Bruce Boudreau

‘Who’s next there,’ says Bruce Boudreau after Capitals fire Oates, let McPhee go


On a day when there four Stanley Cup playoff games dominating the Saturday schedule, there was big news from the Washington Capitals, and naturally it grabbed the attention of those in the hockey world.

The Capitals fired head coach Adam Oates and will not renew the contract of general manager George McPhee.

Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks, spoke on the matter Saturday. He, of course, worked as the bench boss of the Capitals beginning on 2007, with his tenure ending in 2011. In three of those five seasons, the Capitals had 100 points or more in the Eastern Conference standings.

“It’s not a surprise because everybody’s been talking about it,” Boudreau said Saturday, as per the L.A. Times. “I think George is a great GM and he’ll jump right back into it. Just sometimes, people need different spots.

“But he’s I think a truly, really, really good GM so I know he’s going to bounce back. I don’t know Adam at all. But I thought one went with the other. . . . It’s interesting to me now, is who’s next there.”

Already, names have been thrown out there as possible candidates to replace McPhee, who had been in the Capitals organization since 1997.

While speculation of possible replacements is now beginning to fly around, so, too is the blame for what happened in Washington after missing the playoffs this season. Needless to say, Alex Ovechkin, Washington’s star and captain, and the only 50-goal scorer in the NHL this season, is taking a great deal of criticism (see the video below…).


Boudreau returns to DC, where he helped put hockey ‘front-and-center’

Bruce Boudreau

Brooks Laich remembers the days when a ticket to a Washington Capitals game wasn’t exactly a hot commodity. The 30-year-old first donned a Caps uniform in 2003-04, before Alex Ovechkin was drafted and when average attendance was just 14,720 to watch a team that finished with a dreadful 23-46-10-3 record.

But Laich doesn’t just credit Ovechkin with hockey’s turnaround in DC. He also credits current Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who returns to the Verizon Center tonight for the first time since being fired by the Caps in late 2011.

“He turned hockey from a back-burner sport into a front-and-center, front page, exciting, real entertaining game,” Laich said, per CSN Washington. “Certainly, the players and organization have had a role in that, too, but he was one of the leading forces to putting hockey on the map in Washington.”

Because it wasn’t just that the Caps started winning games under Boudreau; it was the way they played, running and gunning in a league that was desperately trying to move on from the so-called “dead puck” era.

Eventually, after failing to make a deep run in the playoffs, and with his team being accused of playing the “wrong way,” Boudreau dialed it back in an attempt to play the “right way” — a move he later hinted went against his instincts.

If only Jaroslav Halak hadn’t…well, no point in going over that again; that’s history now.

“Look what he’s done with [Anaheim],” Laich said. “They were a team on the decline and now they’re at the top of the standings again.”

Indeed, the Ducks are red hot, with eight straight victories and a 26-7-5 record.

Ovechkin credits Oates for MVP win, says foot is healing fine

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin taking home his third career Hart Trophy yesterday may have been seen as an upset by some, but for the Russian superstar he says he wouldn’t have done it without Adam Oates.

In speaking on a conference call today, Ovechkin says he put all his faith into Oates to lead him right, especially when moving from left wing to right wing.

“I told him, ‘Thank you very much.’ I’m just happy because, again, it’s history. It means a lot for me. It’s history,” Ovechkin said.

“I tell Adam I’m going to go along with you starting the first day. I tell him, ‘I trust you.’ He said, ‘Okay, just listen to me and you are going to be okay.’ I listened to him. Right now almost — I’m okay.”

Oates has been Ovechkin’s biggest supporter as well this season and what one was able to do for the other is evident. After the “good old days” under Bruce Boudreau to the rough time he had with Dale Hunter, it’s fun to see Ovechkin find a new buddy in Adam Oates.

As for the hairline fracture in his foot, Ovechkin says it’s healing just fine.

“Foot is okay. Right now I’m working fine. I’m going to start playing tennis soon. I’m going to be in good shape.”