There are times when you just know that a comment will be used as inspiration.
This is one of those times. According to the Washington Post, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was on a DC-area radio station and he wasn’t happy with Madison Square Garden and its fans.
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.
Honestly, the Garden was not as loud yesterday as the arena in Washington was for Games 1 and 2. The Garden also does not have a ridiculous sound system, nor does it have fans who bring air horns or cowbells. But it was still pretty darn loud yesterday, and should be even louder on Wednesday now that New York fans will have something to prove. Consider the bear poked.
So has the bear been poked? Will the fans be louder? Should Boudreau be focusing on the Capitals play instead? Or is this all part of his plan?
The Rangers defeated the Capitals 3-2 on Sunday. Bruce Boudreau should probably be more concerned with coaching the Capitals to victory than the locker rooms or the crowd at MSG. On the surface it looks like the Capitals coach cares more about the crowd and the benches than he does the hockey game.
However, is Boudreau using this opportunity to deflect criticism from his team? Rather than critiquing the Capitals’ performance on Sunday, the media is now talking about Madison Square Garden and so are the fans. Boudreau has probably saved himself and his players from answering at least a few difficult questions by making the conversation about the building and not the action on the ice. Is Boudreau insulating his team here?
The Washington Capitals are rightly or wrongly labeled as a team that chokes. People have said that they can’t handle the pressure that comes with playoff hockey. Bruce Boudreau is likely trying to reduce some of that pressure by making the narrative about him and Madison Square Garden, not the fact that the series could be tied with a Rangers win in game four. Remember, the Capitals were up 2-0 before losing to Montreal last year. They were also up 2-0 before losing to Pittsburgh in 2009. Boudreau doesn’t want those comparisons being made right now, so he mouthed off about Rangers fans knowing that everyone will bite.
Rangers coach John Tortorella tried to bring the discussion back to hockey.
“We haven’t really thought too much about locker rooms, how loud it is… I’m not even sure what he’s trying to say there. We’re just concerned with trying to be the best we can be and play the right way. Now, I will say the fans gave us a tremendous lift last night. I’m hoping that we can get off to a good start and continue on our way. That’s our concentration. Nothing else around us is going to (deter) us from our focus, and that’s our next game.”
For the record, Tortorella has had his share of problems with the fans in Washington…
Now Rangers fans are vowing to be louder.
“I hope MSG decides to play the audio of Boudreau’s comments over the speakers before Wednesday’s game. We’ll show him what loud is,” says The Rangers Tribune.
If the fans were inspired by Boudreau’s words, it could make life a little more difficult for the Capitals on Wednesday night. If the Rangers themselves are inspired, it could be even worse.
Will Boudreau’s comments ease the pressure off of his team or will they inspire his opponents? We’ll have to wait and see.