Boudreau discusses Sidney Crosby's scuffle
Bruce Boudreau was on Pittsburgh sports talker 93.7 The Fan Tuesday morning, and as he's wont to do, he charmed the socks off the hosts.
"You know, it's kind of hard not to like the bad guy," one of the hosts said after the segment. "He's the bad guy, and we like him."
The coach and the Pittsburghers did have a disagreement on one thing, though. You can probably guess what that one subject was.
Yup! You got it! The hosts asked Boudreau whether Alex Ovechkin's two suspensions this year have tarnished his image, and the coach defended his guy.
"In Pittsburgh, maybe," Boudreau cracked. "Look, we all love him here in Washington. I don't know. He plays hard. And when you play as hard every night as he does, things are gonna happen. He got suspended and reprimanded and everything, but the same thing can be said about Sidney. I mean, you look a the end of last night's game, which happens a lot. [Crosby] competes so hard, I mean, he ends up in that scrum at the end. I don't think his image of being a great player is tarnished by the amount of little feuds he's gotten into in the course of this year. But I mean, Ovi's suspensions are again nationwide, or two nations wide, and you hear it all the time. It may have, I have no idea. Not to us, that's all I know."
The conversation soon moved on, and after Boudreau had hung up, the hosts revisited this topic, with a special emphasis on Crosby's little scrum from Monday night, seen above, via D.C. Landing Strip.
"We're not in a position really to get into a debate [with Boudreau]: you ask questions, you get answers and then you can comment on his comments," one of the hosts observed. "But the one comparison that he made when I asked him about Ovechkin's physical play and he talked about what Crosby did at the end of last night's game, where there was just a little bit of nonsense with Zetterberg? That wasn't flying across the ice, leaving your feet and cross checking a guy into the boards. There's a big difference between the kind of boys will be boys [scuffles and]....That irritated the Red Wings, by the way, what he did. And that's good. It stirs things up."
This just fits perfectl into Boudreau's previous discussion of how regional bias will inevitably color the way people look at these two players. When Crosby gets in end-game shoving, to Pittsburghers, it's "boys will be boys." When Ovechkin seriously injures another player, to Washingtonians, it's playing his guts out.
Still, if they differ on Ovechkin, there was smiling agreement about the Penguins-Capitals rivalry, and it's value to hockey. The hosts even suggested that the Caps should be chosen to play the first game in the Pens' new arena next season, and they asked Boudreau how long it would take before Wednesday's game turns intense.
"Maybe the warm-ups," Boudreau said. "I mean, let's face it, I mean, Canadians will say different, but is there a better rivalry in hockey at this point? I don't think so. Like I said, it takes the whole continent center stage when Pittsburgh plays Washington, and I don't think the last playoff round that we had against them or the NBC game made it any less than what it is. It's two teams that know in this conference that they're up near the best, and they fight tooth and nail for every inch, whether it's a psychological edge or what have you come playoff time.
"And it's got the two bets players in the game today going head to head, and this year it's even magnified [since] with 10 games to go they're both tied for the goal scoring championship of the league. So I think everything's magnified when you guys play us, and I think that's great for hockey....I think hockey loves it when Pittsburgh plays Washington, and I think it's great for the game."
"He's right about one thing: it would be an absolute shame if there's not a Penguins-Capitals postseason meeting again," one host said later. "Now we can make fun, we have white outs at Mellon Arena, and they Rock the Red in Washington. If you've ever been to a game there and taken your life into your hands, they've got their little band, and Mike Green plays better on the drums than he does when he's actually on the ice. All these guys, Ovechkin and Mike Green and some of these other guys are in a rock band, playing along with this Rock the Red thing that they've got going. Everybody wears red, the place is absolutely nuts. It's terrific. It's a terrific atmosphere."
"It's a great, great atmosphere, it is," another host said. "And we do need to have that happen. I don't care how it's configured, I don't care what it takes, we need to have a Washington-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup playoff series this coming spring."
(Boudreau was also asked about the filming of Slapshot. "A lot of great x-rated stories that we can't talk about," he noted. "Those actors are pretty wild.")
March 23, 2010; 2:49 PM ET
Categories: Caps , Media
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