of its own. The Caps can only hope that things go as well for Hunter, who spent most of his playing career in Washington, as they have for the St. Louis Blues under Ken Hitchcock.
21 19 3-7-1 in their last 11 games, the Capitals have been in a tailspin and haven't been able to get anything close to acceptable production from, most notably, Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, two brilliant talents that can expect a tough-love approach from new coach Dale Hunter.

Click on logos for links to full power rankings.

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