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Boudreau: Ovechkin “wasn’t benched”

Nov 4, 2011, 1:57 PM EDT

Boudreau Ovechkin Getty Images

Bruce Boudreau can’t believe all the attention this whole Alex Ovechkin “benching” story is getting.

Besides, it wasn’t even a benching, said the Washington coach, referring to the end of Tuesday night’s game versus the Ducks when he left on Ovechkin on the bench late in the third period with the Caps trailing by one and the goalie pulled.

“It’s all about accountability, but it was way overblown,” Boudreau told reporters today. “[Ovechkin] wasn’t benched or anything; he just wasn’t chosen to go out the last minute. I’ve done it many different times with many different players. You have a hunch and you go with it. I just thought the other guys were going to score.”

Guess it all depends how you define “benching.” Boudreau obviously defines it as a punitive measure as opposed to simply leaving a player on the bench in favor of other players. Players, it should be noted, who got the tying goal.

So why did the story receive so much play in the media?

“There was no football, there was no basketball, there was nothing else going on,” Boudreau said. “So they made a big deal out of nothing.”

But was it really that ridiculous for the media to react the way it did when you consider what else Boudreau had to say?

“Like I’ve said in the past, 99.9 percent of the time Alex is the first guy I even think of,” he said. “If you look at all my notes, even for that game, when I’ve drawn up a play quite frankly, he’s the one that’s on it. But it’s a different story sometimes at the time that it’s happening, and I just felt that other line was playing so good offensively.”

So 99.9 percent of the time Ovechkin is the first player Boudreau thinks of when the Caps need a goal. And he’s wondering why all the fuss when Ovechkin doesn’t even crack the coach’s top six?

Sorry, not buying it. Boudreau probably did think other players gave his team the best chance to score, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t sending Ovechkin a message at the same time.

  1. cshearing - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Exactly where in his comments did Boudreau say he was not sending Ovie a message?

    Benching is a term that (I thought) all sports fans knew. It is when you do not play the remainder of the game, which is obviously not what happened here; Ovechikin got an assist on the winner.

    Boudreau has it right; this is way overblown, mainly by journalists that cannot think logically but are looking to push “hype” and “controversy”. Like this article.

    • sippindasyzurp - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      Well said, my thoughts exactly.

    • danphipps01 - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM


      In defense of Pro Hockey Talk, though, most of the articles written about this have supported Boudreau’s decision.

    • Jason Brough - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM

      Whether it’s overblown or not, for Boudreau to say all the attention it received caught him by surprise is a little hard to believe. Apparently he didn’t catch the media reaction in DC when Mike Shanahan parked Donovan McNabb late in the fourth quarter because Rex Grossman gave the Redskins the best chance to win. Boudreau’s been around long enough to know the media loves to jump on these stories.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Though I may not agree with the move, Coach Bruce needs to stick to his guns. You benched him. That’s the reality of it. It worked this time. Move on.

  3. theolgoaler - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Yeah, “Gabby” benched Ovi long enough to get the game-tying goal; and the (ahem) “Fat (Bleep!)” got Ovi on the ice for the game-winning goal. Message sent and received. All the rest is “sound and fury; the tale as told by an idiot, meaning nothing…

  4. bigbear42 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Am I the only one that thinks if the Caps didnt tie it and lost in regulation that this story wouldnt be nearly as big as it is?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:16 AM

      Every logical hockey fan should think that, but making a big deal out of it it way more fun

  5. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    ‘Let’s not call it a benching, it was really more of an involuntary sitting”

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