Dec 23, 2013, 12:18 PM EST
Brooks Laich remembers the days when a ticket to a Washington Capitals game wasn’t exactly a hot commodity. The 30-year-old first donned a Caps uniform in 2003-04, before Alex Ovechkin was drafted and when average attendance was just 14,720 to watch a team that finished with a dreadful 23-46-10-3 record.
But Laich doesn’t just credit Ovechkin with hockey’s turnaround in DC. He also credits current Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who returns to the Verizon Center tonight for the first time since being fired by the Caps in late 2011.
“He turned hockey from a back-burner sport into a front-and-center, front page, exciting, real entertaining game,” Laich said, per CSN Washington. “Certainly, the players and organization have had a role in that, too, but he was one of the leading forces to putting hockey on the map in Washington.”
Because it wasn’t just that the Caps started winning games under Boudreau; it was the way they played, running and gunning in a league that was desperately trying to move on from the so-called “dead puck” era.
Eventually, after failing to make a deep run in the playoffs, and with his team being accused of playing the “wrong way,” Boudreau dialed it back in an attempt to play the “right way” — a move he later hinted went against his instincts.
If only Jaroslav Halak hadn’t…well, no point in going over that again; that’s history now.
“Look what he’s done with [Anaheim],” Laich said. “They were a team on the decline and now they’re at the top of the standings again.”
Indeed, the Ducks are red hot, with eight straight victories and a 26-7-5 record.
Mar 2, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
He’ll pair with Sergei Gonchar to start.
Mar 2, 2015, 7:31 PM EST
Adding versatility in a tough West.
Mar 2, 2015, 6:49 PM EST
Quite a rebound from a scary lacerated arm.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:59 PM EST
“We were looking to upgrade, add more of a veteran presence.”
Mar 2, 2015, 5:49 PM EST
“It’s just hard to get a deal done, and you see the prices are so high.”
Mar 2, 2015, 5:25 PM EST
Was it just a sellers’ market?
Mar 2, 2015, 5:10 PM EST
He gets a no-trade clause in the first year of the deal.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:09 PM EST
“Devastating” news for the Calgary Flames.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:47 PM EST
He was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
All the latest leading up to 3 p.m. ET…
Mar 2, 2015, 3:57 PM EST
They were “adamant” about bolstering their blue line.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:44 PM EST
Second trade of the day for Boston.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:38 PM EST
Former 13th overall pick.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
A 31-year-old for a 23-year-old.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:15 PM EST
For the price of a second-round pick in 2017.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:07 PM EST
Busy day for Montreal.
Mar 2, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
Speedy winger was rumored to be a trade deadline target.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:58 PM EST
Kids. They do the darndest things.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:43 PM EST
Has only been to the playoffs once in his career.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:38 PM EST
New York gets Mark Louis in the deal.
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- Giordano to have surgery, is ‘done for the season’ 15
- PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker 29
- Ducks get their veteran d-man, adding Wisniewski from Columbus 11
- Lovejoy returns to Pittsburgh for Despres 48
- Wild get Stewart as Buffalo-to-Minnesota pipeline continues 44
- Jordan Leopold’s daughter may have orchestrated the Minnesota trade 17
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils 65
- Can the Wings and Leafs work out a deal for Phaneuf? 46
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- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (69)