After putting the Capitals through more a practice without many pucks involved (more on that shortly), Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked whether he talked to Alex Ovechkin about Ovechkin and Alexander Semin's seemingly up-beat conversation with New Jersey star Ilya Kovalchuk following the Devils' 5-0 win over Washington.
"We make big things about nothing," Boudreau said. "We want to make big things about nothing. After every game in every arena you will see in the new hockey that people will be talking to their countrymen and it happens everywhere.
"When we win at the Verizon, I don't see anybody reporting when they come over and have guys waiting at the door to talk to any of our guys. Just because I looked over, now all of a sudden we make a big stink about a non-story."
The case here, which was first detailed by CSN's Corey Masisak, centered on whether such jovial conversation with an opponent was appropriate following such an ugly loss.
A lot has been made about what happened at Prudential Center on Monday night, and it was clear to everyone present at the postgame news conference that Boudreau wasn't happy with his players' laughter after the team's second shutout in as many road games. Asked then if the the interaction of the players bothered him, Boudreau said: "I'll reserve my thoughts on that, if you don't mind."
It's common practice for NHL players after games to meet with some opponents, especially those who grew up together or played together on national teams. As has been noted, Tomas Fleischmann talked with New Jersey's Patrick Elias on Monday night after the game as well. After nearly every game at Verizon Center, players seek out their friends for a postgame chat and linger in the hallways around the home and visiting dressing rooms.
That said, Ovechkin's conversation with Kovalchuk -- Semin left part way through to get on the team bus -- appeared a little more light-hearted than any one would expect after a lopsided loss, and the discrepancy in moods between that scene and the locker room did stand out.
But on Tuesday at RBC Center, there seemed to be no ill will harbored from the incident the night before. The Capitals as a whole treated the day in a businesslike manner, with many players citing their work ethic as the cause for the two straight shutouts on the road.
And Ovechkin turned his focus to finding the rhythm of his game, which has been absent in recent games; Washington's captain has watched pucks roll off his stick, committed a smattering of glaring turnovers and has seemed to be missing some of his usual spark. He has two goals in his past 11 games.
"Sometimes you feel good, you just have to work harder, when things are going wrong," Ovechkin said this morning when asked about his game lately. "I think about it all the time, what I have to do better and what's not working. I've talked to Bruce about it too. It will be okay. Things happen. I make mistakes but they will be better."