Bruce Boudreau's message to the doubters
To be honest, the Caps are running out of doubters. They're Vegas's favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Ditto the NHL players, via that SI poll. Nine of NHL.com's 15 editorial staffers picked the Caps to win it all. That's a lotta love.
Still, Bruce Boudreau loves that burning feeling in his gut that signals either another quick lunch in the Ballston Commons food court, or harsh national disrespect. Witness his answer about being the favorites during Tuesday's Mike Wise Show.
"I think my mindset has always been to prove people wrong," the coach said. "Whether they said you couldn't skate well enough or you weren't big enough or you weren't good enough, instead of sitting there and saying Yeah, you're right, and I'll just try hard, is to say I'll prove you wrong.
"And we're in the same boat here. Yeah, we've had a great little run for two-and-a-half years, but it's amazing to me how many detractors we have, people who think we're not good enough in goal, we're not good enough defensively, can our style of play win the game. And yet we lost 15 games in regulation this year. So I mean, our goal is to prove everybody wrong, to prove that what we do and the character we have and the way we play is the best way, and by far the most entertaining way. That notwithstanding, we have a lot of goals that we have yet to set, and we're gonna try to set them."
Eric Fehr sounded a similar message during an appearance on the LaVar and Dukes show. (And kudos to 106.7 for going Caps crazy this week. Seems like an appropriate topic to embrace right about now.)
"I think teams just don't like the style that we play," Fehr said. "I don't think teams really appreciate the amount of goals we've put up this year. I don't think we're as strong defensively in our numbers as some teams are, [and] I think that's why some teams don't really count us as heavy favorites."
Before Boudreau ended his segment with Wise, he was asked if he had a message for D.C. fans.
"Have faith," the coach said.
Other things that happened:
* The Post's A1 story has this Web headline: "Washington Capitals open playoffs as favorites, but it doesn't mean much." CapsBlog then takes pains to point out that the best regular-season team has gone on to win the Stanley Cup 44 percent of the time over the last 42 years. Course, the track record in the 16-team playoff era has been considerably different.
* Speaking of doubters, our interactive scoring graphic makes this point:
In the playoffs, scoring goals becomes less important than preventing them. None of the highest-scoring regular season teams since 1994 (when the current 16-team playoff format was introduced) have won the Stanley Cup, and only two have gone to the finals.
And I'll go ahead and perversely point out yet again that in the four playoffs since the lockout, the eventual Cup winner has averaged a top-five ranking in regular-season goals. On the other hand, those winners have averaged just an 11th ranking in regular-season goals allowed.
* This photo-filled summary of Bruce Boudreau's resume at Habs Eyes On the Prize is jolly good reading.
* And lastly, here's Matt Bradley, also on the Wise Show, asked if this season will be a failure absent a season-ending parade down Pennsylvania Ave.
"That's the way I look at it," Bradley said. "I think so. Ever since we got here at the start of training camp, our goal was the Stanley Cup. And obviously we had little goals on the way, and one of them was winning our division. Winning the Presidents' Cup was obviously one of them, or Presidents' Trophy, or whatever it is.
"But our main goal has always been the Stanley Cup, and if we don't win the Stanley Cup then it was an unsuccessful season, and yeah, it's a failure....The thing is, in this game, you don't get many opportunities with teams that can win the Cup. If you don't seize the moment and take advantage of that, then you'll be doing a lot of what-ifs for the rest of your life. Our only goal this year has been the Stanley Cup, and if we don't win it, we'll be disappointed."
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