One of the most popular questions for Coach Bruce Boudreau regardless of where the Capitals travel for any given game revolves around Washington’s greater emphasis on defense this season. He consistently declines to offer details on the strategy, as coaches are wont to do, and insists it isn’t the miraculous change that some make it out to be.
Boudreau was asked about that change following the Capitals’ 2-0 win in Montreal, where they smothered any offensive hope for the Canadiens, and he summed up the change in attitude for the entire team.
“I think for most of them now it’s fun to win by not allowing the other team not to score,” Boudreau said. “Where as last year it was fun to win because we scored six goals when we didn’t have to. We’d get up 5-1 and it would end up 6-4 and they weren’t upset about it. Now they get upset when they get scored on and that’s the big difference.
“They want to win,” Boudreau continued. “I think as a coaching staff we convinced them this is what we have to do to win. When we were in that little bit of a slide there and they want to win so bad they all bought in and they started getting success. After the 0-6-2 [in December] we went 6-1-3 [from Dec. 19- Jan. 12] and said, ‘You know what this stuff works, let’s stay with it’ and they have. They bought in and so far it’s been OK.”
--ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Capitals are no longer among the teams that may participate in the 2011 NHL Premiere games now that talks between the NHL and Russian officials about playing a contest there have fallen through.
--An interesting look at which teams and goaltenders allow more second-chance and rebound opportunities. [Puck Daddy]
--Karl Alzner is living the dream. [Homer McFanboy]
--In CSN Washington’s latest installment of their its regular ‘Gabbin’ with Gabby’ feature, Boudreau talks about some of his earliest jobs.