Bruce Boudreau

Is Boudreau pressing the right buttons or just hitting nerves?

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When most people believe their jobs are in danger, they naturally try to “lay low.” Slinking under the radar just doesn’t seem to suit Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, though.

Going into the 2011-12 season, the Versus crew tabbed Boudreau as one of the coaches on “the hot seat.” If Boudreau really is a few missteps away from being unemployed, it seems like he’ll go out with a bang.

To start off the season, he made the surprising decision to put Michal Neuvirth in net instead of Tomas Vokoun. That move drew a lot of criticism that was eventually quelled after Vokoun struggled mightily in his Capitals debut. (Curiously enough, the Capitals’ 2-0 record isn’t curtailing the critiques one bit.)

It seemed like a harsh spotlight would shine on Vokoun, but the focus shifted to Alex Ovechkin after Boudreau said that the team’s superstar captain has “a long way to go.” One cannot help but wonder if a rift might form between the coach and his star pupil. (Ovechkin’s “response” doesn’t exactly shut the door to such thoughts, either.)

So in about one week, Boudreau managed to:

  • Stun and anger the guy who could be Washington’s first franchise goalie in years.
  • Rub a $100 million player the wrong way.
  • Win both games.

Ultimately, the wisdom of Boudreau’s moves comes down to perspective. Some will say that this shift is a long time coming after years in which stars like Ovechkin have been allegedly coddled. Others probably think that Boudreau is on the verge of losing his locker room (and subsequently, his job).

That debate won’t be truly settled until the season is over, but which way do you lean right now: is Boudreau heading down the right path or is he playing with fire?

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then:

Sending a message: Flames scratch Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma

Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Johnny Gaudreau during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau figure to be a big part of the Calgary Flames’ forward group, both in the present and the future.

That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.

After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wow.

It’s amusing timing, too, as the Maple Leafs will roll with a bit of a skeleton crew of their own after that splashy Dion Phaneuf trade.

Some background

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was there for the practice, which was unusually short at 25 minutes.

“He wasn’t happy with the way we were practicing,” David Jones told Spector. “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.

“I think he was pretty pissed off about the way things were looking.”

Call it a combination of poor execution and maybe a tardy arrival … perhaps from a Super Bowl party or two?