Best 10 NHL moments of the year: Ovechkin calls Boudreau…something


Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.

Alex Ovechkin calls Bruce Boudreau…something

Nov. 1 at the Verizon Center, the Capitals were trailing Anaheim by a goal with 1:27 remaining. When Washington coach Bruce Boudreau sent out his six attackers in a last-ditch attempt to tie the game, Alex Ovechkin wasn’t among the six. If you can read lips, you don’t have to be told what Ovechkin called Boudreau. And if you can’t, just go ahead and Google it. Though Washington tied the game and won in overtime, Boudreau would be fired less than a month later. Whether the above incident was a factor in that decision is questionable, but it certainly provided a lasting image.

Bruce Boudreau told Alex Ovechkin he loves him


ESPN’s Scott Burnside reports that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had a 15-minute phone call today with his former head coach, Bruce Boudreau.

Ovechkin apparently thanked Boudreau for his time with the Caps, and Boudreau responded with the usual ex-coach platitudes.

“I told him I loved him and blah, blah, blah, all the regular stuff,” Boudreau said, holding a boombox over his head while blaring In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.

Boudreau then flatly denied there was any rift between he and Ovechkin. “It’s so far from the truth,” Boudreau said. “We got along, I think, famously.”

As for the infamous third-period benching against Anaheim? Hardly indicative of their overall relationship.

“People want to focus on the fact that I sat him out one shift,” he said. “I don’t have a problem and never once did I think I have a problem with Alex liking me or not liking me.”

For what it’s worth, Ovechkin has corroborated most of this over the last two days. He told the Washington Post he and Boudreau had a very good relationship, would always cherish the memories and hoped they could still be friends, even though people are telling him that never works out.

Video: Hunter, Ovechkin speak to media after Boudreau fired

New Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter met with reporters after practice today, as did Alex Ovechkin. Here’s what both had to say following the firing of Bruce Boudreau. (The best part is when Ovechkin says everyone on the Caps “was in shock” at the news.)

Boudreau just didn’t want to talk about Ovechkin last night


Bruce Boudreau was more than a bit bummed out about how his team played in losing to Winnipeg, but one guy he didn’t want to discuss was Alex Ovechkin. As Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times shares, Boudreau was just a bit cranky about being asked about his team’s best player.

“You know what, I don’t want to talk about Alex tonight. Everywhere we go, people ask me the same question about Alex,” the coach said. “I just don’t feel like talking about him tonight.”

Well pardon us, coach.

After all, asking questions about the team’s best player who hasn’t scored a point in three games and seems to be sulking through the early part of the season might seem like a really important thing to discuss. Yes, you have to talk about him every day, but that’s part of the job.

Getting Ovechkin right should be a priority for the Caps. While they started the season out hot and Ovechkin is the team’s top goal-scorer, he’s not the dominant offensive force and game changer that we got used to watching. He’s arguably one of the best in the game and when he’s off, people are going to ask questions.

Maybe Boudreau was just saving his strength for when the Caps hit Toronto and the deluge of Ovechkin questions he’ll be sure to get there, but being the guy in charge means having to do things you don’t like sometimes. You know, like back checking.

Boudreau: Ovechkin “wasn’t benched”


Bruce Boudreau can’t believe all the attention this whole Alex Ovechkin “benching” story is getting.

Besides, it wasn’t even a benching, said the Washington coach, referring to the end of Tuesday night’s game versus the Ducks when he left on Ovechkin on the bench late in the third period with the Caps trailing by one and the goalie pulled.

“It’s all about accountability, but it was way overblown,” Boudreau told reporters today. “[Ovechkin] wasn’t benched or anything; he just wasn’t chosen to go out the last minute. I’ve done it many different times with many different players. You have a hunch and you go with it. I just thought the other guys were going to score.”

Guess it all depends how you define “benching.” Boudreau obviously defines it as a punitive measure as opposed to simply leaving a player on the bench in favor of other players. Players, it should be noted, who got the tying goal.

So why did the story receive so much play in the media?

“There was no football, there was no basketball, there was nothing else going on,” Boudreau said. “So they made a big deal out of nothing.”

But was it really that ridiculous for the media to react the way it did when you consider what else Boudreau had to say?

“Like I’ve said in the past, 99.9 percent of the time Alex is the first guy I even think of,” he said. “If you look at all my notes, even for that game, when I’ve drawn up a play quite frankly, he’s the one that’s on it. But it’s a different story sometimes at the time that it’s happening, and I just felt that other line was playing so good offensively.”

So 99.9 percent of the time Ovechkin is the first player Boudreau thinks of when the Caps need a goal. And he’s wondering why all the fuss when Ovechkin doesn’t even crack the coach’s top six?

Sorry, not buying it. Boudreau probably did think other players gave his team the best chance to score, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t sending Ovechkin a message at the same time.