With expectations for the Caps high as usual, all eyes are on Alex Ovechkin. (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
By Stu Hackel
The NHL preseason ended Sunday for teams in North America (the four clubs opening in Europe — Kings, Ducks, Rangers and Sabres — each have a game left to play over there) and things will get going for real on Thursday. The Blackhawks-Capitals tilt on Sunday, a 4-1 Caps victory that was closer than the score indicated, gave us a chance to see two clubs who some believe could meet in the Stanley Cup Final, and it wasn’t bad entertainment for a preseason game at all.
But Caps coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t happy with the way his team played or the results of their warm-up games, in which Washington went 3-3-1. “We didn’t play like Stanley Cup champions all preseason,” he said (video) — a rather strange statement about a team that has won only two playoff series during his four-year tenure — and he called the Caps’ performance on Sunday “sloppy.”
With that, Boudreau seems to have abandoned his jolly round fellow persona of seasons’ past. “If there is one thing we have come to know about Bruce Boudreau, it’s that he doesn’t sugar-coat anything,” wrote Chuck Gormley on CSNWashington.com, who just moved south to DC after a number of years covering the Flyers. He’ll get to watch Boudreau more closely during a season in which the coach’s job could be jeopardized if the expectations of fans and those above him aren’t met.