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Posted at 01:21 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Boudreau on players in scoring slump: 'It's up to them'

Some quick practice updates from KCI:

--Bruce Boudreau said it was a maintenance day for Tom Poti, meaning he didn't take part in practice to rest.

--Matt Hendricks said he believes he'll be ready to play tomorrow if needed against the Penguins. Boudreau wouldn't tip his hand as to whether Hendricks would be immediately re-inserted into the lineup or not. Even with Matt Bradley out for 2-4 weeks with a broken finger, the return of Eric Fehr and Hendricks means that at least one forward will sit out.

If Andrew Gordon and Jay Beagle can keep up their play, there will be a rather intense competition for ice time among several forwards.

"It's their opportunity," Boudreau said. "[Bradley's out], Boyd Gordon's out, Matt Hendricks was out and now they want to get back in the lineup and they're going, 'Whoa these guys are playing'. So it puts pressure on everybody to play better all the time."

--It's no secret that some of the Capitals' biggest offensive weapons aren't scoring, particularly the top quartet of Alex Ovechkin (two goals in 18 games), Nicklas Backstrom (no goals in 10 games), Alexander Semin (no goals in his last eight games) and Mike Green (no goals in 14 games).

Boudreau has altered line combinations to try to get some of them going, experimented with different looks on the power play -- like putting Ovechkin on top of the crease against New Jersey -- but nothing seems to be helping them break the ice. And at this point, Boudreau said Wednesday afternoon, it's up to the players to get themselves out of it.

"Like I said in between periods on Sunday against Ottawa, they have to find a way. It's up to them," Boudreau said. "I can't be talking and yelling and screaming. They have to find it and it's the same with individuals. We've probably bugged a lot of the people that are in the scoring slump at this stage more than they've ever been bugged before. So it's time to say: 'Hey, listen, we're there for you, whatever you need we will supply, but it's up to you. You know what the messages have been, you know what you need to do, just go out and do it.' And sometimes they have to hit maybe the bottom before they get coming back up."

By  |  01:21 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Categories:  Bruce Boudreau

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