Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau Stays Off Ice, Focuses on Film of Loss

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 10, 2009

Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau relishes spending time on the ice with his players. On Friday, though, he skipped practice.

Instead, he stalked around the back rooms of the rink, his hands stuffed into his pockets and a scowl on his face as he prepared for a post-practice team meeting in which he intended to dissect, in painstaking detail, the tape of Thursday night's miscue-riddled 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers.

The video session lasted more than 20 minutes -- about twice as long as usual.

"We had a lot to show," Boudreau deadpanned.

The meeting came only hours after Boudreau scolded his players in the locker room, then uncharacteristically snapped at reporters in the postgame news conference.

"I wanted to get it right because I wanted to nip this in the bud," Boudreau said when asked why he chose to cut tape rather than lace up his skates. "As much as I wanted to be on the ice, I thought this was the best time for me to make sure I got it right."

Boudreau delivered his message on the eve of the Capitals' biggest test of the young season. On Saturday, they will face Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

"It's unlike him not to come out," defenseman Mike Green said of Boudreau's absence from practice. "He said what needed to be said."

Some of the mistakes committed against the Rangers were the result of poor defensive positioning, sloppy special teams execution, ill-timed penalties and porous goaltending. All of that bothered Boudreau. But not nearly as much as a pair of issues he considers to be significantly more troubling: some players' reluctance to adhere to the coaching staff's game plan and a collective lack of focus and effort in the third period Thursday as they attempted to protect a one-goal lead on home ice.

"We really watch the tapes to put pre-scouting things together on how to . . . beat other teams," Boudreau said. "Then when we go out there and don't do it on set plays. It really bothers us."

Boudreau saved his sharpest criticism for the inconsistent effort exhibited by some players, though he was careful not to name names.

"There were certain times where the work ethic in that game was better by the Rangers than by us," he said. "They wanted it a little bit more for whatever reason.

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