Caps coach called Tocchet about Ovechkin
Hidden inside a gathering with reporters on Thursday that was full of information and annoyance, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau revealed he called Tampa Bay's coaches to talk about the celebration done by Washington star Alex Ovechkin after he scored his 50th goal against the Lightning on March 19.
You remember the incident, of course. Ovechkin scored on goaltender Mike McKenna and then dropped his stick and waved his hands over it as if to say it was too hot to handle. Boudreau, while chastising the media for keeping the incident alive, also said he spoke to Tampa Bay's coaches about the incident. Here is the quote, courtesy of Washington Post reporter Katie Carrera.
The teams meet on Friday for the first time since then.
"I just thought it was professional courtesy," Boudreau said. "What we said is between us. That was it. To even bring this up, certainly to God, hockey has got more stuff going on. The playoff races are so intense and so tight that we're talking about a three second thing. I feel like Allen Iverson talking about practice for crying out loud. It's dumb. Let's get over it. You guys get over it. The teams have both gotten over it so it's up to the media to get over it."
Sounds like Boudreau was particularly upset that the Canadian network TSN made a special trip to Washington to ask about the possibility of fireworks at the game.
"We've talked to Tampa'scoaches," Boundreau said. "We've said our speech. The people that are bringing this crap up are (reporters). Nobody cares about it anymore, but you guys want to bring it up because you want to see a riot. Then you want to talk about retribution. It's the dumbest thing in the world. You've got to have better stuff to talk about. I'm sorry, but you guys that are coming from Toronto to find out an answer on retribution where there should be no retribution at all. He scored his50th goal in a 0-0 game. It wasn't 8-0 where he made a mockery. If Tampa scores a couple goals and wants to do a celebration go for it. We've talked to everybody we can talk about. It's a done deal as far as I'm concerned."
And Lightning coach Rick Tocchet seemed to be on the same page.
"Hey, listen, we're kind of blowing it up out of proportion," he said. "The only thing I was upset at was he did it by our crease. That's something, I'm sure you'd like to see players react. But reacting is playing in Washington and playing abrasive and not playing stupid. That's how I coach."
Tampa Bay's players, too, seemed ready to move on.
"It's kind of over," left wing Ryan Malone said. "I mean, there's not really much you can do anymore. If the hit is there, you want to finish your checks on him, but you have to keep your head up with him as well. It's just one of those things. He was celebrating his 50th goal, we understood that. But we still were embarrassed by it. It's our job to stick together."
Malone said the best retribution would be to "steal the two points."
"You're looking for people to react, and we're going to go into that game and give them a good, smart hockey game and play abrasive. But that's the way we want them to play in any game."
As for Ovechkin, he said, he is ready for whatever comes his way.
"Somebody wants to do something, do it," he said. "If somebody wants to hit me, go with pleasure. I'm ready and I don't care. I don't think it's going to be some war or any fights. Long time ago, it was big celebration. Time for everybody to forget about it."
Other stuff from this morning: Karri Ramo is expected to start in net tonight against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mike McKenna will start Friday against the Capitals. Tocchet said he is interested to see how McKenna reacts. The rookie was in net during the 5-2 loss to Washington on March 19, but then bounced back with a great effort in Tuesday's 2-1 overtime win over the Blue Jackets. "Against Washington he was back in his net a little and he wasn't on top of his game, so, yeah, I'd like to see him goo against Washington and square up and not be afraid to go up and challenge those guys." ... The Ovechkin goal may be old news to Tocchet as far as retribution goes, but it won't be forgotten when it comes to evaluating players after the season, he said. "Let's put it this way. We're evaluating our players and that will be a big part of that game; how people react and how people play in those situations. It was a failing grade against Washington. We're not going to go into next year with those type of players. That's just the harsh reality of it." ... It is amazing how well captain Vinny Lecavalier handles the media here. Surrounded first by French-speaking reporters and then by the English speakers, Lecavalier calmly talked about the perhaps being traded to the Canadiens over the summer. These aren't new rumors by the way, this is the same stuff we've been dealing with since December. "For me, they're just rumors," Lecavalier said. "Every two weeks someone comes out with it. I have no control of what people say. The team said if they did do something, they would come to me, so they can write whatever they want." Asked if after two years out of the playoffs he felt it might be time for a change regardless of where hemight go, Lecavalier also took the high road. "I've been with the Lightning since 1998," he said. "The first four or five years, it could have been discouraging. Two years later we won the Cup, so you never know in hockey. Two years, of course, is discouraging, but next year our goal will be to make the playoffs, and you never know what can happen from there."... F Paul Szczechura(leg) said he will not play against Montreal. ... We'll end with a bit more about Ovechkin. Lightning right wing Evgeny Artyukhin is friendly with Ovechkin and said when he spoke to Ovechkin after the March 19 games, he seemed contrite. "He said, 'I'm not looking to embarrass your team,' " Artyukhin said. Still, Artyukhin said he was embarrassed. "It's a game. We'll see what happens," Artyukhin said. "We can't say, 'Yeah, we're going to kill him,' but we'll see what happens on the ice."