If you missed it last night, the Capitals pulled a huge comeback victory out over the Ducks, winning 5-4 in overtime. What you really missed out on was seeing Alex Ovechkin benched in the final minute of play while Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-tying goal. You also saw Ovechkin nailed to the bench for the better part of overtime before helping factor into Backstrom’s game-winning goal in overtime leading Versus’ own Mike Keenan to take Ovechkin to task.
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was hailed as a “genius” after the game for making all the right moves, but did Alex Ovechkin call him something else when he was told he was sitting down? It sure seems that way according to video from our friends at CSNWashington.com.
We’re not lip readers here, but it sure looks like whatever Ovechkin said to Boudreau as he was telling him he wasn’t going out for the face off wasn’t too pleasant. Boudreau saying that he didn’t think the best pure goal scorer on his team had it in him to score the goal they needed makes for an awfully large condemnation of Ovechkin’s play last night.
Ovechkin’s line hadn’t been performing up to par all game long and while it was their third line that was doing the damage, not even having Ovechkin out there with your goalie pulled as the extra attacker defies all conventional wisdom.
Is Boudreau a genius here or did he manage to cause a rift with the team’s best player? You can’t bag on a guy when he’s right, but when you’re looking to get your best player motivated, perhaps poking the bear will pay off in the end.
For Boudreau’s sake, he’d better hope so.
It’s not often that an undefeated team faces as much heat as the Washington Capitals are dealing with, but their sloppy win against the Tampa Bay Lightning raised red flags. Alex Ovechkin’s struggles weren’t lost on Bruce Boudreau, who said the star winger “has a long way to go.”
Judging by his comments to CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley, Ovechkin wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to respond to his coach’s criticisms.
“I think everybody can be better,” Ovechkin said. “I think that has to be between me and him and I don’t want to comment on it.”
Boudreau isn’t exactly going the low-risk route during a season of intense scrutiny. He showed the courage to ruffle his best player’s feathers and made the gut decision to start Michal Neuvirth instead of Tomas Vokoun in the season opener. Those aren’t exactly easy situations to deal with, but Boudreau’s doing his best to show that his stars won’t live in a bubble this season, which seemed to be one of the main points of Matt Bradley’s summer critique.
To some, that might be a sign of a bench boss on the verge of a panic attack. Here’s the rub with that line of criticism, though: Boudreau made the right choice in both cases.
Tomas Vokoun received the most criticism for the Washington Capitals’ sloppy 6-5 shootout win last night, but he wasn’t the only player who drew Bruce Boudreau’s ire. Pretty much all of the team’s big name players looked lousy in that game, but Boudreau singled out the biggest of them all: Alex Ovechkin.
“I think he’s got a long way to go to get to where he needs to be and should be,” Boudreau said after Ovechkin was a minus-2 in the Capitals’ wild 6-5 shootout win over the Lightning. “He’s our No. 1 player, but he can be better, there’s no doubt about it.”
It was difficult to shake the feeling that something was a little “off” about Ovechkin last night. He registered zero points and a -2 rating against the Tampa Bay Lightning and only has one assist and five shots in two games so far this season.
Ovechkin isn’t exactly a shutdown forward in his own end, so his offensive dry spells tend to be a little more noticeable. Ovi is coming off the worst year of his NHL career – which would be an outstanding season for just about any other player – but hopefully things will start bouncing his way soon enough.
If you ask Boudreau, Ovechkin could do a little more to “earn” those bounces.