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Boudreau on Caps winning Presidents' Trophy: 'Celebration's over'

It was another morning and another milestone here during Monday's pregame skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. As has already been noted on this blog, Washington captured the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history after San Jose's 5-4 overtime loss to Colorado Sunday night. The Capitals will now have home-ice advantage through the entire Stanley Cup playoffs and have officially cemented themselves as the best regular-season hockey team Washington has ever seen.

The best part of all? It seems nobody in the Capitals' locker room this morning was really sure what the actual Presidents' Trophy looks like.

"Do we each get it for a day in the summer?" cracked forward Matt Bradley.

"I assume there's a trophy, but is it a President from a hockey team or is it The Presidents' Trophy, I don't know," Coach Bruce Boudreau joked. "Frankly, whether it's a real trophy or a symbol, the symbol is the guys have had a great year. Then again, it's only one of our goals. I told them this morning, 'Okay, you've won that thing, celebration's over, let's get on to something new."

For the record, here's a picture of the President's Trophy, which I assume will eventually be presented to the team at some point.

Notes from the morning skate:

*As I noted in an earlier post, all 25 players on the Capitals' active roster practiced this morning, a very good sign with just four games and a week remaining until the regular season comes to a close. Boudreau said wing Scott Walker would return to the lineup tonight against the Bruins after missing six games with a knee injury. As for center Brendan Morrison and forward Boyd Gordon, Boudreau said both are day-to-day at this point, but that the team "will be able to use anyone on our roster," by the time the playoffs start.

Based on who stayed on the ice for extra work after practice, it appears the scratches tonight against Boston will be Morrison, Gordon, defenseman John Carlson and forward Quintin Laing.

*After a tremendous 34-save performance against Columbus Saturday night, Jose Theodore will once again be between the pipes tonight. When pressed on whether that meant Semyon Varlamov would get the start Tuesday night in Pittsburgh when the Capitals play their final road game of the regular season, Boudreau would only say, "not necessarily."

*Captain Alex Ovechkin spoke briefly about his recent offensive struggles and Boudreau's comments following Saturday's game that the Capitals star hadn't been up to snuff defensively in recent games. It seems he's taken the criticism to heart.

"Maybe he's right, but I try to do my best," Ovechkin said. "He's the coach, he can see what I do wrong, so probably he's right."

Ovechkin also attributed the drought - he has just four goals in his last 17 games - to bad luck and not getting enough shots on net. But with a smile on his face, he made sure to say, "the goals are coming."

*Tonight's matchup at Verizon Center pits the NHL's best offensive team (the Capitals) against its worst (the Bruins). But like many of the Capitals' recent games, the stakes are a lot higher for the opposition than Washington. Boston currently sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just two points ahead of the ninth-place New York Rangers.

The Bruins have scored just three goals in their past three games, but won two in overtime thanks in large part to the play of 23-year-old Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask, who has relegated last year's Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas, to a back-up role of late. Rusk currently leads the league in both goals against average (1.96) and save percentage (.931).

"They're a work ethic club, and even in the games they've lost recently, they've outplayed and outshot their opposition by wide margins," said Boudreau. "They're just a good team that's been snakebit and we hope to continue the trend, I think."

More to come from Tarik at Verizon Center later this afternoon and evening.

By Mark Giannotto  |  April 5, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Bruins at Caps

Comments

vermontcaps: What hell are you talking about. A reputation that isn't anything to be proud of? Players from other teams take pot shots at this team because they are pissed off that they can't beat them. Their reputation precedes them which is why road and home stadiums are filling to see the Caps. No other team in the league thinks less of a team because they don't carry a Carcillo in the line-up.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

_828: NO rushed for 51 yards and won this year's Superbowl. The Colts only rushed for 99.

Last year Pittsburgh rushed for a whopping 58 yards and won last year's Superbowl, the Cardinals rushed for 33.

In 2008, Giants won and rushed for 91 yards, and the Pats rushed for 45.

None of the teams in the last 3 superbowls rushed for the type of yards that used to be needed to win games that resulted in wins. Didn't mean to turn this into a football board but the example used was bogus.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope Ovi get going tonight and not wait until the playoff starts. It will be nice to see him get 50 or at least more then the Crybaby.

Posted by: instinct227 | April 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"_828: NO rushed for 51 yards and won this year's Superbowl. The Colts only rushed for 99.

Last year Pittsburgh rushed for a whopping 58 yards and won last year's Superbowl, the Cardinals rushed for 33.

In 2008, Giants won and rushed for 91 yards, and the Pats rushed for 45.

None of the teams in the last 3 superbowls rushed for the type of yards that used to be needed to win games that resulted in wins. Didn't mean to turn this into a football board but the example used was bogus.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse"

Thanks for proving my point...

Posted by: _828 | April 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

who else is scratched on D?

Posted by: _stevo | April 5, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

How was your point proven? Not one of the teams rushed for 100 yards, which by the way is considered a good rushing game by a single player, not the entire backfield. I'm done talking football, especially to someone that thinks 51 yards rushing is a good rushing day.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

It's called being sarcastic... There is a reason why the game is changing in football... as it is changing in hockey as well.

Posted by: _828 | April 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the Caps are open to all kinds of bad mouthing until they actually win a Cup (or at least make it to the finals). Here's a question for Caps fans: will the year be a failure if they don't win the Cup? Will getting to the finals make the year a success? My vote is that you wouldn't want to judge this stellar year solely by whether they win the Cup, but I think it would be pretty close to a disaster if they don't at least get to the Eastern finals.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Why shouldn't we just sit OV, Backstrom, Knuble, Semin etc. at this point? There is nothing to play for this week. Nothing. I understand the argument that we need to keep some momentum going into the playoffs, but it would be terrible if someone gets injured at this point (a concern that outweight momentum in my mind). I wouldn't even bring those guys to Pittsburgh tomorrow. Can we "healthy scratch" 50-75% of the team and bring up dudes from Hershey without any cap issues? I want to stomp the Penguins as much as anyone, but I can wait until the ECF...

Posted by: kkd76 | April 5, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Always late for the dance.
repost:


vermontcaps:

"sorry folks, but umberger is dead on...."

I agree. But I would qualify it by saying that Umberger quote is based on that one game.

"we don't play traditional nhl hockey; we play european/college hockey and it's got to be frustrating to teams that we don't engage (we'd rather beat teams w/our power play than fists)...."

I am not sure I understand. Are you saying "traditional NHL hockey" is fighting with fist?
I think that style went out before I was born. Detroit won many championships without the goons and the Caps have said that they would like to emulate them.
Power Play would give you chances to score goals (needed to win a game) Fist would penalize your man and handicap your team (given the other team a better chance to score).
Do you watch much European hockey? I do. and I don't see what you are seeing.

"sure we're winning more, but personally i miss the ron wilson teams of the late '90s (hunter, simon, berube on the 4th line?? those were the days)..."

Can't fault you for your preferences, although I don't agree with them. It sounds like you would like to see a fist fight more than a winning team.

"i think the caps are gaining a reputation around the league that isn't anything to be proud of"

Who cares? Let their record stand for what it is.

Posted by: hock1 | April 5, 2010 1:56 PM

Posted by: hock1 | April 5, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@ kkd76:

You never sit players in the NHL. You maybe play them less and less in the third period. No way Boudreau sits anyone. Especially since the players you're mentioning haven't been playing very well as of late (except offensively Semin). For the last few games, though they may mean nothing in the standings, it means a lot to Boudreau in determining lines, who plays d, and who starts in net. The Caps haven' put together a full 60 min in awhile, and need to before the end of the season IMO.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 5, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The Presidents Trophy looks like an ashe-tray.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 5, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

ccCapsfan: If the Caps don't win the Cup I don't think it will be a total failure as long as they have a good run. What I mean by a good run is making it to the Conference Finals and taking it to a game 7 if they do lose. Also, depending on their opponent. If for arguments sake the Caps get to the Conference Finals and a team like Boston finishes as a 6th seed and sneaks to the Conference Finals and the Caps lose I would (my opinion) consider it a disppointing season even if they were to lose in a game 7.

Now, if they don't win the Cup I will still be in a bad mood for the entire month of June.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Theo's playing tonight. Then again, Rask (not Rusk) has been very strong and maybe BB sees this as an opportunity for a goaltender battle and some playoff-type hockey.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 5, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I believe Boudreau is already tapering down ice time. For example Ovechkin has averaged 21.48 a game for the season, but Ovi hasn't hit the 20 minute mark in the last two games.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

According to some Caps fans, it's a failure if they lose to Calgary... so yeah, with that logic, not winning the Cup is a failure.

Posted by: _828 | April 5, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

FYI:
Sunday was Hershey's last home game of the regular season so they had the player awards ceremony.

MVP: Keith Aucoin
Top Rookie: John Carlson
Top Defenseman: John Carlson
Unsung Hero: Andrew Joudrey
AHL All-Stars: Aucoin, Alex Giroux, Andrew Gordon
=/- Award: too close to be determined, but currently Steve Pinizzotto is leading

Posted by: tess2201 | April 5, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

That last award is supposed to be +/-

Posted by: tess2201 | April 5, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I would say that because they are finishing atop the NHL in the regular season that anything less than a Cup would in fact make this season a failure. The best teams in the regular season rarely win it all though. There is no one in the East who can beat the Caps though. Get ready for hockey through June.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 5, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town

Funny -- I thought it looked like either a baptismal font or a birdbath (for Penguins, and Flyers, and Red Wings, etc. after we capture all who enter).

Posted by: Steakum | April 5, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps should come out and try to Harlem Globetrotter all over the Pens...if we lose.. so what?..if we actually win in a display of flat out circus hockey....oh..that stings Melon bad....

Posted by: SA-Town | April 5, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- it's Rask, not Rusk. Sorry to seem picky, but leftover from my days as a writer/editor, I hate people's names misspelled. Thanks!

Posted by: Steakum | April 5, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps should give Knuble Friday off.

They will have to sit some with the injured players coming back and a player like Knuble with his age could use a little extended rest before the playoffs. Just a Wednesdy-Saturday rest.

Maybe giving Bradley a game off could be good too, with how Bradley plays I'm sure he could use some time to let some bumps and bruises heal a little more.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 5, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, tonight will be fun at Verizon (as usual). Hopefully the fans give them a HUGE ovation when they skate out to recognize the President's trophy. Then the boys better be ready because the Bruins desparately need the points. The Pens will be desparate tomorrow as well because they are still in a dogfight for their division and home ice through at least the 2nd round. Let's go Caps!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 5, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Tess,

not knowing much about the Hershey team, who are the centers that could be NHL caliber? Who would be given a good chance to make the Caps next year?

Thanks

Posted by: jeets | April 5, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I think a tusk is a pointy thing on an elephant.
A tuskit a taskit, doesn't anyone do research anymore?

Posted by: coolcraig | April 5, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

OV gets a lot of focus from other team, which leaves our guys open to score goals. He's still doing his part. Go CAPS!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 5, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@ jeets

Hershey centers:
Keith Aucoin: good scorer but small and 31 yrs old

Mathieu Perreault: small but fearless, and very quick, 22 yrs old; a mini-Ovi?

Jay Beagle: 6'3" 200, 24 yrs old, plays center or wing, tough in the corners or in front of the net

Andrew Joudrey: a career AHLer in my opinion

Kyle Wilson: maybe a 4th liner, needs to get stronger

Steve Pinizzotto: 6'1" 195, has shown great improvement since last year, hard to knock off the puck; needs to get more confident in his passing

Cody Eakin and Anton Gustafsson: too soon to tell about them, but Eakin is really fast and seems to have a quick shot. Gus needs to bulk up a bit

Bottom line: excluding Eakin and Gus, my choices to move up would be Perreault, Beagle and Pinizzotto in that order

Posted by: tess2201 | April 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Will the season be a failure if they Caps don't win the Cup? Yes. End of story.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | April 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@coolcraig: The internet is an odd place. On the one hand, with easy access to various spelling sources (and Google) there is not really any excuse for misspellings. Yet, there is a kind of immediacy that leads one to want to just type fast and hit send and not care about the spelling.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tess

Seen MP play - just need to see if he'll keep up the energy and survive over 82 NHL games.

Beagle was up for a stint last year wasn't he?

Posted by: jeets | April 5, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I think Beags was in DC toward the end of last season, or maybe it was 1st round of playoffs. I'd love to seem him get an extended look at the NHL level because I think he's got the goods.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 5, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201: Why do you call Matty P "mini-Ovi"? My wife calls him "little Ovi" because, I think, she believes with his hair he sort of resembles Ovi at least from the stands and he skates fiercely like Ovi.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

What is the playoff format for home vs away game... 2 3 2 or 2 2 1 1 1?

Posted by: DBnMD | April 5, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Will the season be a failure if they Caps don't win the Cup? Yes. End of story.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | April 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. If they make the finals and don't win the Cup, I'll be very disappointed, but I won't count the season a failure. IMO, it WILL be a failure, though, if they don't win the Eastern Conference.

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@ccCapsfan:
Mostly because he's fearless. He's not afraid to hit or go into the corners against someone in spite of his size. Obviously he doesn't hit as hard as Ovi (who does?). He's got some sweet skating skills and a wicked shot when he lets it rip.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@spacecadetkid - So if the Caps don't win the cup this year we won't have to put up with you again next year, right?

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 5, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201: We are big fans of "little Ovi". I'm not as concerned about his size as some. I see guys like Marty St. Louis and Brian Gionta and Matty P is a giant by comparison.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

What is the playoff format for home vs away game... 2 3 2 or 2 2 1 1 1?

Posted by: DBnMD | April 5, 2010 3:40 PM

----------------------------------------

2H 2A 1H 1A 1H until the SC finals, at which point if the two teams are several time zones apart that can change.

1H 2A 2H 1A 1H if you're playing against Pittsburgh and have "home ice advantage."

Posted by: Raber | April 5, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the season will be seen as a failure if they at least get to the SC finals.

Posted by: joek443 | April 5, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

There was an article somewhere today that reported that about 40% of Pres winners make it to the finals and about 30% win the Cup. As the article pointed out, those odds blow away any other position in the playoffs. That said, I think I would view a trip to the Eastern finals as a success even if they lost as long as they don't lose to Pittsburgh, Boston, NY, Philly, Montreal, or Ottawa. :^)

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 5, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

It is ridiculous to think that season would be a failure if they don't win the SC. The season was a great success. They won it. Some people may called the "President's Trophy", I called the "Season Champions". How is that a failure? They might fail in the post-season, or the so-called playoffs, I called the tournament for the SC. That is a whole new game, but don't devalue the accomplishment of the regular season.

Posted by: hock1 | April 5, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, Theo is starting again – could be the end of rotation in goal.

Speaking of our goalies, since the uproar over Umberger’s rant seems to be calming down, here is a quote from someone else who thinks/hopes Caps cup run will be a short one… Andre Nazarov (formerly Sharks, Tampa, etc.), currently Team Russia “Assistant Coach for NHL” in his interview to Sport-Express a few days ago after coming back from his NHL scouting trip (re Russian players available for the Worlds)

http://hockey.sport-express.ru/reviews/4887/

since they don't seem to have it in their English edition, here is the relevant part:

Q. So, to count on our players from Washington makes no sense – they’ll go far in the playoffs?
A. Washington’s offense is unmatched. But I think there is a person on that team who can help us (laughing)
Q. What is the secret – who is that man?
A. With all due respect to my former teammate in San Jose, and currently goalie coach for Capitals Arturs Irbe... his charge Jose Theodore is capable of helping Team Russia.
Q. So, is Theodore a weak goalie?
A. Excuse me, but I already have said too much.
Q. Is Semyon Varlamov better than Theodore?
A. Varlamov is the goalie of the future for Team Russia...

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

nobody cares about the regular season... it's all about the playoffs in this sport and any other sport with a possible exception of baseball. let's get that straight... yes it is an accomplishment to be the best team in the regular season but like any other award, it's just a side goal, NOT the main goal for the season

I think the season will be seen as a failure by most people, certainly by the people outside the area, if they don't at least get to the SC finals.

Posted by: joek443 | April 5, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

TEB said Holtby may be called up to start tomorrow.

Interesting, it may be a psychological thing. If the Caps lose to the Pens with Holtby and others sitting it doesn't really give the Pens any real confidence that they can beat the Caps this year. But if the Caps win, then even better.

He also said Mike Green might be scratched tonight to get some rest. I think that is good. Green has played so much and plays so well, he deserves a night off to try to remain fresh for the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 5, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Giving Holtby a start tomorrow or in any of the last 4 games remaining would be more of a reward than anything else...

it would be a prudent thing to do for the future but I wouldn't do it... right now they gotta keep it focused for this season and this season only.

Posted by: joek443 | April 5, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The season will be a failure without the Cup, IMO. We're the best team in the league. There's no mystery to winning in the playoffs - it's just hard, hard work every game. Not winning, to me, would look a lot like not putting in the hard work.

Posted by: EricCarr | April 5, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

those who are of the opinion that the season has already been a success no matter what happens in the playoffs, to me they almost sound like they're trying to prepare themselves for yet another april or may exit by this team.

as EricCarr just said, there is no secret to winning in the playoffs. you gotta win 4 best of 7 series... it's not a single game emilination tournament. A bad bounce or a bad goal or two here and there should NOT knock you outta the playoffs if your team is good enough. If they can match the work ethic and the intensity of their opponents every series, the Caps should be able to play till June.

Posted by: joek443 | April 5, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

As someone who has tickets to the Caps game tomorrow I really hope they take the game very seriously and win.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 5, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Who is RJ Umberger and why do we even care what he has to say? My only memory of him is the highlight I saw of Campbell hitting him in open ice with a check a couple of years ago.

Posted by: StanleyCap | April 5, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: 898551828 | April 6, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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