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Ask Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau
Coach of the Washington Capitals
Thursday, February 7, 2008 1:30 PM

The Washington Capitals have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since Coach Bruce Boudreau took over in November. He will be online Thursday, Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions about the team and his coaching philosophy.

A transcript follows.

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Bruce Boudreau: Hello everyone. I am here and ready to go. We just finished a good practice and are looking forward to playing Carolina tomorrow. But now it is time for your questions, so letís get to it.

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Wheaton, Md.: 70 goals for A.O.??

Bruce Boudreau: Seventy goals is a lot in todayís NHL, but I certainly would not count against it. He continues to amaze me every game.

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Alexandria: So... How do you like your new job?

Bruce Boudreau: It is everything that I thought it would be and when the people you work with are great people it makes it a lot easier as well.

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Markham, VA: We sometimes hear about the locker room leadership qualities of guys like Chris Clark, Olie Kolzig, and Donald Brashear. Are there any unsung leaders on the team, guys whose leadership qualities we fans might not have heard about?

Bruce Boudreau: The three you mentioned are all great leaders in the room. Brent Johnson is also a great guy in the dressing room and keeps everyone motivated and loose. He also supports everyone really well. Matt Bradley is another player that leads by example. We have a very good room and it also does not hurt when your best player is also your hardest worker.

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Chester Gap, VA: Fighting seems to be becoming more and more infrequent; Caps players were only involved in four fights in December and four in January. Is fighting still a factor in the way the game is played today?

Bruce Boudreau: Fighting is absolutely still part of the game today. We can put a pretty tough lineup together, so I donít think teams want to get into that game with us. Plus our guys that are tough can also play, so we donít want them in the penalty box for the entire game.

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Silver Spring, Md.: What are the chances of Clark returning to the team this season? If so, do you have him penciled in on the second line?

Bruce Boudreau: I hope his chances of returning are good. We will certainly find a place for him when he is ready to go.

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Montreal: Does Alex Semin get along well/communicate with teammates other than OV and Kozlov?

Bruce Boudreau: He gets along well with everybody. You just donít hear about it because he is quiet.

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Boca Raton, Fla.: Are your "optional" skates and practices really optional, or is it generally understood that all players are expected to be there?

Bruce Boudreau: No, they are definitely optional. But it is understood that if you did not play or did not play much the day before that it is in your best interest to attend.

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Rockville, Md.: Thanks for taking control and pointing this team in the right direction.

Have teams locked down on you guys? It seems scores are lower and lower. Also, how often do you get to have a "locker room rant" when the boys are not playing well?

Bruce Boudreau: The scores are lower because we are getting closer to playoff time and teams are buckling down even more than normal. I donít have to give a ďrantĒ very often because when you do it, you want it to mean something.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi coach,

You coached the team in Hershey -- who that's down there now should we be watching to make an impact up in D.C. in the next couple years?

Bruce Boudreau: I think Chris Bourque will still get a chance and there are a lot of promising rookies down there this year including Andrew Gordon, who had a hat trick last night. Sam Lepisto is a defenseman who is also playing very well. They have a good, young group but these three have excelled.

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Chantilly, Va.: Is there anyone on this team that has suprised you? You know, something that you didn't think they could do but have really opened your eyes?

Bruce Boudreau: We knew Nick Backstrom was good, but we did not know that he would be this good, this soon. Mike Green has also exceeded expectations this year.

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Rockville, Md.: Where is your favorite place to eat in the D.C. area? And has Ovechkin invited you to his house yet?

Bruce Boudreau: I ate at the Capital Grille and loved it. The food was very good and the service was great as well. Alex is doing a photo shoot at his house right now, but I am not there.

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Fairfax, Va.: I hear all sorts a rumors that the guys who make mistakes in a game ends up wearing a pink practice jersey. Any truth to that?

Bruce Boudreau: None at all. However, we do break out a pink helmet for players that lose in a shootout drill at the end of practice.

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Hollywood, Calif.: Thank you coach for bringing life into the team!

Quintin Laing has been a pleasant surprise and I'm hoping that he'll stay with the team the rest of the season. If it was up to you, will he remain with the Caps for the rest of the season? Thanks coach and good luck the rest of the way.

Bruce Boudreau: He is playing great right now and I donít see any changes coming in the near future.

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Reston, Va.: Would you prefer to coach in a 1-0 game or a 6-5 game?

Bruce Boudreau: Coaches love to be thought of as defensive gurus, but personally I just want to be the coach that has the higher of the two numbers on the scoreboard. So it does not matter to me.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Have you noticed any resentment or jealousy among the players for the attention that A.O. gets, or is the team generally happy about his success and growing popularity? It is natural for some to feel that they are working just as hard, or harder, and do not get the praise that they deserve. How do you prevent anything like this from happening in the locker room?

Bruce Boudreau: I have not noticed any and donít expect to see any. Alex is as good as any team player that we have and he wants everyone else to have as much success as he does. He goes out of his way to show it.

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Rockville, Md.: Any chance you can auction the pink helmet off at the end of the season?

Do you get tired of the "Slap Shot" references?

Bruce Boudreau: It is not my decision about the helmet and yes.

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New York: What do you say to purist fans of hockey who bemoan the fact Ovechkin will spend his career in a weak market for hockey?

Bruce Boudreau: I donít think Alex would have signed a 13-year contract if he felt that way. Take the train down for a game. We do our best every night to keep the fans entertained. We think there are a lot of hockey people in the area. The minor hockey teams are great and are growing everyday. This is going to be a great hockey market very soon.

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Mohawk, MI: What do you miss most about coaching in the minor leagues?

Bruce Boudreau: McDonald's of course. And the movies on the bus.

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South Riding, Va.: How do you pick players for the overtime shootout?

Bruce Boudreau: You have your standard go-to guys, but you might sneak in a guy who is having a hot game. Or if you go 10 or 12 rounds then some of the guys just jump on the ice and go.

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Frederick, Md.: Who determines what player is called-up from the minors? Coach, GM, joint decision, etc.

Bruce Boudreau: It is a joint decision (scouts included) for the most part, but George has the final call.

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Washington, D.C.: Coach:

What has been the most exciting part, for you personally, since you took the driver seat?

Bruce Boudreau: Just being in the NHL when you have waited 32 years to get here is exciting. You are also much higher when you win and much lower when you lose in the NHL.

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Bruce Boudreau: Thanks for the great questions. I really enjoyed it and hopefully we can do it again soon. I look forward to seeing you at Verizon Center tomorrow.

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