Can this Capitals season be saved?

FILE - In this April 6, 2010 file photo, Washington Capitals\' Alex Ovechkin, right, of Russia, cools down on the bench with coach Bruce Boudreau, during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in Pittsburgh. Boudreau isn\'t blaming his newfound unemployment on Ovechkin. The Capitals coach spoke publicly Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, for the first time since being fired on Monday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Jonathan Warner,

Can this Capitals season be saved?

In one word – yes, but it’s not going to be pretty.

New head coach Dale Hunter is remaking his old team in his former playing mold: tough, grinding, hustling, play-it-safe, low scoring.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s hockey from the 1990s, and that wasn’t exactly successful.

Yes, they did well during the regular season, but those Capitals teams also had playoff failure.   In fact, every Caps team in its 37-year history has come up short in the postseason.

The 21st Century version was supposed to be different.

It still can be. However, the Caps may not show it during the regular season.

Like the Capitals of the 80s and 90s, this season under Dale Hunter could be a grind. There will probably be a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games.

The Caps have already lost their first two games under the new coach. The Capitals once powerful offense has now been reduced to scoring just one goal in six of its last nine games.

Against the Penguins Thursday night, Washington mustered only 17 shots on goal, including just two in the final period and none over the last five-and-a-half minutes when they tried to tie the game.

Hunter and his players all admit it will take time for everyone to feel comfortable in the new defensive system. They felt they made strides from the first to second game, and they’re confident they will accomplish the transformation successfully.

It just won’t be an artistic wonder.

No more Rock the Red, Unleash the Fury.

Those rallying cries ring hollow now that it seems as if Alex Ovechkin has lost his mojo (must be his new Russian tennis girlfriend) and Bruce Boudreau has left for the left coast.

Bruce will probably be successful with his high-risk, high-reward style in Anaheim. They have the reigning MVP and scoring champ awards, which Ovi used to win.

With Corey Perry, Boudreau is in a very similar situation as he was exactly four years ago when he joined the Capitals.He again is taking over one of the worst teams in the league, but one that is loaded with scoring talent. His enthusiasm should play well in Disneyland.

The Capitals will also play well under Dale Hunter. I just don’t think they’ll be as fun to watch.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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