Picking up again on the theme that time and distance from torment affords valuable and more meaningful perspective, today the Washington Post hosted an online chat with Capitals’ head coach Bruce Boudreau. A chat with Bruce is ever illuminating, but while following this morning’s exchange I couldn’t help but think that the coach benefitted greatly from having a couple of weeks of decompress and soberly assess his team’s stunning and spirit-sapping setback against Montreal.
He was asked by one fan if the Game 7 defeat last month was the worst he’s endured in his hockey career.
“I think it has to be. I have lost Game 7s before, but none hurt as much as this one,” the coach replied.
The coach suggested that Game 6 of the Montreal series might have been the best his team played all year.
“Game 6 might have been our best game of the year. We deflected two pucks in our own net and they had an ENG [empty net goal]. I do not know if I have ever seen a team with more scoring chances being limited to one goal. [Halak] may have been as good as a goalie can play.”
One enterprising questioner asked the coach if he was free tomorrow night to coach his recreational hockey league game. The question ellicited the coach’s characteristic wit.
“Unfortunate timing to say the least — I will be in Hershey watching the Bears. I will see if Dean or Bob is available. Hahaha.”
I had a question that got put before the coach and anwsered with striking and characteristic frankness:
Washington, DC: Coach, Mike Green recently suggested that the team’s protracted commute home after game 4 played a role in the team coming out flat at the start of game 5. Do you agree? And in general, what impact do extraordinary travel delays have on a club in a series with little time off between games?
Bruce Boudreau: I think the fog flight had a profound effect on us. The players missed an entire night of sleep and got out of their routine. We missed practice the following day and it showed in the first 10 minutes of Game 5, when Montreal scored both their goals.
And the coach cast his gaze a bit at the future.
Culpeper, VA: Which Hershey Bears young guys would you say have the strongest chance of earning a spot on the Caps roster in the 2010-2011 season?
p.s. You’re adorable.
Bruce Boudreau: I really like Carlson and Alzner. Perreault has a real good chance, as do Beagle, Andrew Gordon and Pinizzotto. Michal Neuvirth as well. They are all having great seasons and are banging at the door.