It was only a matter of time before the Capitals would no longer be able to take their division for granted. "Those easy games are not there anymore," Coach Bruce Boudreau said this morning during his regular appearance on 105.9 The Edge.
"When the [other] Southeast Division teams lose the last three years like they've done, and we've pretty well dominated, and they get all those high draft choices, they turn into pretty good players," Boudreau said. "So you look at our division, and I think it's the toughest division in the East right now.
"Atlanta's [got] 51 [points], we're 54, Tampa's 55... Last year we beat Florida six times out of six, we beat Atlanta six times out of six, I think we were [4-2] against Tampa, and we were [3-3] against Carolina. Those easy games are not there anymore."
Boudreau also had some entertaining comments about the Winter Classic that we feel obligated to repeat here despite the fact that the game was 10 days ago.
Asked if he's noticed more Caps fans on the road, Boudreau said: "Well, we saw a lot of fans in Pittsburgh. Twenty to 30 thousand Caps fans in Pittsburgh, you know, a tremendous amount. And the other 30 thousand Penguins fans wish they were Caps fans."
On the now-infamous absence of a postgame handshake: "I mean, they were supposed to be out there shaking hands, and I guarantee if the score was reversed, they would have been up there jumping up and down, calling us names and stuff like that, but I'm getting used to that kind of stuff from them."
(Unrelated to hockey: If you, too, grew up eating crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, you may also have found this particular part of the interview rather upsetting:
Asked if he planned to enjoy some Florida stone crabs during the upcoming road trip against the Panthers and Lightning. Boudreau said: "I'm not a stone crab kind of guy... I can be crabby." How about Maryland blue crabs? "I don't even know what a friggin' crab tastes like. ... Look at my body and you'll find out that it's burgers and fries."
Cue some local seafood joint offering the Maryland-resident Caps coach a free crab feast to see what it's all about.)