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Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Bruce Boudreau says the next eight games are a 'great test' for Capitals

By Katie Carrera

Over the course of the next eight games, which include six on the road after home tilts tonight and Sunday afternoon, the Capitals will face six teams either currently in the playoff picture or very close to get in. Tonight's foe, the Carolina Hurricanes, sit two points out of eighth place.

While Washington has been winning lately, they're 5-5 in their last 10 meetings against teams either among the top eight in either conference or those still with a good chance of edging their way into the postseason (i.e., Anaheim). So this next stretch may be a litmus test to see where the Capitals truly are.

"It's a great test," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We'll see not only what we're made of, but we'll see how much we have to improve if we want to go anywhere. I think it's a great test these games and I'm glad they're coming."

Washington is 4-0-0 against the Hurricanes this season, but three have been one-goal affairs, one requiring a shootout. The Capitals are accustomed to playing tough, close games against Carolina, and right now it's not a bad thing for them either.

Boudreau acknowledged that while the 5-0 win over Edmonton earlier this week was nice, he expects that the majority of the contests from here on out to be decided by one or two goals. The Capitals have grown familiar with those types of games over the course of the season, particularly during this six-game winning streak, and as colleague Tom Boswell wrote today they might be finding a groove at the right time.

"I don't know if we're hot-hot, but we're playing better, playing well, and I think that's what we want to be doing," Mike Knuble said. "I just like the way we're playing much more than last year. We're not guaranteed anything and I think we're a different team than we were at this point last year, but I think we're better built for the long haul."

By Katie Carrera  | March 11, 2011; 12:11 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Line change: the NHL's response to Zdeno Chara
Next: Braden Holtby on reacting to unfamiliar shooters and rinks in the NHL

Comments

Good to see Wideman drinking the OPTIONAL Ovechkin Kool-Aid...

Geesh, if Semin is on the ice, Optional should have skated too...

I just don't understand why this is reported...

The guy is our "Captain"...he needs to never be singled out as NOT BEING with the team.

I know, broken record, but Katie does the guy no favors. STOP REPORTING IT...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

1986–87 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 46g 86pim
1987–88 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 74g 184pim
1988–89 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 69g 140pim
1989–90 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 66g 91pim
1990–91 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 78g 82pim
1991–92 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 54g 76pim
1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 20g 34pim
1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63g 106pim
1993–94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 59g 118pim
1994–95 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 41g 54pim
1995–96 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 75g 81pim

Ya, Kjell was a real angel.... I like the 59games 118PIM....that's Lady Byng material...

Ulf was an idiot too...but Kjell was a big time dirty player because he was so slow and goofy

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Are you the stop reporting police? Is that your job?

Last I checked, Katie is doing her job and doing it well.

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok, 828, then I will continue bash Optional for not being a good team leader and joining the TEAM for morning skate.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

For Arnott's take on things, check this out from the Bog (just posted):

http://wapo.st/dYRrrE

Posted by: wocoliz | March 11, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sounds good to me - just not sure the need to shoot the messenger.

Could be a pre-game ritual for Ovi... who knows? Guess he got the "C" from his baby face and girlish figure.

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Caps are a lock for 100 pt season. 14 games to get 14 or more points. Doesn't sound any where near as bad as some make it seem.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 11, 2011 12:49 PM

Boudreau's coaching record is 1-3, as in a .250 winning percentage (in Playoff series).

I've yet to see him outcoach anyone yet in the Playoffs in a positive fashion (Torts could have been outcoached by anyone that series).

Boudreau lost the team earlier this year. For most of about three months, they played like zombies. The players are coming back around. Let's see 60 mins a night before we annoint.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Repost: @1995hoo - Thanks for the still photo.

After seeing the still photo and the bend in the stanchon, Chara was wrong in his actions and should have been suspended. Also, ALL stanchons should have padding on them and if ANY player is hit into or run into a stanchon, they should be automatically penalized for 2 minutes, a game misconduct, and given a 5 game suspension. This type of hitting should NEVER be allowed in the NHL.

The NHL got this call WRONG on all counts!!!

With player sizes and speed major damage will be done and players careers will be shortened. Evidence this hit and the Habs players condition.

The NHL needs to OUTLAW ANY head hits all together. Hitting can happen but never to the head. If the head is hit, other than a fight, it should be an automatic game misconduct and 10 game suspension without pay.

That hit was bad when seen in a still picture with the bending of the stanchon.

http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/592/254939843.jpg

Posted by: JMinVA | March 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

ovechkin got the "c" for leading on the ice . where he leads they all follow. When Ovechkin struggles the team struggles.
ITS OVIE'S TEAM. THE TEAM IS BUILT AROUND OVIE FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE SUCESS.

ALL YOU IDIOTS OUT THERE WHO KEEP COMPLAINING GET "F'ED AND GO BACK IN YOUR HOLE OR GO BE A PITTSBURGH PEN FAN.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | March 11, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

JMINVa

Wow, great pic.... holy makeral....

Seeing that really fires me up...I am very disappointed already, but after that...wow.

1) Chara is pinning him with his right arm
2) Chara's left arm is extended
3) Chara's left hand is on his face (clearly a head shot)
4) He did it with such maliciousness Max's feet are off the ice!

Why on earth is the NHL overlooking this, oh wait, I forgot...Campbell pursuaded Murphy to do nothing for his kid's team.

This is very disturbing. If Fehr (lol, wow I almost got that one out)...if Ovechkin did this, he would get 10 games. No doubt about it.

I love the Canadien's owner coming out with a statement...he handled it perfectly.

Chara and the NHL, very poorly...I hope all NHL players run him...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1,
Did he lose the team or was it the team realizing that the regular season doesn't mean a thing?
I bet Ottawa and Edmonton wishes they could play like zombies for 3 months and still be tied for 3rd in the nhl.

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

... hm, 86 points in 68 games for a coach, who lost his team ?

However, how will you rock the red today?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 11, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

duckyjimpond , I feel like I said the exact same thing only in a nicer, sarcastic way.

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@everyone:

I've been trying to find out what the NHL record is for the most playoff goals scored in a single season by an NHL team (not by an individual player), but all my searches on the web have come up bupkis. Anybody have an answer?

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah this isn't high school hockey. An optional skate in the pros is not a required or significant practice. When I was with a minor league team optional skates were filled with guys practicing the nuances of their games. I remember watching a guy jump on and off the ice cuz he sucked at getting over the boards. I don't know if that's the same as the Caps optionals or if they're all skating around holding hands. I guess than Ovie should be there. Perhaps he's working on other things behind the scenes. I don't really care. It's not relevant at all.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal, SAOTI, PhilR, Tmac, Capscoach and the other noraml regular posters...........

I have noticed as I did this time last year an up swing in posters ??? Just me or is the band wagon starting to roll a little

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

LOL at the rangers series comment. Bruce outcoached Tortorella pretty hard in that one.

You could also say that he outcoached Stevens in the Flyers series, despite losing in OT of Game 7. I wouldn't put much stock in it, but there are similar facts.

Posted by: GFisher1 | March 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I love the Canadien's owner coming out with a statement...he handled it perfectly.

Chara and the NHL, very poorly...I hope all NHL players run him...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------

The Canadiens' owner? Who gives a rat's behind what that corporate hag thinks. Keep your hopes up about "all NHL players" running at Chara....do you really follow the NHL, or is the sum of your hockey knowledge equal to what plays out on these threads? Anyway, you're going to be hoping a long, long, LONG time for your wish to come true.

As for Air Canada threatening to pull their sponsorship, GOOD! Call them on their bluff, as the NHL is the best vehicle for that two-bit airline to advertise itself. I loved when the Masters purchased all commercial time to one-up that crazzy woman protesting their membership policies.

The Canadiens are reminding me very much of that woman, and in more ways than one...

Looking forward to a big game tonight from Johnny Rock Star, and here's to hoping he can one-up Chara in the discussion of devastating hits....THE WIND IS GONNA BE SUCKED OUT OF THE HURRICANE TONIGHT!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 11, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Soaring Caps

And your qualifications to determine if someone is a good team leader are what? How would you know what type of leader Ovi is? He doesn't skate when its optional? That's like saying the guy that comes into the office one hour before anyone and on the week-ends is showing leadership qualities. Could that be you? Management doesn't seem too concerned about it...perhaps you shouldn't either.

Posted by: bondtrader | March 11, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@_828:

Nope, Sorry but thanks for trying. You'd think that this would be an easy stat to find.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

For Arnott's take on things, check this out from the Bog (just posted):

http://wapo.st/dYRrrE

Posted by: wocoliz | March 11, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for putting the link up here. If you have time Caps fans, read this. I've never questioned Ovi's drive, nor Semin's talent. I only suggested Semin be traded because of what he could bring in return, not because I thought he was useless to the team. Now, seeing Arnott's comments really reassures what I have thought about Ovi. He just wants to win and that he isn't an arrogant person like many imply.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

SoaringCaps,
Have you seen the Chara hit or are you basing your opinions on just that photo? That photo makes it look pretty cut and dry, but the watching the actual clip may make you think about the intention of the hit a different way...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBEaY_k8pMA

Posted by: j3rockstar | March 11, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

bqts,

Every year around trade deadline and close to the playoffs people come out of the woodwork. I find myself skipping many posts and just reading those of the people I recognize.

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

828 is just a meanie!!!

Posted by: Leeguru | March 11, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@everyone:

I've been trying to find out what the NHL record is for the most playoff goals scored in a single season by an NHL team (not by an individual player), but all my searches on the web have come up bupkis. Anybody have an answer?

Posted by: Rhino40
----
2-1 odds it's an Oiler record...

and remember to look for winners of Stanley Cups AND GPG averages since the playoffs used to be best of 5 in the first round... AND before expansion there were less rounds...

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 11, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with tom...the boys werent playing for BB nor could he motivate them. Who are they playing for now? The new additions have added a little spunk of life to the team, Semin back from injury and playing like he was when he was carrying the team back in 1st 2 months that allowed us to stay in the top 8 (barely I might add). Thats what started this upward swing. The team is talented enough to compensate for BB, however it would have been much easier with a different coach at the wheel.

But BB is still an issue and as we all have seen, his little profane rants do not motivate. F the F'in F'er for F sake. Oh and calling out the wrong players for poor performances...yeah that always works.

@bqts
It's not more posters, I just got bored and created a whole bunch of handles so that I could carry on a conversation.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 11, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

... hm, 86 points in 68 games for a coach, who lost his team ?

However, how will you rock the red today?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 11, 2011 1:32 PM


Not just me and others here. Plenty of TV guys say BB on "hot seat."

BTW, it's hard to say, 121 pts in reg season, then another playoff turd, then playing well below potential for long stretches. Anyway, we'll see. As an example, the thing like not fixing the PP...maybe caps have so much talent they are winning despite coaching, don't know.

FCKoeln: Standing rib roast and a very nice cab I think.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I've yet to see him outcoach anyone yet in the Playoffs in a positive fashion (Torts could have been outcoached by anyone that series).

Boudreau lost the team earlier this year. For most of about three months, they played like zombies. The players are coming back around. Let's see 60 mins a night before we annoint.

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

I think it is a little absurd to not count the time BB outcoached a SC winning coach because "anyone" could have outcoached Torts that series. Maybe it was BB's moves that led Torts to his poor and desperate decision making.

BB made the risky, yet great move in pulling Theo and putting in Varly after game 1. If not for that move, maybe the Caps do not win that series.

Also, while the Caps lost to Philly in 2008, I thought BB did as well as the Philly coach as Philly had the better team that series and BB was able to get the Caps(who were out of gas at that point) to game 7 OT.

I will also say that in 2009, the Pens were a better overall team than the Caps because the Pens had a much better defensive corp. The Caps played crappy in game 7, but the fact that they were in game 7 was largely because of Ovie, Varly and BB.

On last year, BB was outcoached. Absolutely.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Until you hear the owner say he is on hot seat do not believe it. BB never lost the team or he would have been gone. That is never allowed to happen in pro sports for too long. How about the new system gave them growing pains. The players are responsible for playing and the cause of most successes and failures. For a while they were struggling and had not much interest in regular season. The loss last year stuck with them until last week it seems.

On thing that got me to post was all you sideline GM's. I have followed this great game for over 40 years and you all make me laugh.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

On thing that got me to post was all you sideline GM's. I have followed this great game for over 40 years and you all make me laugh.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 3:22 PM

And yet you cant see something as obvious as BB having lost the team. Wow.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

SeminAllOverTheIce - It is a long season and this one was after a disasterous end to last season. They put in new system that most probably did not care for. This is a speed finesse team that they transformed. It appears now we can do both.

They cruised for while and the Winter Classic had as much to do with the losing streak as anything. I was glad when it was over. If BB lost the team, how would you get it back in mid season. Does not happen!!!!!!!! Your boy is as a much a key as anything.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Ballgame 21

Touche! There are thousands of sideline GM's but only 30 real ones. It's easy to critique and give advice when you have nothing on the line. If any of these people really knew what they were talking about they'd be in the business. Yes everyone that's GMGM's quote from 24/7.

Posted by: bondtrader | March 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Obama will attend the game on Sunday. He entertained his blackhawks at the whitehouse today.

Posted by: MSJPSU0610 | March 11, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@Tom & SAOTI...if Bruce lost the team, they would not be buying into the changes he has made on the defensive side of their game and the PK, the PK has been better since the start of the year...I don't feel or did I notice that Bruce had lost the team, now the proof is in their record...the one thing I agree with regarding the PP is that OV should have been moved permanantly off of the point, I like him around the net, on the half wall and in the slot, the last Green played OV was down low and when green was injured IOV went back to the point, now he is splitting the 2:00 minutes between down low and at the point

Posted by: boomer44 | March 11, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

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