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Get your ear plugs ready: Bruce Boudreau blasts Madison Square Garden

Apr 18, 2011, 12:52 PM EDT

boudreauvmsgap AP

Just about every sport has its buildings that are “sacred cows,” even if they are ultimately places of commerce.

Baseball boasts the most obvious examples, which such staples as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. For the most part, hockey arenas are shifting more and more toward sterile, sponsor-named palaces that lack much in personality.

With the number of unique barns dwindling, Madison Square Garden ranks as one of the few remaining “special places to play.”

Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau couldn’t agree less, though, as he discussed on radio station 105.9 The Edge. The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg shared the most brazen bits of Boudreau’s bulletin board barbs.

“Well, the one thing, its reputation is far better than the actual building,” the coach said. “I mean, it’s nothing. The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There’s no room for anything. But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building’s a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it’s not that loud in there.”

It’s been ages since I’ve been able to attend a sporting event at MSG in person – think Patrick Ewing’s prime years with the New York Knicks – but a friend of mine said the arena’s lighting makes it look like you’re watching a game through Polaroid photos.

That’s about the biggest criticism I could really muster, though. You won’t find me bad-mouthing an arena as historic as MSG, especially with fans as knowledgeable (and occasionally profane) as Rangers fans. The fact that Boudreau said the Verizon Center crowds are louder means he’s practically goading their hatred in Game 4, but perhaps he wants to deflect the pressure from his team?

Say what you will about Boudreau’s comments, the guy speaks his mind and adds untold portions of entertainment value to this series. He wasn’t shy about criticizing the officiating in Game 3 during an interview on his bench, so for those of us who tire of clichebots, Boudreau is a great change of pace.

It probably wasn’t wise to rile up Rangers fans, but it should definitely make things more fun.

  1. stakex - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Ive been to games at both arenas… and Id have to say that the Garden sounded far louder.

    As for the accomedations not being good for the visiting team…. why should they be? If the visiting team isn’t happy, thats a good thing for the home team.

    • James O'Brien - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      That’s a great point. In a way, isn’t that part of having home ice/field/whatever advantage?

    • kellyb9 - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      These guys are professionals, home ice advantage has nothing to do with the fans or the arena.

  2. jkay123 - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    I was there yesterday, he is obviously just stirring the pot. That place was rockin’..The funny thing is, the verizon center didnt seem loud at all the first few games.

  3. hanktheking - Apr 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Stadiums don’t dictate if a barn is loud, the fans do. The rangers fans are real and passionate. They have been for years.

    The caps fans are so fair-weather it makes me sick. Unless Ovi is running around acting like a clown, they couldn’t care less.

  4. quixotissimo - Apr 18, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Having never been to MSG, I can only comment that on television the place looks poorly lit, but you also have to consider that the building is over 40 years old. That said, Boudreau is a good hockey coach that’s trying to incite the Rangers fan base for the next game, adding a boost of adrenaline to the players on the ice, maybe BB thinks such a scenario will work in favor of the Caps

  5. abrienza428 - Apr 18, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Was not impressed by MSG when I caught a game there in February, but I think I just had bad seats. It was certainly loud, though.

    Yet again, this is coming from somebody who caught about 6 games on Consol Energy Center before going to MSG, so almost any arena would appear lackluster.

  6. mccjr - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    No one wants to go to an outdated arena. Go to a well lit arena and notice the difference. Notice the small nuances that make the newer arenas better for entertainment. I understand that history plays a role. Tell that to the Yankees. Also, the loudness factor, in my opinion, is because MSG echoes so badly. Just sayin’.

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