Back to Saturday

I mentioned that I would transcribe Bruce Boudreau’s pre-game quotes from Saturday night when I got a chance. I finally got a chance, and a lot of it winds up being pertinent even a few days later. So here’s what was said, along with some introductory comments.

Boudreau was asked what prompted the shuffling of the forward lines:

“I just think we need some more forechecking on every line. I was looking yesterday – when you’re on the plane you’ve got time to think. Brash and Bradley, they’re not scorers. But it seems that every time they’re on the ice the puck is in the other team’s zone. So my thought was to split them up and maybe you get two good forechecking units. A couple of the other units, we get the puck in, but those guys aren’t winning battles along the boards. We’ve got to win the battles. So the lines have changed a little bit and you’ll see them in warm-up.”

With Saturday being the second game of back-to-back games, Boudreau was asked if Olie Kolzig would be in goal against Atlanta that night:

“He’s the guy that we have to run with. If we’re going to be successful, Olie is going to be the goalie. I love what Brent did and he is going to play again this week. But I think if the Washington Capitals are going to win, Olie is going to be the guy in the net. So we have to get him to play the way he is capable of playing.”

Boudreau was then asked if he had spoken with Brian Pothier about being removed from the lineup.

“I’m not going to share anything. He knows. We’ve had a couple of talks. On his play, it has not been up to the way I think he is capable of playing. It’s not that he’s any worse than anybody else but I think that he’s got more to give. Maybe sometimes when you’ve never sat out a game in the year and a half that he’s been here, sometimes looking from above he is going to get a different perspective and Monday he’ll come back with a vengeance. That’s the hope anyway.”

(It does look like Pothier could be back in the lineup on Wednesday against New York. The pairings at practice today were: Tom Poti with Jeff Schultz, Mike Green with Shaone Morrisonn, John Erskine with Pothier and Steve Eminger with Milan Jurcina.)

Boudreau then spoke about what he didn’t like in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Devils in New Jersey:

“I didn’t like our sense of urgency. I was telling the guys, this is a very important stretch for this hockey club. It’s great to get to the 20 [point] plateau because then you can see the light a little bit at the end of the tunnel. But you’ve got six more games in nine nights here and you’ve got to advance to where you believe that you’re capable of really putting a spurt together. So with five days off and all the talking and the videoing and the practice time we had I was a little surprised that we didn’t come out hungrier than we were. It wasn’t that the practices were overly difficult. We had one difficult practices and two learning practices, I thought. I didn’t think that we were sitting there and we were tired or that we should have been tired. But we had almost a sense of awe at the beginning: ‘We’re not supposed to beat these guys.’ Until we get over that with every team – we’ve got to believe that we’re better than every team. That’s the message. Whether it’s fact or fiction, the belief has got to be the same.”

I asked him about the team’s inability to rebound after allowing the first goal of the game, a monkey the Caps got off their back in last night’s 3-2 win over the Devils.

“That’s not a good number, Mike. We’ve got to be stronger willed and stronger minded and not get down. We’ve got to be able to face that little bit of adversity whether it’s in the first five minutes or the last five minutes of the game and say ‘We will overcome.’ That’s the mindset they have to get. Until it happens, they’re going to languish. I don’t know any other better way to put it. They have to get over it. They’re professionals. They’re hockey players that have had success a lot of their life, and they’ve got to reach back to that success and why they were successful and they’ve got to use that for them.”

Finally, Boudreau discussed New Jersey’s last two goals in Friday night’s game, similar tallies that came from near the top of the paint.

“They’re young but they’ve got to understand body position. On the third goal for example, the guy got body position on Tom Poti. And he is not a first year guy. He’s got to block him to the outside, let Olie see the puck and then any rebound we’ve got to be able to steer to the corner. But we let him get behind us, the puck was not stopped clearly, and obviously they gte first crack at a rebound.

“On the second goal, same thing. I don’t think Brian Gionta is Todd Bertuzzi in front of the net. We’ve got to be able to get position, especially on those little guys.”

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5 Comments on “Back to Saturday”

  1. Steve Says:

    Looks like things are turning the corner…I’m optimistic about what I’ve seen the last two games.

  2. Roose Says:

    Everything I read from Bruce Boudreau makes me feel good. He just has that no nonsense attitude and seems to be diagnosing what we all have felt this year: that this team needs to stop making excuses and start believing in themselves. I love that he accepts no excuses and calls guys out when needed. Tough love, and it’s working so far.

  3. ZeroCool Says:

    Mike – Do you think the guys are ready to put together a serious win streak? If Motzko and Laing can contribute in a meaningful way, why not some of the other guys that are “assured” a roster spot? I hope Laing has prolonged stay, he seems hungrier for NHL action than a few of our other forwards…

  4. dave Says:

    Roose, you’re right. I loved it when BB jumped up and cheered when we beat the Flyers and will do a complete 180 after the loss in NJ. I know 9 games is still a small sample, but BB just seems right for this club.

  5. Luc Bertrand Says:

    As I said on your previous article, Bruce Boudreau seems to have applied the basic principles of a good balanced offensive line: one sharpshooter, one playmaker and one cornerman. All his four lines have responded very well in the last three games. Same comment for his pairs of defensemen, all composed of one offensive and one defensive blueliner. About defence, for sure there is room for improvement, but let’s do one thing at a time. It will be easier for the players to integrate the new defensive system when they know each players’ combination can score and outplay the opponent, whoever he is.

    As many have expressed, I really love Bruce Boudreau’s spirit of the game and recent games show undoubtedly he’s on the right track. Let’s go Caps!

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