London Knights following old coach Hunter

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:02 PM ET

KITCHENER, ONT. - The London Knights watched - what else - a hockey game on their short bus trip to Kitchener late Sunday afternoon.

They kept close tabs on their old coach Dale Hunter, whose Washington Capitals missed a glorious chance to eliminate the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in their first-round series.

There will be a Game 7 Wednesday in Beantown.

Hunter, judging from the TV camera shots of him behind the Caps bench, is still thirsty for the upset.

"The water, right," Knights forward Jared Knight said. "They always show him drinking water behind the bench. They're going to have to give him his own bottle so he doesn't have to use the players' anymore."

Knight is in a tough position.

He's a Boston prospect and pulling for the Bruins, but he's also fascinated by how his coach the past four years has rallied Alex Ovechkin and Co., into potential giant-killers.

"When Troy Brouwer scored late there in Game 5 (on Saturday), I was watching and I saw Dale raise his arms in the air," Knight said. "I've never seen that before. I've seen him excited, but that was something new."

A couple weeks ago, the Washington media teed off on Hunter, who left London in late November, as the wrong man for the job. Back then, the Caps were touch-and-go to clinch a playoff spot and trying to hold off the surging Buffalo Sabres.

"He's such a good coach," Knight said, "and we all knew it work out for him. We've seen what he's done here. He has that ability (to squeeze the most out out of his teams)."

Perhaps the biggest Hunter tribute is in the Knights' headgear. For a lot of teenagers, the ball cap is a pretty solid fashion statement.

There have been a few Washington hats in the rotation lately.

Forward Matt Rupert, who still lives at Dale Hunter's house in London, had one on last week.

There will probably be more if Hunter helps the Caps find a way past the Bruins.

"It's been a crazy NHL playoffs," Knight said. "There's so much going on. That Pittsburgh-Philly series. I was watching it before we left (for Kitchener). I don't remember a first round like this one."

E-mail ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca, read Ryan's column or follow Ryanatlfpress on Twitter.


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