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Capitals' Boudreau Is NHL Coach of the Year Finalist

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bruce Boudreau, the former minor league coach who led the Washington Capitals back from their worst start in 26 seasons to the Southeast Division championship, was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL's coach of the year.

After replacing Glen Hanlon on Nov. 22, Boudreau led the Capitals to a 37-17-7 record, including seven straight wins to close out the regular season, and the franchise's first playoff berth in five years. Before getting his shot in the big leagues, Boudreau, 53, coached more than 1,000 games in the minors.

The other finalists are Detroit's Mike Babcock and Montreal's Guy Carbonneau. Babcock led the talent-laden Red Wings to the best regular season record while Carbonneau's Canadiens won the Eastern Conference.

Boudreau is the third member of the Capitals in line for a major award. Alex Ovechkin is up for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player, and Nicklas Backstrom is a finalist for the Calder Memorial as the top rookie. Winners will be announced June 12 in Toronto.

Meantime at the world championships yesterday, Ovechkin practiced on Team Russia's top line with Washington teammates Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov. Also, 2007 first-round draft pick Karl Alzner was named player of the year in the Western Hockey League. . . .

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery has been hospitalized after lacerating his spleen during a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

ยท TENNIS: Rafael Nadal eased into the third round of the Barcelona Open by defeating Potito Starace, 6-4, 6-2.

Nadal is seeking his fourth straight title in Barcelona, and broke the Italian's serve to take the first set. The Spaniard came out more aggressive in the second, going up 2-0 and then trading breaks with Starace, who offered little resistance the rest of the way.

The top-seeded Nadal has won 99 of his last 100 matches on clay. He came into the tournament fresh from Sunday's win over top-ranked Roger Federer in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal has won 16 straight matches in Barcelona, and last year did not lose a set in the tournament.

In other second-round matches, second-seeded David Ferrer beat Gabriel Trujillo-Soler, 6-1, 6-1, and sixth-seeded Tommy Robredo ousted Robin Haase, 6-2, 6-4. . . .


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