Blog Entry

Boudreau on Caps: I tried an awful lot of things

Posted on: November 30, 2011 11:52 am

By Brian Stubits

Bruce Boudreau waited a day to do his farewell media tour to the people in Washington. He didn't want to overshadow the debut of Dale Hunter as his replacement and the team. So when did start talking about his time with the Capitals on Tuesday, he was typical of the guy nicknamed Gabby for his propensity to talk.

In a radio interview on D.C.'s 106.7 The Fan, Boudreau ran the gamut what he learned and went through as a coach with the Capitals, a job he describes as a dream job.

"I'm sure there more options, but I tried an awful lot of things," Boudreau said when referring to pushing so many buttons. "I'm sure I would have thought of few more things."

But the elephant in the room was his relationship with star forward and team captain, Alex Ovechkin. There has been a lot of speculating that the two had, for lack of a better term, grown apart.

So, was there a rift between the two of them?

"Quite frankly maybe I'm naive, I have no idea," Boudreau said. "We both grew a little bit. When I first got here he was 21. I think everything else has been blown out of proportion."

When the two finally did talk on Tuesday (understandably, Boudreau wasn't interested in talking to anybody really on Monday) what did he have to say?

"I told him he was very fair to me and he made it easy for me to coach," Boudreau said.

It's interesting that Boudreau left the door open for speculation with some of his answers. On a couple of occasions he cited his own naiveté before denying any rifts or other such issues such as him "losing the team." We can't really say if there was a problem in their relationship or not, but from the press box, it didn't seem all peachy keen.

Is he just trying to say all the right things now or is he being completely honest? Knowing Boudreau, he's probably telling the truth, he's never been one to really hold back on saying what he thinks.

What about the other Russian winger he seemed to be butting heads with, Alexander Semin. Was he difficult to coach?

"Sometimes just because the language barrier and sometimes just because the penalties," Boudreau said. "Sometimes he was a pleasure to watch, sometimes it was frustrating. Like a lot of geniuses when they are flowing they are tremendous, but when they are struggling it's tough."

Boudreau could see the writing on the wall and while it was tough, he said he understands why he lost his job. It's almost like a coach at the college level who is asked to walk away from a job at his/her alma mater. It's home for them and they don't want to see it hurt. Better yet, it's the way some people view breakups -- if you truly care for the person, you hope they'll be happy.

Boudreau comes off that way, like he's leaving an ex-girlfriend behind in D.C.

"I was more concerned with the state of hockey here in D.C.," he said. "We've built something good here and I didn't want that to deteriorate."

As I wrote Tuesday night, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock isn't worried about life after the Capitals for Boudreau. He expects him back and around hockey very soon. Boudreau feels pretty much the same. He better.

"Hockey is in my blood. My wife would kick me out of the house anyway if I stay around too long so I better do something."

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: November 30, 2011 11:45 pm

Boudreau on Caps: I tried an awful lot of things

BB coached to his ability in the first couple of years.  His coaching technique was offense is the best defense.  He did it at Harshey and then at DC.  Ovie is maybe best in world in that offense. 

Last year after 8 game losing streak and this year BB tried to be something he is not and that is a defense first coach.  It seems in this scheme Ovie is not even an average forward.  Why?  He is a one way player.  Please note Greenie is actually doing very well in this scheme.  I feel Backstrom also thrives in this schme.  Problem is Caps have recently had a coach whose instincts are not there in defense first scheme and captain definitely is not.  Also defense outside of Green (hurt) Carlson and Alzner are not able to support a defense first scheme.  In fact in my opinion outside of Wade the off season acquisitions only made team older and slower.  Please observe how fast teams who might not have the talent, ie Toronto, Nashville et al run the Caps into the ground.  I think trading Varly and acquiring Volkaun was mistake.  We now have a prime goalie who is past his prime and an unhappy and now not confident goalie in Neuwirth.  Varly/Neuwirth with Holby behind them provieded young skilled competitive goal keeping with very little to choose between.  All in prime.

Bringing Hunter in was great move but not total answer.  Take C from Ovie and give to Knuble or Laich.  Take leash off offense and bring up Holby.  Bench Volkuan.  Have old lines of Green and Schultz (were +50 with Green scoring big time) Carlson and Alzner and Erskin and WIdner as defensive pairs.  Move Knuble to Ovie Backsstrom line and have them go to net.  Have Semin with Johanson and Wade and Laich at center with Chamera and Wade on 3rd line.  Halpern with Perault on 4th line.  Offense will sprout.  Goalies will be better and defense will set up on pp and support of offense in even situation.  Goals will sprout and defense with good solid goal keeping will be adquate.  I think it will hold up in Stanley Cup if Ovie is not C.

BB almost had it right to start.  Two crazy series with very hot goalies beat them.  Difference between out early and Stanley Cup.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Boudreau on Caps: I tried an awful lot of things

Gabby did a great job making the Caps a perrenial contender.  Unfortunately, he just ran out of juice.  We'll see if Hunter can get Ovie and Semin to play up to their abilities.  Semin is playing for a contract, not one in DC of course, so he better get his act in gear.  No worries for Bruce, he'll bounce back and may win the Cup somewhere else.  You don't always leave the dance with the one who brung ya.  Thanks for the great times, BB!

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: November 30, 2011 3:39 pm

Boudreau on Caps: I tried an awful lot of things

"He made it easy for me to coach"? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

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