Olympic coaching made Caps appreciate Boudreau
Meeting with local reporters last week, Caps GM George McPhee had a harsh assessment of some of the coaching during the Olympic tournament.
"I was surprised that there were only a couple of teams that were really well coached in the tournament," he said then. "I was surprised by the some of the coaching for the other teams -- it wasn't very good."
After the trade deadline, McPhee appeared on The Fan 590's Hockey Central at Noon (audio here), and he expanded on these thoughts when asked about Alex Ovechkin's tournament.
"I talked to him the next day after they were eliminated, and he was obviously really disappointed," McPhee said. "I felt bad for him. It was interesting, sitting there watching the teams warm up before the Canada-Russia game, after the warm-ups I said, 'Jeez, the Russian team to me doesn't look very good.' You know, they've got five good forwards, and two good D, maybe three, and then a lot of these guys from the KHL that I don't think can play in this kind of game....
"And then once the game got going, I didn't think they were very well-coached, and it showed. There were some teams that were well-coached in that tournament and some teams that weren't very well-coached, and you take the teams that are well-coached, and then take the two that were well-coached with good players, they were the ones that ended up playing for the gold and the silver....
"Slovakia was well-coached. I know they were, because Peter Bondra was the manager and he had his coach over here and was working with Bruce, and they were preparing. They were well-prepared, and they had a good tournament."
The topic came up again later, when McPhee was asked about Crosby-Ovechkin and whether the latter will not have even more motivation.
"I don't look at it in those terms, like it's Ovi against Sid," McPhee said. "A lot of people did to build that game up, but I don't think either one of them were really big in that [quarterfinal] game. They both tried hard, but I don't think either one of them got much done.
"I think what's good for Alex and some of our other players coming back from the Olympics was I think they like the way Bruce coaches a lot, and they like that we're a very well-prepared team. It seems like all of them were on teams that weren't very well-coached, and they learned some real lessons for that. Watching the Russians, they were all playing like individuals, and that never works. So now we're getting five guys back from the tournament that say, 'Boy, if you're good players and you buy into a system, you can accomplish a lot.' And I think that's sort of the sentiment, at least with our players that were in that tournament."
(The other interesting part of the conversation, if you're a salary cap nerd, concerned the actual trades. McPhee explained that the December deal with Columbus actually made last week's flurry of activity possible.
"It allowed us to do basically what we wanted to do," he said. "Not basically, it allowed us to do everything we wanted to do. We wanted to add some players, and we did. And there was basically nothing we couldn't do if something else was out there, but there wasn't anything else there and this was what we thought would work for us. We had the room to do it. It was kind of nice not having to worry about will this guy fit or that guy fit, because I think we had somewhere around $10 million room to work with.")
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