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.