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Caps coach Boudreau upset with Ovechkin and Semin yukking it up after Caps 5-0 loss

Nov 23, 2010, 11:59 AM EDT

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How would you conduct yourself after your team lost their third straight game, two of which were 5-0 blowouts? If you were just about any player in the world you’d be angry, upset, and likely frustrated about that. If you’re Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals superstar and team captain, you would feel the same way. But for Ovechkin, feeling down and out about a team struggling doesn’t last long and seeking out friends from the opposing team to share a laugh and a chat with is part of the norm… Just not usually right where the team’s coach is standing by conducting press scrum.

We’ve got drama in Washington and Corey Masisak of CSNWashington has the details of what happens when Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Ilya Kovalchuk start yukking it up near Bruce Boudreau who is trying to figure out how to get his Caps out of an ugly funk.

A minute or so later, Boudreau walked out to assume his place in front of the media. Already upset, he glanced to where Ovechkin, Semin and Kovalchuk were standing and he looked displeased.

During the course of Boudreau’s press conference, one of the three players let out a hearty laugh. Boudreau stuttered in the middle of an answer he was giving about the goaltending situation and had to recollect his thoughts. He was clearly steamed.

Semin eventually left for the bus but Ovechkin and Kovalchuk continued. At the end of Boudreau’s press conference, he was asked if “that” bothered him – that being the interaction between the Russian players.

“I’ll reserve my thoughts on that, if you don’t mind,” he said after a pause.

You can see how this whole thing might get blown out of proportion. A bad loss, a bad stretch of games, a frustrated coach and players seemingly not taking things as seriously as they’re supposed to.

The Russian countrymen are a pretty tightly knit community so having this mega-troika of talent get together briefly after a game isn’t too shocking. Obviously the Caps are going through a tough stretch right now but so are the Devils and Kovalchuk has been having his fair share of struggles as well. In this situation though, it’s about appearances and having the captain of the team appear to not take things seriously is a reason to raise your eyebrows a bit. Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy throws in his two cents on this matter succinctly.

And it’s frankly unacceptable for Ovechkin to put himself in a situation where this becomes a story. Boudreau dropped him to the third line against Jersey. He hasn’t scored a goal in four straight, and has two goals in nine games. It’s not the best run for Ovechkin right now.

But above all that: He’s the captain. And the impression left on his coach and on his fans this morning is that a 6-4 block of granite named John Erskine handled himself better after this defeat than the guy with the ‘C’.

While I don’t believe this is as big a deal as it could be construed as, when the fans take things more serious than players do upsetting them doesn’t do much to help keep them cool. These sorts of post-game meetings aren’t uncommon and for players getting a moment to chat with pals you don’t see so often is a rare opportunity. These types of things don’t usually end up within earshot of the coach or a media scrum is what’s the issue here. Sometimes getting a peek behind the curtain of what goes on with the players when they’re not in game mode can give you a look at something you’d rather not see and potentially give you the wrong impression.

Ovechkin’s love of the game has never been questioned in his career, but now he’ll have to deal with questions about whether he cares enough to get mad about things when losing badly. Whether or not he can handle the added pressure and speculation that will go into that will present a new twist into Ovechkin’s life as captain of a Stanley Cup contender.

  1. stakex - Nov 23, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    What are players suppose to do, get on the bus and cry after a loss? Christ its just a game and being friendly after its over isn’t the end of the world. Yeah, they were blown out for the second time in two nights. Im sure Ovechkin was pissed off, but is he suppose to blow off a conversation with a friend OFF THE ICE and AFTER the game because of it? Not a chance in hell. These guys do have a life outside of hockey, and once the game is over and they are leaving the arena… I fail to see the issue with these guys BSing for a bit.

    Yeah ok, the worlds full of morons who expect these guys to be in game-mode and hate eachother at all times 24/7, so perhaps they should have had their conversation in private. But the media and the fans really need to accept that these guys actually have a life once they leave the ice, and that these guys don’t hate eachother just because they play for different teams.

    I suppose they shouldn’t talk and have fun at all during the All Star game as well? Because man, it might really look bad if Malkin and Ovechkin show that they actually aren’t hated enemies despite the fact Pit and Wash are suppose to hate eachother…… give me a break. Boudreau is just unhappy because he probably thinks Washingtons players are going to cost him his job if this keeps up, which is probably true. In fact, hes lucky to still have a job after the mess that was the playoffs last year.

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