Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau’s mum about job questions, Mike Green’s status or starting goalie


It’s natural to face some questions when you’re a top seed down 3-0. Those questions are probably that much more vexing when you’ve been forced to answer similar ones in the past. In other words, the Washington Capitals are probably in a collectively sour mood this afternoon.

One can only imagine Bruce Boudreau’s expressive face getting redder and redder as the assembled media asks him the questions he must know they’ll ask. It’s tough not to laugh at the thought, really, unless you are a Capitals fan.

Either way, Boudreau still had to at least address those questions following the team’s morning skate. There are functional questions beyond the typical tripe about “heart” and “choking.”

Let’s look at how he approached the three most pertinent questions.

1. Is he worried about his job security?

“Listen you guys have been asking me that all year,” Boudreau said. Is your job on the line? Well then, I don’t wanna answer that.”

He then muttered under his breath, “Stupid question, stupid.”

Well, OK then.

2. Will Mike Green play after sporting a noticeable limp after Game 3?

Here’s an update on Green from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, since Boudreau wasn’t particularly forthcoming on that issue.

Based on how limited his movement was, it doesn’t appear likely that the two-time Norris Trophy finalist will be in the lineup as Washington faces elimination.

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t discuss Green’s status. “I’m not going to talk too much about injuries today,” he said. “We’ll see who’s out there tonight.”

If Green is unable to go, Sean Collins make make his Stanley Cup playoff debut tonight against the Lightning.

3. Will Michal Neuvirth start or will the team turn to Semyon Varlamov instead?

Carrera reports that Neuvirth didn’t skate today. Boudreau seemed fairly non-committal on the issue, though.

Michal Neuvirth didn’t skate this morning but when Boudreau was asked if he was contemplating a goaltending change, the coach replied “No.” In a follow up question asking if Neuvirth would start, though, Boudreau said “Maybe.”

It’s unfair to place all the blame on Neuvirth, but perhaps the team will respond to a change in net either way. Varlamov was a part of the Capitals’ last two playoff runs, so he certainly wouldn’t feel out of place.

Green status and the team’s starting goalie might not be clarified until the warmups – if not the beginning of the game itself – but if more information surfaces, we’ll keep you informed.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist
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DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.