Bruce Boudreau on Tuesday denied that he had a problem with Alex Ovechkin and said rumors of a rift between the Washington Capitals star and his now-former coach are overblown.
Boudreau, fired by the Caps on Monday and replaced by Dale Hunter, told ESPN.com's Scott Burnside that Ovechkin called him after the news of the firing. Boudreau said the two spoke for 15 minutes on Tuesday and that Ovechkin thanked his former coach for his time with the Capitals.
"And I told him I loved him and blah, blah, blah, all the regular stuff," Boudreau said.
Ovechkin is off to a slow start with just eight goals in 22 games, and Caps are struggling after a 7-0-0 start.
Boudreau dismissed the notion that the two were feuding.
"It's so far from the truth," he told Burnside. "We got along, I think, famously."
Ovechkin told The Washington Post on Monday he was "shocked" by Boudreau's firing.
"I have good relationship with him," Ovechkin told the paper. "We have good relationship right away when they bring him in."
Much of the perceived friction stems from a game a month ago when Boudreau kept Ovechkin on the bench late in a one-goal contest against Anaheim. After the Capitals tied the game with an extra attacker on the ice, Ovechkin was also on the bench when overtime started although he did provide the primary assist on the game-winning goal that night. At the time, television cameras appeared to capture an upset Ovechkin on the bench.
Boudreau said that one moment shouldn't define their relationship.
"People want to focus on the fact that I sat him out one shift," he said. "I don't have a problem, and never once did I think I have a problem with Alex liking me or not liking me."