Tag: game previews

Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau’s mum about job questions, Mike Green’s status or starting goalie


It’s natural to face some questions when you’re a top seed down 3-0. Those questions are probably that much more vexing when you’ve been forced to answer similar ones in the past. In other words, the Washington Capitals are probably in a collectively sour mood this afternoon.

One can only imagine Bruce Boudreau’s expressive face getting redder and redder as the assembled media asks him the questions he must know they’ll ask. It’s tough not to laugh at the thought, really, unless you are a Capitals fan.

Either way, Boudreau still had to at least address those questions following the team’s morning skate. There are functional questions beyond the typical tripe about “heart” and “choking.”

Let’s look at how he approached the three most pertinent questions.

1. Is he worried about his job security?

“Listen you guys have been asking me that all year,” Boudreau said. Is your job on the line? Well then, I don’t wanna answer that.”

He then muttered under his breath, “Stupid question, stupid.”

Well, OK then.

2. Will Mike Green play after sporting a noticeable limp after Game 3?

Here’s an update on Green from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, since Boudreau wasn’t particularly forthcoming on that issue.

Based on how limited his movement was, it doesn’t appear likely that the two-time Norris Trophy finalist will be in the lineup as Washington faces elimination.

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t discuss Green’s status. “I’m not going to talk too much about injuries today,” he said. “We’ll see who’s out there tonight.”

If Green is unable to go, Sean Collins make make his Stanley Cup playoff debut tonight against the Lightning.

3. Will Michal Neuvirth start or will the team turn to Semyon Varlamov instead?

Carrera reports that Neuvirth didn’t skate today. Boudreau seemed fairly non-committal on the issue, though.

Michal Neuvirth didn’t skate this morning but when Boudreau was asked if he was contemplating a goaltending change, the coach replied “No.” In a follow up question asking if Neuvirth would start, though, Boudreau said “Maybe.”

It’s unfair to place all the blame on Neuvirth, but perhaps the team will respond to a change in net either way. Varlamov was a part of the Capitals’ last two playoff runs, so he certainly wouldn’t feel out of place.

Green status and the team’s starting goalie might not be clarified until the warmups – if not the beginning of the game itself – but if more information surfaces, we’ll keep you informed.

Alex Ovechkin tries to rally Capitals: ‘It is not over. We’re going to win’

Alex Ovechkin
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If you want to test the validity of a Washington Capitals critic right now, the simplest way is to ask them about Alex Ovechkin. If that person says that he’s “choking,” there’s a solid chance that person hasn’t witnessed a single game in the series.

Simply put, Ovechkin has been willing his team to near-victory in their first three games. He has two goals and one assist for three points in Washington’s three losses and nine points in eight playoff games, overall. If there’s a valid criticism, it’s that he occasionally tries to carry the team on his back. There’s also the possibility that coach Bruce Boudreau might be stretching him a bit thin; NHL.com reports that Ovechkin played 5:45 of Game 3’s final 11 minutes.

You won’t confuse Ovechkin’s statement as the second coming of Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III guarantee, but he still provided what could be a rallying cry (of future punchline) when interviewed after Game 3. (You can also watch video footage of his responses here.)

Q: How would you describe what you’re up against now. Is this still winnable?

A: It is not over. We won’t give up. We’re going to win.


Q: Did you think after the second period that you guys had things under control?

A: I think we’ve had all three games in our hands, but we lost all three. It is hockey and it is hockey. Again, it is not over. They win three. We can win three. It is going to be a battle.

One thing that cannot be overlooked – although spotlighting it might make those losses hurt even more – is the fact that all three games have been very close. Throwing out one empty-net goal, all of the Lightning’s wins were by one goal.

That indicates that Tampa Bay has been better in tight games, for sure, but it also should bolster the Capitals’ confidence that a breakthrough might turn things around.

The thing is, Ovechkin’s been throwing his body around and creating scoring chances this whole time. If Washington hopes to come back, they’ll need some of their other players to step up. (We’re looking at you, Nicklas Backstrom.)

Video: Previews of Game 3’s for Bruins-Flyers, Red Wings-Sharks

Sergei Bobrovsky, Milan Lucic

It’s quite likely that tonight’s three game-slate will be the last of its kind for the 2011 playoffs. Schedules are naturally subject to change, but every remaining day has just two contests. (And that’s counting the to be determined contests, so it could be lower than that.)

In other words, Wednesday night could provide a flurry of activity that should be appreciated.

The Versus crew provided video previews of the two Game 3 matches (the Philadelphia Flyers at the Boston Bruins and the San Jose Sharks versus the Red Wings in Detroit) to get you revved up for those contests.

(If you’re dying to see if the Washington Capitals’ playoff run will continue, you can watch their Game 4 match against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning on the NHL Network, by the way.)

First, here’s the video preview for Bruins-Flyers:

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Now here’s the Red Wings-Sharks preview:

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Lightning hope to put Caps on the brink; Predators and Canucks look for an edge

Mason Raymond Pekka Rinne

A pair of curious Game 3s are on the way tonight with potentially scary consequences for one team. Washington heads into Tampa down 2-0 to the Lightning and with the home crowd hoping to keep the the Bolts on the winning side. Road teams have been successful in the playoffs and Tampa proved that by winning both games in Washington. If they can hold serve at home, they’ll be sending the Caps back home with a lot to think about. The Caps are hoping that playing on the road helps them better focus in to play their game.

Meanwhile the Canucks and Predators do battle in Nashville for the first time in the second round. With a raucous home crowd ready to make the Canucks lives miserable, the attention figures to be on both Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo to continue their brilliant play in goal.

All times are Eastern.

Washington @ Tampa Bay – 6:30 p.m. (Versus)Tampa Bay leads series 2-0

Tampa Bay has to take the kind of play and mentality they’ve used on the road so far and apply it at home. That means getting timely play on the power play with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis and even better even strength play from the likes of Steve Downie, Dominic Moore, and Sean Bergenheim. Washington needs to stay out of the penalty box and learn to not turn the puck over or have better timing when making a line change. Expect Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble to have big, powerful games tonight.

Vancouver @ Nashville – 9 p.m. (Versus)Series tied 1-1

The only things that seem certain tonight are that the crowd will be bonkers and that both Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo will be on top of their games. Offense is in short supply in this series with the Preds playing everything tight and not giving Vancouver much room to move, one of the league’s best offenses is finding it difficult to keep being nasty. Speaking of nasty, the Predators defense is getting things done and doing their part to give Pekka Rinne a stress-free night as often as possible. While he’s getting wins, those nights aren’t really too stressful. Both teams would like to see their offensive talents pick up here, but with goalies like those two in charge, that wish becomes an awfully long shot.

No lineup changes expected in Boston-Philadelphia; American-born players to watch

Tim Thomas
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The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping for some big changes in tonight’s Game 2 match against the Boston Bruins, but those alterations must come from improved execution rather than fresh faces. Joe Haggerty reports that both teams are expected to feature the same lineups as Game 1 (yes, that includes Brian Boucher as the Flyers’ starter).

Boston @ Philadelphia (Versus)- 7:30 p.m. ET; Bruins lead series 1-0

Along with paying special attention to Lauren Hart (and Kate Smith) singing “God Bless America” tonight, especially patriotic fans might be curious to follow American-born players tonight. As you can see from this list, there aren’t a bunch of players from the United States, but many of them will play a prominent role in Game 2. (Birthplace information via the two teams’ official Web sites.)

Notable American Flyers (who are expected to play)

James van Riemsdyk (winger) – Middletown, New Jersey.
Matt Carle (defenseman) – Anchorage, Alaska.
Boucher (goalie) – Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Notable American Bruins (who are expected to play)

Tim Thomas (goalie) – Flint, Michigan.

Again, this is a quality-over-quantity list. Both starting goalies are American, JVR is in the middle of a breakthrough playoff campaign and Carle’s had his struggles in the playoffs (his -7 rating indicates things haven’t always gone well), yet he’s still an important Philly defenseman who has been averaging 22 minutes per game in the playoffs. Obviously, all eyes were going to be on Boucher anyway, but now some fans might find more of a reason to root for him.

Thomas is the only prominent American on a Canadian-heavy Bruins roster. Boston might not have a ton of Americans on their roster, but Thomas is one of the best goalies in the NHL. He backed up Ryan Miller in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but if those games took place this year, he probably would have been the No. 1 guy.


The natural question is: how are players reacting to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death? While Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is Canadian, he’s made a connection with many fans in the Boston area and had perhaps the most interesting reaction to the news. Here’s what he told Joe Haggerty.

Obviously most of the Bruins players are Canadian-born and prefaced any statements with that little bit of info, but many guys like Andrew Ference have planted roots in the Boston area – and have become friends with many B’s fans actively serving their country and joining in the hunt for bin Laden over the last 10 years.

Ference said his mind was on those people Monday morning, and on others who wouldn’t be at rest until justice was served with the terrorist leader that set the 9/11 tragedy in motion.

“I texted my friend Lucas right away and said ‘did you guys get him’ because they’ve all been watching Bruins games over there,” said Ference, referencing a US Army Ranger he’s befriended from Massachusetts. “We’ve been keeping tabs with them, and I know he’d been out for a couple of days because he told me they were going to ‘go out hunting for bad guys.’

“I texted him right away. He was excited because he said there were a lot of sleepless nights searching for [Bin Laden]. I’m really proud of those guys, you know? I didn’t feel it myself, but knowing them and how they put their butts on the line for us. To get a victory like that is pretty cool.”