Bruce Boudreau

Is Boudreau pressing the right buttons or just hitting nerves?


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?

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Jared McCann, Connor McDavid, Ben Hutton

A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.

The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)

It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.

Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.

Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.