Now that a few days have passed since Washington coach Bruce Boudreau sat Alex Ovechkin in the final moments of a game Tuesday night against Anaheim, the coach said Friday morning the story didn't deserve the attention it received.
"There was no football, there was no basketball, there was nothing else going on," Boudreau said after the Capitals' morning skate in Raleigh. "So they made a big deal out of nothing."
The Capitals were trailing by a goal with 1:27 left in regulation when Boudreau called a timeout. He didn’t put Ovechkin on the ice then, nor did he do so with 1:02 left when there was another stoppage in play and he pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun for an extra attacker. Nicklas Backstrom wound up scoring the game-tying goal with 42 seconds left, as well as the winner in overtime.
"It's all about accountability, but it was way overblown," said Boudreau. "[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."
It's a tribute to him, and everything he's done and deserved is coming to fruition tonight with his jersey in the rafters. He's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And I said today, if he's not, take my stuff out. If he doesn't deserve to be in there first ballot, no one does. Except for (Wayne) Gretzky, I guess.
— Hockey Hall of Fame member Brett Hull on former teammate Mike Modano, whose No. 9 was retired by the Dallas Stars on Saturday