Boudreau uses the word "reckless" again
Welcome to Interview Semantics 101. I'll be your host for a few minutes of ridiculous word parsing. Feel free to wait in the lobby if it gets too annoying. I might be joining you there myself.
Remember when Bruce Boudreau said Alex Ovechkin was "pretty reckless" back in December? It became quite the thing for a few days. Here was the quote:
"He's pretty reckless. It's hard telling a guy that scores 60 goals a year to change the way he plays. At the same time, I don't want to see him getting hurt. Maybe he has to pick his spots a little better....As a coach, and someone who admires him, I just don't want to see him put himself in harm's way. So we'll see. I don't think anything said is going to change the way he plays. Who knows?"
And then remember when Boudreau came back the next day with a clarification?
"I don't want him to change the way he plays at all," Boudreau said. "When I said 'reckless,' I was using the term in fear of him getting hurt, not him hurting anyone else. He's got to be him. I don't want him to change."
Clarification or no clarification, "reckless" became the word of the week. It was everywhere.
Jim Kelley: "Suspended Alexander Ovechkin refuses to stop reckless play"
Darren Dreger: "Polling NHL players on whether Ovechkin is reckless"
Greg Wyshynski: "Coach calls Ovechkin 'reckless';
Caps star defends 'risky' style"
USA Today: "Reckless Capitals' Ovechkin suspended two games for hit"
Washington Times (Sniff): "Pretty reckless Ovechkin is suspended"
NBC Washington: "Risky, Reckless Ovechkin suspended two games"
TSN's poll asked players whether Ovechkin was "reckless and dirty," while Kelley wrote that Boudreau "was forced to reverse his position," presumably after being pressured from above. And the word has spawned even more columns; just last week, Mike Wilbon wrote that "His own coach, Bruce Boudreau, wondered this season whether his star was out of control," I guess based on the reckless comment.
Here's the part that we all might have missed: Boudreau sort of likes that word.
"When Eric is going to the net with reckless abandon, then he's really good," Boudreau said of Eric Fehr less than a week before he deemed Ovechkin reckless.
It happened again on Monday night, after the Caps lost to the Stars. And no one really noticed.
"We're living a little bit with [John] Carlson's mistakes in his own zone, but the more he plays the better he's gonna get," the coach said. "You know, I thought he was a little reckless tonight on a few occasions, but there's still 16 games to go before the playoffs, so I'd rather him learn in those situations than not play him every time he made a mistake."
Did this cause international headlines? Oddly, it did not.
Ok look, I understand that these are different cases. Saying your superstar is "pretty reckless" when asked about a possible suspension is loads different than saying a rookie was "a little reckless" when making some mistakes. Still, I think it's possible that Boudreau likes to use the word by its dictionary definition -- "without caution" -- and wasn't actually trying to create an international incident by suggesting his star was dirtier than a mud puddle.
Either that, or we all just let John Carlson off the hook.
(And hell yes, I take every opportunity to throw the most eye-catching words possible in my headlines, up to and including "reckless." I don't really fault anyone in this caper. So why are you reading this, you're wondering? Better than working.)
March 10, 2010; 7:37 AM ET
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