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Posted at 01:24 PM ET, 01/13/2010

Boudreau on Bradley, Erskine and no excuses

Tidbits from this morning's skate at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla:

*Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said he was informed that the instigator penalty levied on Matt Bradley during Tuesday night's 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay had been rescinded after a review of the game videos. Boudreau, who said he received the call on the team bus after the game, and Bradley had contended that Bradley did not leave the bench to step between Alex Ovechkin and Steve Downie, who had both shed their gloves after exchanging words after their simultaneous penalties for roughing ended.

Bradley, who said he had been replacing Eric Fehr, flew in to intercede for the Capitals' two-time MVP, pummeling Downie before receiving the instigator penalty along with five minutes for fighting and 10 for misconduct.

*John Erskine, who suffered an upper-body injury against Atlanta, took the ice this morning but will not play against the Florida Panthers. When asked if Erskine had shown improvement, Boudreau offered a flat "No," before adding: "He's skating this morning, so he is better, but not significantly enough to play."

*Boudreau said he hadn't decided on a goalie for tonight's game, though Michal Neuvirth was first off the ice this morning On Tuesday, Neuvirth gave up four goals on 15 shots in the first period before being pulled for Jose Theodore, who allowed three goals on 21 shots. Despite the ugly numbers, Boudreau volunteered praise for Neuvirth for his performance, saying he made "three great saves" and the score should have been 7-1 instead of 4-1 after the first period.

*After two straight games in which the Caps could not conduct a customary morning skate, Washington finally got back to the usual routine today. Boudreau, however, wasn't about to blame the absence of the morning ice time for his team's back-to-back abysmal starts.

"If it's an excuse, if you're using that as the reason why we didn't come out in the first period, that's not a good reason," Boudreau said. "I don't think that should be a factor."

Boudreau also said he doesn't believe his squad should show any fatigue despite the back-to-back games in different cities. Boudreau noted that the flight from Tampa late Tuesday was just 35 minutes.

"The average guy on our team played between 10 and 20 minutes of hockey last night ... [and] got to bed at 1 a.m. last night," he said. "That gives every one eight or nine hours of sleep ... They're not my age. There should be no reason for fatigue to set in."

*In the last three games against Florida, the Caps have been without the services of Ovechkin twice because of injuries and once because of a suspension and still won, outscoring the Panthers 17-7.

"It can't be any worse than without him,'' Panthers Coach Pete DeBoer told The Miami Herald. "It's not too many coaches around that are going to be hoping that Ovechkin is in the lineup, but based on how we played without him in the lineup, we'll take it.''

Boudreau expressed concern that after three great Ovechkin-less efforts, his players would lean on Ovechkin too much tonight.

"I'm a little worried that we have him tonight and everybody's going to say, 'Let Alex do it,'" Boudreau said.

By  |  01:24 PM ET, 01/13/2010

Tags:  Florida Panthers, John Erskine, Matt Bradley, Tampa Bay Lightning

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