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Posted at 1:21 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Boudreau on players in scoring slump: 'It's up to them'

By Katie Carrera

Some quick practice updates from KCI:

--Bruce Boudreau said it was a maintenance day for Tom Poti, meaning he didn't take part in practice to rest.

--Matt Hendricks said he believes he'll be ready to play tomorrow if needed against the Penguins. Boudreau wouldn't tip his hand as to whether Hendricks would be immediately re-inserted into the lineup or not. Even with Matt Bradley out for 2-4 weeks with a broken finger, the return of Eric Fehr and Hendricks means that at least one forward will sit out.

If Andrew Gordon and Jay Beagle can keep up their play, there will be a rather intense competition for ice time among several forwards.

"It's their opportunity," Boudreau said. "[Bradley's out], Boyd Gordon's out, Matt Hendricks was out and now they want to get back in the lineup and they're going, 'Whoa these guys are playing'. So it puts pressure on everybody to play better all the time."

--It's no secret that some of the Capitals' biggest offensive weapons aren't scoring, particularly the top quartet of Alex Ovechkin (two goals in 18 games), Nicklas Backstrom (no goals in 10 games), Alexander Semin (no goals in his last eight games) and Mike Green (no goals in 14 games).

Boudreau has altered line combinations to try to get some of them going, experimented with different looks on the power play -- like putting Ovechkin on top of the crease against New Jersey -- but nothing seems to be helping them break the ice. And at this point, Boudreau said Wednesday afternoon, it's up to the players to get themselves out of it.

"Like I said in between periods on Sunday against Ottawa, they have to find a way. It's up to them," Boudreau said. "I can't be talking and yelling and screaming. They have to find it and it's the same with individuals. We've probably bugged a lot of the people that are in the scoring slump at this stage more than they've ever been bugged before. So it's time to say: 'Hey, listen, we're there for you, whatever you need we will supply, but it's up to you. You know what the messages have been, you know what you need to do, just go out and do it.' And sometimes they have to hit maybe the bottom before they get coming back up."

By Katie Carrera  | December 22, 2010; 1:21 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
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Next: Sidney Crosby congratulated Andrew Gordon on first NHL goal

Comments

Shoot the puck and don't look for the perfect pass.

BTW, first.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | December 22, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Second! Woohoo!

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

From previous:

FLDave,

The Caps sell out just about all of their away games as well and I have heard that in Canada they absolutely sell out every venue. While I tend to agree that Ersk with his concussion history should not be playing the "heavy" on the team that is the position he has been put in by mgmt this year and I think he has done a pretty good job thus far. Last year I would say that DJK needed to be in the line up more as it looked to me that Ersk was afraid of another concussion and was a bit timid. This year I think he is completely healthy and ready for anything so the need for DJK is not as great.

I guess my point is I would rather have 5-6 guys that can play the game well and STILL be abrasive and be able to handle dropping the mits than having one guy who gets five minutes per game to take out the other teams "heavy" as that is all he has been used for this year. To me he simply appears a tad too slow to be a solid forechecker/energy guy......I think cstanton called it right when they made the trade, they should have kept SDR and just picked up a serviceable enforcer that was available as there were quite a few out there.

Sorry for rambling!

Posted by: PhilR

Posted by: PhilR | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with BB in this case. Him yelling at them isn't going to change things (could be many reasons for that...not the point here). Only the players themselves can break the slump, which they will.

Personally, i think Ovi will get a couple Thursday to further the Ovi vs Sid rivalry. He always steps it up against the pens.

Winter classic only 10 days away! Woohoo!

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

ovi scores 9 goals Thursday...mark it down

Posted by: SA-Town | December 22, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town....but how many after pre-game warmups? haha

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Is everyone missing what I'm seeing? Ovi has become so damn predictable it's ridiculous! He has two moves. Go the outside and use the D as a screen (this doesn't work anymore because all the Defenseman has to do is get his stick in the shooting lane = shot blocked or shot wide), OR try the old curl and drag between the legs...(doesn't work because Defenseman have seen him do it Eighteen thousand times!)

None of this works anymore. Here's a thought....instead of going home this summer and making a damn video of yourself...go home this summer and work to get better! Ovi became complacent in the offseason and everyone else caught up to him. I've never been so pissed off in my life watching a Caps Victory last night. This team WILL NOT WIN without it's big three/four guys producing on a consistent basis. Period!

Posted by: joshu1 | December 22, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sit OV and Backstrom so that Hendricks and Fehr get back in. Got to go with those players playing the best.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Seriously though, I like how they are putting OV in front of the net on the PP. They should do this more often on both the PP and 5 on 5. Let him get the rebounds. He has the skill to lift the puck.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@joshu1....i agree that Ovi has gotten predictable, but its also due to the coverage he gets.

I don't know how anyone could be pissed off from last night's win. No game is perfect, but that was nice to see compared to what we were seeing during "the streak".

Yes, i know it was the Devils and the Sens, but it seemed to spark some confidence in the team. The top guys will break out soon. Its only December

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

From the previous thread:

Brashear played a total of like 4 games during the 2008-09 playoffs and was kicked out of one of the games in New York due to a blindside his at Betts....well fanohock1 Brashear WASN'T kicked out of game 5 versus the Rangers for his hit on Betts. He got a 2 min penalty. He was then suspended 6 games for the hit AND a pre-game bump with Colton Orr. I love when so called Cap fans don't know the facts!!

Posted by: brandon5272lee | December 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

You know what dude, that ticks me off. I am a die hard fan, and yeah, it was just a two minute minor. I didn't google anything though. For your information is was game 6, not game 5.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 22, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

From the previous thread:

What about these lines? Reward the kids for their strong play latey. And seperate Backs and Ovi for a little while until they find their grooves.

Ovi-Majo-Knuble
Semin-Back-Fehr
A.Gordon-MP-Beagle
Chimera-Stecks-Laich

Posted by: sagerjf | December 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@CTCCapsPhan...you are right. Ovi being in front of the net is way better than him being on the point. Too many pucks got by him.

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Ovi play the other wing for a couple more games like we saw earlier this year.

I think he deserves to be top line, but ge thim out of his comfort zone for a bit again.

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It was great to see the grinders have success last night. But the fact is that the Caps will not be successful with Ovi, Green, and Backstrom not contributing to a much greater degree at the offensive end.

Posted by: zmega | December 22, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

A rookie third line? Come on.

Posted by: GFisher1 | December 22, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

GFisher,

Without those "rookies" we may be riding a 10 game losing streak.

Posted by: PhilR | December 22, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin problems, he has been using the same moves for years and people have adjusted. He keeps adding wieght each year, which as made him a tad slower. Its obvious, people can keep up with him when in years past he could get a step or two on them. He needs to adjust his game to throw off the opposing teams...

Posted by: CapsBaby | December 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@philr

is this what you mean by grit and skill?
(For the new fans, this is a caps-pens classic that isn't shown in western PA)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XDaCrCTrXM

and some other highlights...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st5znR-rL6g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh13Nl3KtiQ
(really like the tomahawk to the back of the head at the end and the high fives from the CAPTAIN at the end)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YGKQae4K-o


Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 22, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hehe, if I was BB I wouldnt just sit and let them figure it out. I wouldnt yell either. I'd do mind tricks on him (the non Jedi kind).

Coach Me: Hey there Ovie, you see that guy Crosby got another 3 point night, man that guy can play.

Coach Me: Semin my man, not only did Crosby score last night, but so did Stamkos...no wonder they got those big contracts. To get the big contracts, you got to play like the big boys. Am I right or am I right.

Coach Me: Esskay...get back to the press box and eat your hot dogs. I told you, NO MORE SWEATERS FOR YOU. Gosh you're thick.

P.S. Yes, that last one was thrown in there as a bonus. =)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

For those that suggest Ovi and Backs sit to get their heads straight or to send them a message have to remember that it means the new 1st line, which is typically 2nd line at best, would then be facing the other teams top defenseman. You have to look at the players on the ice for both teams to draw an honest true comparison.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@OVIE and MREILLY
My seats are up in 510 or somewhere close to that my buddy has the tickets,so not sure off hand.

Does anyone know of any new years eve parties that will have Caps fans?

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | December 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What time is everyone getting to Kettler to catch the bus?

Posted by: OviFan08 | December 22, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

PhilR... so why not bump all three to the top line? Throwing three rookies out together to be in over their heads is a terrible idea. If you want a kid line, they have to start low minute and work their way up so their development isn't ruined.

A rookie third line is a great way to risk another losing streak.

Posted by: GFisher1 | December 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

PhilR... so why not bump all three to the top line? Throwing three rookies out together to be in over their heads is a terrible idea. If you want a kid line, they have to start low minute and work their way up so their development isn't ruined.

A rookie third line is a great way to risk another losing streak.

Posted by: GFisher1 | December 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek1

Love the one where Hunter broke Ulf's cheekbone! I was at that game. The homer announcers kept talking about Hunter "cut". The next time the two met Hunter kept trying to get Ulf to go again and pointed to his own cheek. Classic, Old Time, REAL hockey!

Posted by: FLDave | December 22, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek,

Thanks for the memories, those were great examples of guys that had skill but could still drop the mits when needed. God, I do miss those days when the Patrick division was still around.

Posted by: PhilR | December 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

GFisher,

I really wasn't disagreeing with you but pointing out that they have been a major reason for the last two wins. I don't think Perrault is a third line center by any means but putting the other two with say Laich or Knuble would be great lines IMO (Beagle can play wing or center).

Posted by: PhilR | December 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@washingtoncapital

The Capitals Fan Club is hosting a New Year's Eve party at a hotel in Pittsburgh from 6:30pm - 1:00am. See link.

http://67.199.38.190/

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I was screaming at the tv last night during the game. Ovi, Backs & Semin line were pathetic and BB shoudl have sat them down for a couple of shifts. They were acting cute on their passes and not shooting the puck nor were they all three going to the net like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines were doing. That's why all the goals were scored by the grinders because they went to the net hard. Ovi, Backs and especially Semin didn't. Semin is the worst of the 3 and should be talked to and told to watch from the press box for several games or trade him for a 2C and Dman.
Those 3 aren't working as hard as the other 3 lines especially the Hershey kids Baegle, A. Gordon, and MP. Those 3 have what has stopped the 8 game losing streak and provided energy to the team on the ice.
The top 3 haven't and one or several should be talked to and told to watch from the press box until they prove in practice they deserve to be on the ice during a game.

Posted by: JMinVA | December 22, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

We all know that DJ King would get us out of this scoring slump. he should be playing first line. Semin Should be traded for Cooke and Kunitz who would round out the top line. Move Erskine to the point of the power play...and we will put last year's scoring to shame!!!

Seriously, some of you don't know half as much as hockey as you think you do. I love Erskine and think this team could use a few more of his type. But to think "disrespect" to him by BB is the reason for our team being in demise is insane. he is an overperforming 5/6 dman who fits a role. THAT IS IT.

As for DJ King. I can't help but laugh about the fascination with him on this board. All signs point to the trade being a mistake. The man has not made the most of his opportunities, he can't even do what he was brought in here to do....FIGHT. Has he even won one? great of him to stick up for Ovie, but Henericks, Bradley, Erskine can all get their ass kicked and we call it sticking up/agitating. But unlike the three aforementioned, DJ King can't skate, shoot, pass, or shoot. hence the reason for constant call ups. If the fighter was such an important role where a player would make it just for their ability to fight, then we'd just teach some MMA fighters how to fight on skates. But Fighters need to atleast have the ability to play hockey. Which DJ King has not shown at the pro level when given the chance.

Posted by: ajian1 | December 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau isn't the coach who will ever stand up to Ovi, Backstrom or Semin. This same lackluster/sorry play will continue as long as BB is the Coach of the Capitals.
Pathetic.

Posted by: joshu1 | December 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I feel for our top line. They have been so soft and I hate to see Ovi being soft. Ovi has to play like Ovi we know to get the best out of him.

We can't afford excuses like hot goalie, SOG etc. Our top line creates a lot of turnover and it's time for them to grow up and walk the walk.

Let cheer for our gringers!!!!!!!
GO CAPS

Posted by: THEPALS | December 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

At cadlecreek1 ...thank you for the nice ride down memory lane....

May Gaetaan (SP)be resting in peace.......

Langway, Stevens, Ridley, Etc.

Mario still went on to win how many cups, and saved hockey in pittland...

Just once can we get the better of ShiTTHGuens...Sidney has a bloody gold, and cup.....

if we can not do it with Ovie...who will....
still love the caps despite lots of heart breaks........
Could be worse, live in STL now, and i think they have gone longer without winning the cup........

GO CAPS.....Ovie get 5 goals tonight...........

Posted by: hunter321 | December 23, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does OV look a little soft and out of shape in the shots of him in his underwear during the episode 1 of the HBO series? He has a gut and almost no definition to his pecs and biceps. I mean the guy is 25 or so and an elite athlete yet he looks like he never lifted a weight in his life? Moreover, his mom lives with him and cooks his meals, I think he is getting a little too much home cooking, and not eating "quality" foods during the season. Would explain why he seems at least a step slower this year....

Posted by: opticlguy | December 23, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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