Just about everyone has an opinion on how Alex Ovechkin can improve his play. One voice worth paying attention to though, is the guy who knows Ovi better that almost anyone else: Bruce Boudreau, his coach for a better part of five years. On Saturday, Boudreau, now the bench boss of the Anaheim Ducks and a playoff analyst for CBC, finally offered his thoughts during HNIC’s coverage of the Caps/Bruins game.
As the final seconds of the third period ticked away, Karl Alzner retreated behind the Capitals net and held onto the puck until time expired. It was a thrilling moment, and 18,506 roaring Caps fans rose to their feet to salute the team for the achievement. After struggling through most of the season, the Capitals finally clinched a playoff berth, ensured by a backhand goal from Alex Semin.
So how did it feel to be on the receiving end of that ovation?
Brooks Laich’s interview following the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Hurricanes was powerful stuff.
Laich says the Caps are allowing “easy goals” due to turnovers and missed assignments, two endemic problems that have been costing the team games. Laich’s statement gives voice and specificity to the vague cloud of frustration around the team of late.
Laich rightfully characterizes the team’s solid offense, which has been steadily improving since the beginning of February. Despite two shutouts in the last 10 days, the Capitals have a reinvigorated presence in the offensive zone. It’s in the neutral and defensive zones where Laich says situations are being “misread”, and that has made all the difference during this homestand.
Follow us past the jump for the full text of Brooks’ statement.
Photo credit: Gerry Thomas
Last year, the Capitals re-signed Alex Semin to a one-year, $6.7 million extension on January 27th, ending months of speculation about the 27-year-old’s future with the team. This season, Semin’s production is way down (17 goals in 59 games), and he’s on pace to have his lowest goal-scoring season since his rookie year in 2003-04 when he tallied 10 goals in 52 games. No early extension was forthcoming this January for Semin, nor will it be, as Caps GM George McPhee told NHL Live Tuesday — but it’s not because of his off year. McPhee has decided to change his strategy.
Mike Green looks on during Caps practice Tuesday at Kettler. (Photo credit: Margaret McGuire)
As the Washington Capitals continue to struggle under new coach Dale Hunter, Mike Green has become a beacon of hope for a Caps turnaround. For good reason. As you probably already know, the Capitals are 8-0 — un-frickin’-defeated — when Green has suited up this season.
On February 6, Green took a puck to the face in a game against the Penguins. 19 days later, in his first game back, the Rangers’ Derek Stepan elbowed Green in the head. This season, after notching four points against Detroit (tying his career high), Green missed the next six games due to a twisted ankle. In his first game back (detecting a pattern?), Green suffered his latest injury, a strained groin after taking a rough run from the Devils’ Ryan Carter. Since then, Green has missed 20 games and has not practiced with the team. Until now.
Tuesday, Green made his first steps towards a(nother) comeback, taking the ice for a full Caps-practice for the first time since November 11th.
Early Monday morning , DC101′s Elliot in the Morning interviewed Brooks Laich. Before practice, Laich talked extensively about Dale Hunter, the system he’s bringing to Washington, the firing of Bruce Boudreau, and the awkwardness surrounding Dennis Wideman’s almost-hat trick.
Below the jump, I’ve transcribed a good chunk of the two’s talk.
By now, many of you have seen Mike Vogel’s brief English language interview with Alex Semin, which the Capitals released earlier this evening. For those of you who haven’t, here’s the video.
Semin, who avoids speaking to the press and conducts his rare interviews in Russian, responded to Matt Bradley’s comments over the summer: ”I don’t worry about it. Different people have different opinions.” He also talked about being the longest-tenured Capital: “I’m getting old. I’d like to stay here 10 more years. I like to play here.” And he even showed admiration for DC: “Washington’s my second home. We have good fans.” Awesome.
We here at RMNB are sticklers for the truth though. When the Caps promoted the interview, they said it was his first-ever English interview. Not so fast, guys!
Suffice to say, Mike Green was snakebit last year. The Caps defenseman dealt with freak injuries to the shoulder, knee, and hip and also managed to miss 26 of Washington’s final 28 games in the regular season due to a pair of traumatic head injuries. Green’s 49 games-played were the fewest he’s totaled in a single season since he came up to the NHL full-time in 2006-07. His 24 points were also 52 short of his career-high set in 2009-10.
Tuesday, TSN’s Jermain Franklin caught up with Green after a workout in Calgary and the 26-year-old spoke optimistically about his health, his goals for the upcoming season, and George McPhee’s offseason moves. The two-time Norris Trophy finalist also responded to Matt Bradley’s recent comments about Alex Semin and the Capitals supposed lack of discipline in the locker room saying,”if you’re not going to be committed this year, you’re not going to fit in with our team.”
A partial transcript of the interview is below.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
When George McPhee swooped in and signed free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun for a couple bucks and Alex Ovechkin’s now useless stockpile of CCM sticks, there was no doubt it was a great move for the Washington Capitals. But that doesn’t mean everyone was happy with it. 21-year-old netminder Braden Holtby, who looked assured of a roster spot just a day before when the team traded away Semyon Varlamov, was once again relegated to a job with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
We know what Michal Neuvirth, the remaining ‘keeper in the Caps’ trio, thinks about the deal and losing his starting spot. Holtby, however, has been somewhat of a mystery, with head coach Bruce Boudreau admitting during Development Camp even he hasn’t spoken to the Saskatchewan native about the move.
Unbeknownst to us (but not Hockey Ramblings), someone has been able get Holtby’s side of the story. Several weeks ago, The Pipeline Show on Team 1260 Edmonton caught up the young goalie, with Holtby spilling the beans on the crease situation, Nicklas Backstrom’s injuries, why he didn’t think the team’s defensive system was much of a change, and more.
Below, we offer a transcription.