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Boudreau: 'It's the Most Exciting Time of Your Life'

A few notes from this morning at KCI:

Practice was crisp and had a more serious tone than yesterday's as the players started to focus in on the task at hand, and a sense of urgency could be heard in Coach Bruce Boudreau's voice as he put the Caps through an up-tempo hour-long skate.

"It was pretty spirited," Boudreau said. "We know we're playing a very tough opponent. What can't you can't get excited about? If you're a grown up and hockey player, it's the most exciting time of your life."

There weren't many new developments out here, but here are a few tidbits:

'Smells No Good'
One day after taking a jab at Henrik Lundqvist for wearing big pads, Alex Ovechkin made a joke about Madison Square Garden's odor.

"I like playing over there," he said. "Sometimes the ice is no good over there because lots of concerts, lots of dog shows, something like that coming over there. It kind of smells no good over there sometimes."

Johnson Update
Injured backup goalie Brent Johnson continues to face shots, but according to Boudreau, he's "not close." Johnson said he was told by his doctor to avoid practicing at full speed for another week or two. So Simeon Varlamov will back up Jose Theodore at least for the first round.

Other Injuries
Tom Poti, as I mentioned earlier, is "questionable" for tomorrow, which would deal the Caps a pretty big blow if he's unable to suit up. Donald Brashear and Boyd Gordon, meantime, are definitely ready to return, Boudreau confirmed this morning. No word yet on which forward will sit out.

Drury Returns
According to the Journal News' Rangers blog, New York captain Chris Drury skated this morning for the first time in four days. Still no word on the nature or location of his injury.

"I haven't figured that out yet," Drury said. "I'm still waiting to be told."

That's it for now.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2009; 1:16 PM ET
 
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Next: Wise: Postseason Hinges on Theodore

Comments

Sounds like the Rangers are playing the old game of keeping Drury's injury hush-hush...just slam into the boards several times and knock him out for the series.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 14, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Not too sure about the size of that "blow"...injured or not, Poti has been on the wrong end of a lot of plays this season.

Posted by: soloman5000 | April 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I wish Ovie would keep his mouth shut...

Posted by: The_Spear | April 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of Poti's issues in the latter part of the season have been that he's not 100%. An injured Poti isn't going to be of help: a healthy Poti I'd take in a minute. If he's not ready, don't play him.

Is it really still 29.5 hours? Who's doing the anthem? I want that drumline in front of Verizon. Get me a beer!

Posted by: saintex | April 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

sit nylander.

or cut brashear. oopsie.

Posted by: Semvechkin | April 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

That quote from Ovechkin it quite funny! He is really having fun with this and I like it! Let's be honest MSG is showing it's age! I love it when BB gets excited he looks like a kid in a candy shop! I figured as much with Johnson, he has a ways to go before he will be on the ice for a game. Also, I am not so sure how I feel about his first game back possibly being a game in round 2 of the playoffs.

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Brought over from previous thread: I got NHL Center Ice for the playoff push. I couldn't sustain my hockey watching at that pace, but I have enjoyed the last few weeks. Anyhow, I've caught a lot of Rangers games for obvious playoff implication reasons and Drury really has not been an impact for some time. I've always liked him because he's an American that has done well in the NHL. Not to mention the winning pitcher for a Little League World Series championship. My point...I don't think he will be a factor even if he does return right now.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is right - the Garden can smell like the circus...especially in the blue seats...not sure those people should be allowed to breed.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Here is a post off the Ranger's Blog I thought people would enjoy. This guy is obviously on crack:

We’re a completely different team than we were 3 months ago. While we may not have a “top line” by NHL standards, we probably have the most well-balanced and solid 4 lines in the entire Eastern Conference. Our third line could be a second line and vice versa, which says a lot about our depth.

I break the series down much differently:

Coaching: Coaches with Cups konw what it takes to win. Bruce hasn’t won a playoff series, let alone a Cup. Clear advantage: NYR

Defense: Not really up for debate here. While Rossival/Redden has struggled mightly all year, the Rangers back 6 are collectively as good as any group in the league. Advantage: NYR

Goaltending: Theodore is, without question, the worst “starter” in the entire NHL. I don’t think another goalie has been pulled more than him. I should know, he killed my fantasy team. Advantage: NYR

Offense: The Rangers have more depth. The Caps have more firepower. Advantage: WASH

Special Teams: Netural. One of the best PP’s against the best PK equals a wash.

Leadership: We have guys with cups, they don’t. Advantage: NYR

I don’t know. Maybe I’m off my rock but after the Capitals top 5, they really fall significantly off from there. I mean, this team didn’t even make the playoffs 2 years ago, and barely got in last year and now all of a sudden they’re the 93 Penguins?

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@ saintex:

I agree with you on the Poti issue and well the beer part too! I took Thursady off from work, because I feel like I will need a day to recover!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Moose

Again, these people shouldn't be allowed to breed.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I expect the New York fans and media to make a big stink over Ovie's comments.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

They might make a stink out of Ovie's comments, but they are pretty funny. Ovie having fun and being Ovie is good. I am sure at least some of them will be laughing in the background while they complain loudly to everyone.

Posted by: _Mark | April 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

NHL Fan Fav Award:

The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in July. Caps fans should be voting, because both Green and Ovechkin are in the race! You register and then you can vote once a day, well or at least once for our guys!

http://fanfav.nhl.com/

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Will you all quit saying that New York will make a "stink" about OV's comments I can't see through the tears in my eyes I laughing so friggin' hard.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the smell emanating from MSG is directly related to the quality of the Rangers play on the ice during this series. :)

Posted by: _Mark | April 14, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@ _Mark

I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of signs at MSG involving Ovie and different variations on a "smelling" or "stinking" theme. Fortunately, Ovie tends to get fired up by that sort of thing rather than distracted by it, so they would just be doing us a favor.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the smell at MSG is Dallas' sloppy seconds.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the smell at MSG is Dallas' sloppy seconds.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 14, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@ fanohock1

Good, at least someone thought it was funny. I thought I'd get mostly groans in response. :)

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@Moose

I love Ranger fans! They are all just looking for reasons they aren't going to be embarrassed in this playoff series.

HEY DB RANGERS FAN: Why did your team finish in 7th conf??? Because your lines were TOO balanced? Maybe your goalie doesn't try hard enough?? Your coach got fired by a last place team, LOL.

We'll see, idiots!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 14, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Ovi is actually right about the smell of MSG especially after the dog shows. I use to work directly over MSG on the 2nd floor and many days I hated having to walk from the train station to there because of the smell.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 14, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1:

I can't stop laughing!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 14, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

anyone planning to rock the hawk for the playoffs?

Posted by: sirbobalew | April 14, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The quote about leadership and experience is ridiculous, I guess he just forgot the Feds and Nylander were on the team, they may not be in their playing prime, but they can certainly provide leadership. I know Nyls hasn't played well at all, but does anyone else think that Backstrom's rapid improvement this year might have something to do with him being around? Hell Backs has even been winning faceoffs lately.

Posted by: doncosmic | April 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm living in the Chicago area now and don't know where to find TSN - anybody have a clue, or am I stuck with box score updates?

Posted by: DDheartsCaps | April 14, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, please make a big stink about it New York. All this talk about how Avery will get into the Caps heads. If they can get all bent out of shape about some silly Ovie comments. Be my guests. But doubt it will really have an affect on anything except our amusment.

Posted by: alagarts | April 14, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalsinsider/boudreau-on-avery-sean-is-not.html?wprss=capitalsinsider

Quote:
When I asked the reigning MVP about the keys to beating three-time Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist, he said: "Well, he has big equipment. You have to make some traffic and go to the net. ... He's a great goalie, but you still can beat him."

Are Lundqvist's pads "too big"?

"Oh, yeah," Ovechkin said with a laugh.


http://njmg.typepad.com/rangersblog/

Quote:
Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist was asked about Alex Ovechkin's claim from Monday that the goalie's equipment was too big.

"It's funny, I've heard that before," Lundqvist said. "There's no way you can cheat because they measure it all the time. Sometimes, it's the way you stand. I'm pretty happy he said I have big equipment. I guess I look big."

Pressed further about whether he thinks Ovechkin was just trying to get into his head with those statements, Lundqvist said simply, "I don't know and I don't care."

Although I myself have commented on "muffin man" pads, Ovechkni needs to learn to keep his mouth shut sometimes. He is going to end up eating those words.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm in agreement on others with Poti. If his sloppy play is due to injury, let him heal.

Ovi's funny.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 14, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"We have guys with cups, they don’t."
-I guess Feds' cups don't count.
----

Not having an injured Tom Poti is not really that big a blow to this team, especially with seven NHL calibre D-man. Hats off to GMGM for figuring that one out.

Posted by: dml1077 | April 14, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Also, I am not so sure how I feel about his first game back possibly being a game in round 2 of the playoffs.

Posted by: NatyBG
--------------------------

YIKES!

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 14, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Coaching: Coaches with Cups konw what it takes to win. Bruce hasn’t won a playoff series, let alone a Cup. Clear advantage: NYR

COOL, OUR COACH IS IN HIS SECOND YEAR OF COACHING AND HAS MADE THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE 2nd TIME, GREAT "FACT" HERE!

Defense: Not really up for debate here. While Rossival/Redden has struggled mightly all year, the Rangers back 6 are collectively as good as any group in the league. Advantage: NYR

OUR DEFENSE SUCKS...BUT THE CLAIM THAT THE TOP 6 RAGS D MAN ARE AS GOOD AS ANY OTHER TEAM IS LAUGHABLE.

Goaltending: Theodore is, without question, the worst “starter” in the entire NHL. I don’t think another goalie has been pulled more than him. I should know, he killed my fantasy team. Advantage: NYR

THEO SUCKS. WHO DOESNT KNOW THIS ALREADY?

Offense: The Rangers have more depth. The Caps have more firepower. Advantage: WASH

WE HAVE FAR MORE DEPTH. WE HAVE 10 PLAYERS WITH HIGHER POINTS THAN THEIR #1 POINT-GETTER. NO DEPTH?????

Special Teams: Netural. One of the best PP’s against the best PK equals a wash.

NYR PK IS NOT THE BEST

Leadership: We have guys with cups, they don’t. Advantage: NYR

FEDOROV


Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 1:31 PM |

I have corrected the Rangers fan for you Moose.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I thought you guys would enjoy that "analysis" from a rangers perspective. Mind you, I picked the most insightful of the bunch. Alot of rangers fans are picking the rangers in 5 or 6 if you can believe it. While I don't think we're just going to coast through this series, if Theo plays average to good and Henrik isn't a brick wall, I think we should be ok.

Also, everyone keeps bringing up overall stats for each team where as we should also be looking at head to head stats for the 4 games played. I believe Theo has a better goals against and save percentage than Henrik head to head this year. I would be interested in looking at the special teams comparison head to head - anyone have it off hand? I doubt NY was killing Caps PPs at a 88% clip.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

dml1077, Isn't that one of the stipulations for signing with the Rangers? You've got to have at least one Cup ring, at least 4 million a year in contract demands, and at most not a lot of talent?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

So I just looked it up. They do have the highest PK % in the league. Good for them. They will need it against our PP.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

dml1077, Isn't that one of the stipulations for signing with the Rangers? You've got to have at least one Cup ring, at least 4 million a year in contract demands, and at most not a lot of talent?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:16 PM

lol redden.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@Moose33

Keep in mind that (if I'm not mistaken) all the games we played against the Rangers were before the coaching change and before the trade deadline. They're a somewhat different team now, so the head-to-head stats won't necessarily be as informative as they would have been without those changes.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfan26

I agree but they didn't completely overhaul the team and their stats with and without Renney are not THAT much different. Apparently Torts opened up the offense a bit more which actually gives us more of an advantage I think.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@Moose33

I hope you're right! I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I can't wait for tomorrow night - that place is going to be crazy!

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

We have to watch out for their new forwards. Antropov is huge and Avery is feisty.

Morris is pretty much a non-factor. They overpaid for a slight step-up from Kalinin.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree Moose

If Torts wants to open up and skate...then bring it...It wont be long until he starts to play a one man up trap, and try to frustrate his way to 2-1 OT wins.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 14, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, they have to keep an eye on Callahan and Zherdev too. Those guys are talented and will burn us if we're not careful with our assignments.

I'm sure BB is on it...

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, Wait, he doesn't have a ring. Funny, neither do Gomez, Naslund, Mara, Morris, Lundqvist, Valiquette, or any of the other players save Drury.
So all those Cups must be Drury's. He's only got one, you say? Huh. I guess they're talking about Torts. And his one. So they've got two Cup winners, one coach, who hasn't done well since and Drury, who hasn't won one in 7 years and was traded twice the season following the win. All those Cups. Man, I'm just, honored, to be playing them. Sitting on the same side of the Mississippi with them.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I hope Ovechkin keeps his mouth shut. Comments just don't ring funny to me when he hasn't won a playoff series yet.

Posted by: writered21 | April 14, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

For those of you worried about Avery..many Caps fan can remember things like this from Dale Hunter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GHRK6plQdM&feature=related

Posted by: SA-Town | April 14, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, they have to keep an eye on Callahan and Zherdev too. Those guys are talented and will burn us if we're not careful with our assignments.

I'm sure BB is on it...

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:31 PM |

Oh, I know. I was just talking about their new acquisitions around the deadline. Dubinsky also seems to have picked up his game just in time.

I have already expressed my man love for Antropov before, so this time I am declaring my man love for Zherdev. I just wish they were on our team. Though having a another big soft Euro probably isn't a good idea in Zherdev. That guy has skills for days, but he is a cupcake.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So wait JMU...you are telling me Feds has more Cups than their entire team? Haha.

Keep in mind Avery had a cup with the Wings, though I don't think he played enough to get him name on there. There are also some 3/4 liners who probably won it through the trenches.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

If Ovie was saying Avery style things, then I would be wishing for him to shut up as well. He is enjoying the experience and having a little fun and I think that it might rile the Rangers fans up more than the players themselves, so who cares.

Posted by: _Mark | April 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl
I think Gomez has 2 rings (NJ Devils?)

Posted by: Kroke96 | April 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@jmu

gomez has i think at least one cup ring

Posted by: _stevo | April 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, I went through their roster. Nobody. I did forget about Avery, but "The Red Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup that season, but Avery did not play in the playoffs nor did he play the required 40 games to get his name engraved on the Cup."

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but it's Gomez.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

If Ovie starts making comments about Elisha Cuthbert, then I'll start to worry.

Posted by: capsfan26 | April 14, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Aw, darn. I missed Gomez. Eh, he sucks anyways.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so their players have the same number of Cups as Feds. Add in their coach, and they've got us by one. Big whoop.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

AGREED, As I pointed out earlier, there coach was FIRED from a last place team.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 14, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I like Antropov too, he's huge, actually hits and can score a bit.

If the Sharks choke in the first round again I wonder if they will want to unload Joe Thornton. Can you imagine Thornton centering the second line with Semin and whoever? Brings a tear to my eye.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think the bottom line though is that the Rangers do have us collectively beat when it comes to NHL playoff experience. But we do have people like Fedorov...Clark.. (who was a big peice of that flames run)...etc who have also been around the block a few times.

Hopefully our young boys are up for it.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

7th PLACE man, you have got to be HIGH, to think the Rangers are THAT dominent. Ovie please shut these ignorant FANZ up. Let's just sweep and pour the salt on 'em until next year.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 14, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, true, but honestly, that's how they operate. We grow our guys on the farm, they shop at the Overpaid Veteran Superstore. Who's getting better quality stuff in their system? (Sorry about the grocery analogy)

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, Tarik's posted new stuff.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@Moose

We don't have any money, besides their would be 8 teams in line before Caps to get Thornton. If he is such a playoff bust why would the Caps want him? They had Gart's for years, did the same thing. Checked his stick at the door come playoffs.

Posted by: bhound69 | April 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil,writered21


Are Lundqvist's pads "too big"?

"Oh, yeah," Ovechkin said with a laugh.


I use to wish Ovi would keep his mouth shut sometimes especially with the whole Cherry incidents, when everyone else seem to be cheering Ovi about what Cherry would say.

Ovi is who he is. If you listen to any of the Russians in the League, they are honest and say what is on their mind.
The truth is that Lundqvist is a big , tall guy and his pads do look big.

The media sure do know how to spin things to get a rise out people.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 14, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Where is someone saying the Rangers are dominant?

Posted by: richmondphil | April 14, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Moose33: I LOVE that that guy is underestimating the Caps. It seems as though he thinks the Rangers will sweep us!

"Maybe I’m off my rock but after the Capitals top 5, they really fall significantly off from there."

This makes me laugh. Haha. Our top 10 scorers: combined 572 points. Rangers top 10 scorers: 435. That's significantly less. So what drop off is he talking about? He should worry that the Rangers top scorer only has 59 points! LOL!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 14, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Ovi talking about the odor of Madison Square Garden. No harm. If people are ducking from that comment 'cause they're expecting retaliation on the smell of a friggin' building, now who's being a powder puff? Last I checked, Ovi's jersey was red, not powder puff blue. Get over it. It's such a non-issue. Say what you want, Ovi. Punish them! =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think the Rangers are a better team then we played them this season. That doesn't mean I think they are anywhere near the Caps level and until tomorrow night we won't get a good feeling for how the teams might set-up. I think you can throw a lot of regular season numbers out the window once the playoffs start - it's a new ballgame, to some extent.

On JT60. The number each game is 3. If the Rangers score more then 3, not counting junk time, they'll win the game; less than 3 and they'll lose the game. Pretty simple. Will the Caps give up some soft goals, yep. Will it be two or three a game? Could be. The problem the Rangers offense seems to have it that they can't actually score -soft goals will be the only thing they get. For Caps fans that think JT sucks, that's too bad. Do I think he's Brodeur or Nabakov, nope. But the Caps systems is going to leave him hanging out to dry 2-4 times a game and all I'm asking him to do is save most of those - and he usually does. His numbers are as much a product of the defensive style than his actual play. I've made my peace with that and I really don't have many worries about the Rangers.

As for Fedorov, I don't think he can hear Ranger comments over the ringing of his big brass Cup rings knocking together.

Posted by: saintex | April 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: am_jim | April 14, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I would be interested in looking at the special teams comparison head to head - anyone have it off hand? I doubt NY was killing Caps PPs at a 88% clip.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

a 75% clip actually.

caps were 4/16 on the powerplay vs. the rangers this year. i dunno, i think 25% is pretty darn good.

meanwhile, the caps killed off 14 of the 15 rangers' powerplays (that's 93% folks)

GO CAPS!

Posted by: virkulous | April 15, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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