Friday, December 31, 2010

Washington Coach Bruce Boudreau Speaks After Friday's Winter Classic Practice

Q. The players always talk about the quality of the surface not being up to their expectations or standards. What did you think of the surface of today's practice?

COACH BOUDREAU: We caught a lot of the sun. So, I mean, sun melts the ice, so it was obviously softer. I anticipate it being better tomorrow.

Q. Follow up to that, there's going to be a lot of rain on the surface no matter what between now and the time you play. Is there a danger of risk of injury or things like that? Do you worry about that?

COACH BOUDREAU: You know what, they tell me there's a risk, but I don't know of too many hockey guys that have played in the rain before. So I don't really know if there's ? I would assume the ice will bevel and bump up and everything.

But it's the same for both teams, the same risks for both teams. So if it was gravel, it wouldn't matter, you know.

Q. There's so much in this rivalry discussed here about match?ups, but there's one on the coaches, too. And you guys go back a ways. What's it like coaching against Dan?

COACH BOUDREAU: Well, I mean, he's a smart individual, so it's tough to outthink him. But he's also got a tremendous work ethic. And I know that from being in the LA organization with him and coaching him for three games.

It's not easy, because he does his homework, and he's got the respect of all the players. So you know they're going to go full out for him all the time.

So if we get lucky, we get lucky. But it's a challenge.

Q. Ovechkin's had goals now in back?to?back games. To whatever extent his scoring touch has gone away, do you feel like it's back?

COACH BOUDREAU: I don't know. I think his scoring touch will come when our power play starts to click the way it's supposed to. I think at this time last year we probably hit close to 25 goals more in the power play, and he probably had 10 to 12. And right now he has two.

So you just add 10 more on to his 14, and all of a sudden he's not up to the numbers of the other two guys, but at the same time, he's more up to the numbers of what he's used to. So I think once the power play starts going, his points will start getting up there.

Q. What's the atmosphere like for you?

COACH BOUDREAU: It's pretty tremendous today. I mean, I've been pretty calm about the whole thing. And the HBO thing has been really great. But we're getting used to them because they're around all the time, so you take it as a normalcy.

But when you walked in here today and you saw thousands of people in the stands and you look at the enormity of the building and you go: Wow, this is going to be a real cool event.

So it's really ramping up today. We're thinking in the room, you know, when they have the Super Bowl and they've got a week of this before the buildup, I can't imagine. So this is pretty good.

Q. If the game's in prime time, would that make it even bigger than it already is?

COACH BOUDREAU: I don't know if it would be bigger. I'm sure the NHL has done a lot of studies on what the best time of the day would be to have it.

I mean, as far as us, as players and coaches, I don't care if they play at midnight. Let's get it going.

Q. From coach's perspective how hard is it to focus, just a regular season game?

COACH BOUDREAU: In the end it's about two points. But let's not make a mistake. We're all people that want the game of hockey to grow, and this is a big deal. To be part of this is very lucky, and in five years you're going to sit back and whether you're ever in one of these things again, it's going to be a great thing.

If we can help build hockey in the U.S. and in Canada and all over the world by putting on a great show for these people, it's more than two points. It's worth a lot more.

Q. Have you decided on a goaltender yet?

COACH BOUDREAU: Yep. (Laughter).

Q. What memories does this bring back for you growing up and what memories will you take away from this game the most?

COACH BOUDREAU: Well, the one memory that it doesn't bring back is every time I played outdoors ?? and I'm old enough to have started in outdoor rinks all over the place ?? is your feet aren't frozen stiff when you get back in, because it was pretty hot out there. I don't know what the temperature got to today, but it had to be 60 degrees at least at some point.

But you take back all those times when you come in off the rink, when you're growing up, and your cheeks are red, and your dad is rubbing your feet just to get the feeling back in your feet, and you're not worried about your feet freezing. You're wanting them to warm up so you can go back on the ice. The skates are all leather, so they were soaked through and through, but it didn't matter. You just put on a couple other pairs of socks and went out.

And playing in the outdoors, that's what I think of when I'm thinking those things.

Q. Want to play more outdoors more often, then, doing this a couple days this week?

COACH BOUDREAU: You know what, let's start with one and see how we succeed. I'm sort of superstitious in a couple of ways, so we'll see it. I think it's fun.

It will be different getting used to because the crowd's not as close to you, but I'm sure they'll be making lots of noise.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

No comments: