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Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau: Southeast is 'the toughest division in the East right now'

By Lindsay Applebaum

It was only a matter of time before the Capitals would no longer be able to take their division for granted. "Those easy games are not there anymore," Coach Bruce Boudreau said this morning during his regular appearance on 105.9 The Edge.

"When the [other] Southeast Division teams lose the last three years like they've done, and we've pretty well dominated, and they get all those high draft choices, they turn into pretty good players," Boudreau said. "So you look at our division, and I think it's the toughest division in the East right now.

"Atlanta's [got] 51 [points], we're 54, Tampa's 55... Last year we beat Florida six times out of six, we beat Atlanta six times out of six, I think we were [4-2] against Tampa, and we were [3-3] against Carolina. Those easy games are not there anymore."

Boudreau also had some entertaining comments about the Winter Classic that we feel obligated to repeat here despite the fact that the game was 10 days ago.

Asked if he's noticed more Caps fans on the road, Boudreau said: "Well, we saw a lot of fans in Pittsburgh. Twenty to 30 thousand Caps fans in Pittsburgh, you know, a tremendous amount. And the other 30 thousand Penguins fans wish they were Caps fans."

On the now-infamous absence of a postgame handshake: "I mean, they were supposed to be out there shaking hands, and I guarantee if the score was reversed, they would have been up there jumping up and down, calling us names and stuff like that, but I'm getting used to that kind of stuff from them."

(Unrelated to hockey: If you, too, grew up eating crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, you may also have found this particular part of the interview rather upsetting:

Asked if he planned to enjoy some Florida stone crabs during the upcoming road trip against the Panthers and Lightning. Boudreau said: "I'm not a stone crab kind of guy... I can be crabby." How about Maryland blue crabs? "I don't even know what a friggin' crab tastes like. ... Look at my body and you'll find out that it's burgers and fries."

Cue some local seafood joint offering the Maryland-resident Caps coach a free crab feast to see what it's all about.)

By Lindsay Applebaum  | January 10, 2011; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Atlanta Thrashers, Bruce Boudreau, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Winter Classic  
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Next: Alexander Semin won't travel to Florida, Boyd Gordon will

Comments

Imagine what we could get if we traded Semin?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 10, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@vermont

meant to ask you this before...I was thinking about how you are always saying Erskine gets the raw end of the deal with the Caps, and BB treats him like garbage...

If that is the case...why did Erskine sign an extension for virtually the same amount of money with this coach and team? Obviously he does not seem to think things are as bad as you do. He is having a good season...easily could have signed with another team, epsecially a rebuilding one and gotten a "fair" deal if he thought he was being treated unfairly.

Posted by: capscoach | January 10, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Being challenged in the division is the best thing that ever happened to the Caps.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 10, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If that is the case...why did Erskine sign an extension for virtually the same amount of money with this coach and team? Obviously he does not seem to think things are as bad as you do. He is having a good season...easily could have signed with another team, epsecially a rebuilding one and gotten a "fair" deal if he thought he was being treated unfairly.

Posted by: capscoach | January 10, 2011 12:46 PM

all that is irrelevant. are you not aware the caps are wimpy. without erskine in a sweater every night to light a fire under the 'softies' *sses - then this team doesn't stand a chance? :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 10, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Capt Kirk,

Ersk's scowl alone is worth 10 points in the standings.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 10, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

How about we not consider what we would get for Semin right now? Unless you can guarantee we wouldn't face Semin on another team or that he ends up in the KHL, I'd keep him, for the good and the bad that he brings to our team. Go Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 10, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@ Capscoach

You really repeatedly have the most immature arguments and responses to other posters on this board that I see. Your Erskine "could have signed someplace else" reply to Vermont is just so naive and narrow. Erskine is a marginal NHL talented player. He therefore needs to demonstrate other skills to separate him from the rest of the also-rans. He does a fine job at that. For you to even think for one second that a player of Erskin's caliber is not going to accept a two year extension to play the game he loves is just.... well, naive again. Erskine's playing days could be over by taking one hit or one punch at any moment, like tomorrow night perhaps.
You need to stop evaluating hockey and the business of hockey from a secure high school teacher's perspective and the "security" that goes along with that.
Erskine does get treated like crap from BB. But I know Snark likes him because he told me he did the last time he extended him. That doesn't translate into getting more ice time though. Which John should be getting over Poti at the moment.

Posted by: rblatch45 | January 10, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@rblatch45

of course b/c I dared to disagree with you I am naive...b/c only your opinions and analysis could be correct...please!

Erskine is playing very well this season. There is no reason to think another team (esp. a young one) would not be interested in his services for the same price or even a little more than what we just gave him!

He would definitely get more ice time on a team that was rebuilding. If a player is miserable and feeling cheated by their coach they will not sign an extension so early in the season.

And as far as your "secure teacher" viewpoint...well I am a recent graduate and got laid off at the end of my first year along with all the other first year teachers b/c of a 15mil dollar budget hole...I have an interview tomorrow for a long term position...so I know a little bit about security or lack thereof.

And the guy got 2 games off...big whoop! Poti deserved a chance and it looks like based on todays practice lines that Erskine will be back in tomorrow.

Posted by: capscoach | January 10, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I SAID A MONTH INTO THE SEASON THAT ERSKINE WAS THE MOST IMPROVED PLAYER ON THE TEAM. I STAND BY THAT STATEMENT. ALSO SEMIN WOULD NOT BRING AS MUCH IN A TRADE AS YOU MIGHT THINK---HE;SWAY TO STREKIE INCONSTIENT AND HOOKS AND INTERFERES TO MUCH.WHEN HE'S ON HE'S GREAT. IF HE GETS A HANG NAIL HE'S OUT FOR 2 WEEKS LIKE NOW. WHEN WAS HIS LAST GOAL? SO LONG AGO I CAN'T REMEMBER.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | January 10, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If Erskine is just a "marginal" NHL player ( I more or less agree) than why do you people keep freaking out every time he sits a game!

He is good a what he does...play a physical game, not against teams top lines, and with less minutes than the top 4 players...he would look terrible as a top 4 player so lets stop acting like he is the end all be all to this teams D! If you haven't noticed, our D has had pretty good numbers lately. Poti is just as good (in a different way) than Erskine when playing the way he can...not sure if he can recover from all the injuries this season, but I sure as heck hope BB gives him plenty of chances...the playoffs could add an extra 28 games to a season and I bet dollars to donuts at least one D man gets injured or at least needs a night off. Sure would be nice to have our #7 ready to go in that situation. I would hate to see Poti come back in during a game 7 if he hasn't seen any action since January!

Posted by: capscoach | January 10, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Pens would've shook hands if a cheap shot wasn't thrown at their captain.
Grow up, Boudreau. You're silly obsession with the Pens will lead to his eminent firing.

Posted by: LonnieBeale1 | January 10, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

first of all, this is not the toughest div in the EAST. More self serving garbage by the king himself. We should be thankful we don't have to beat ourselves up playing in the Atlantic. The only team that even somewhat resembles the Atlantic style is Atlanta. Tampa and Fla are finesse teams for the most part. The Canes are gutsy but still don't pose the degree of competition you get from the top 3 teams in the Atlantic.

also, love to see Steckel playing the way he has. Even before the hit on Crosby, he was throwing his weight around with abandon. No reason why he couldn't play that way before that, or why some of his teammates can't raise their energy game either.

and F Gordo. Hope he stays on the shelf indefinitely. Getting healthy doesn't necessarily equate to getting better. Seeing Poti in the lineup makes me ill (how many times did he lose the battle for the puck v Florida on the forecheck????) and if Gordo replaces Steckel, I'll be even iller.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 10, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Pens would've shook hands if a cheap shot wasn't thrown at their captain.
Grow up, Boudreau. You're silly obsession with the Pens will lead to his eminent firing.

Posted by: LonnieBeale1

any team who has Matt Cooke should keep their mouths shut about "cheap shots".

Period.

And I'm a huge Cooke fan.

And agreed that Bruce's remarks need to be curtailed. He sounds like a child. I liked him better during the losing streak. When he had nothing to crow about so he kept his mouth shut. From his dumb and unprofessional slam on Riley Cote, all the way thru his tenure, he doesn't know how to come off without being an arrogant snob.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 10, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"And the other 30 thousand Penguins fans wish they were Caps fans."
================================
I guess Bruce Boudreau does follow the Capital Insider since this is were all these "Closet Capital Fans" are blogging and secretly "dreaming" about Ovechkin. Heck, it must be better than listening to whining Sidney complaining all the time. Speaking of cheap shots, Steckel's love tap was just as hard as Crosby's slash just 3 minutes earlier. Payback is a "you know what" especially if you are already a "you know what" like Crosby.

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 10, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton.

I'm pretty sure boudreau meant this is the best division in the east, which it is if you look at the standings.

Posted by: Dizruption | January 10, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

And agreed that Bruce's remarks need to be curtailed. He sounds like a child. I liked him better during the losing streak. When he had nothing to crow about so he kept his mouth shut. From his dumb and unprofessional slam on Riley Cote, all the way thru his tenure, he doesn't know how to come off without being an arrogant snob.
Posted by: cstanton1 | January 10, 2011 5:50 PM |

you should take some of your own advice cause you sure sound more of an idiot than any1 here chunk.

Posted by: Rocc00 | January 11, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

@ LonnieBeale1

Did you even watch the game? Cheap shot?? Really? I know living in your moms basement, the reception is bad, but watch the replay. It wasn't a cheap shot on Cindy. Typical Pens fan, whining about a call. Classless bunch of sore losers, sorry we whipped you in front of a national audience. But even you have to admit, it was classless not shaking hands.

Posted by: gs12 | January 11, 2011 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Semin is a basket case. He has got some form of bipolar disorder. He is arguably the most skilled player on the team. When he is on, he is even more ustoppable than Ovechkin. When he is off, he sluggish, he does dumb things, turns over the puck, and take unnessecary penalties. I doubt he would get much on the trade circle. It is rumored he doesn't want to play in the NHL without Ovechkin. He also doesn't want a long term contract, thats why we keep extending him a year at a time. Any team that got him would likely lose him at season's end. If he got depressed over the trade, they's lose his productivity for next 10-15 games. That adds up to a lot of red flags for any team that would be interested.

Posted by: akmzrazor | January 11, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Crabby Grabby should take speaking lessons from Mike Shanahan . Shanahan is a idoit and does not say much at all . I will go out on a limb and say that Poti and Shultz are just stink up the ice . jay Beagle is not no ones answer at all he is group with them also. GMGM needs to package any of those three along with Semin to make a 3-1 trade or 3-2 trade and get back a 2c and a nastey bend u over the boards defensemen .This whole ORG must have a better defensemen somewhere tuck away playing in europe , they must have one somewhere .

and as far as BB eating habits he looks like the type where his wife has a strap/on in the bedroom for him when he returns from road trips. Rex Ryan has a foot fetish and coach BB has a strap/on fetish ..... his wife looks like one of those s/m chicks ...awsume I say .... get on all fours BB ,,,bite the rubber tube !

Posted by: terryreece | January 11, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

@ LonnieBeale1

Did you even watch the game? Cheap shot?? Really? I know living in your moms basement, the reception is bad, but watch the replay. It wasn't a cheap shot on Cindy. Typical Pens fan, whining about a call. Classless bunch of sore losers, sorry we whipped you in front of a national audience. But even you have to admit, it was classless not shaking hands.

Posted by: gs12 | January 11, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

You know, the Pens did mill about for a while wondering if they were supposed to shake hands, it wasn't until Bruce yelled..."make them come to us!"...that they decided to bag it.
You must admit, though colorful, he's not the most cultured of men.

Posted by: itsannies | January 11, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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