Bruce Boudreau

Boudreau sends Caps message with bag skate

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Bruce Boudreau skated the slumping Capitals hard at this morning’s practice. Consider it punishment for last night’s 5-2 loss to Dallas at the Verizon Center.

When asked why he went the bag-skate route, the coach explained his thought process.

“It’s not something you do off the cuff,” Boudreau said, as per the Washington Post. “The initial thought is you’re so mad you want to do something and then you have to sit and say, ‘Okay, you’re mad, let’s do the right things here. What’s best for the group and everybody?’ You talk it over with the assistant coaches and we come to a decision that the initial thought is probably the thought that was going to work in this case. It’s not something that you do every day because if it’s one of those things that if you do it every day, it’s not going to work.”

Should be interesting to see how the Caps respond Friday in New Jersey. Boudreau won’t look good if they lay another egg. People will say the Caps have tuned out their coach, that they’re playing for him to be fired, etc.

That’s the risk a coach takes when he punishes his players in public. If it doesn’t get results, it looks like he’s lost for answers.

Hey, remember when the Caps were 7-0-0?

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


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