Our friends at Versus gave us a wonderful hockey game Tuesday night. Washington’s action-packed 5-4 overtime victory over Anaheim was fun to watch.
As a bonus, we got some more drama from the Capitals: Coach Bruce Boudreau benched Alexander Ovechkin at the end of regulation play as his team was trying to tie the game.
That got Alex’s attention. He got busy in overtime and contributed to the game-winning goal.
Afterward, Boudreau explained why he sent out mucking forwards Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward along with Nicklas Backstrom to play six-on-five with goaltender Tomas Vokoun pulled in the final minute.
“I thought other guys were better than him and I thought there was just a chance that other guys might score the goal,” Boudreau told reporters. “I’ve got to put out the guys that I think are going to score the goal and 99 percent of the time Alex is the guy I think is going to score the goal.
“I just didn’t think Alex was going to score the goal at that time tonight. You go with your gut feeling, thinking that line is going pretty good and I got lucky.”
Ovechkin was most unhappy with that the decision at the time and expressed himself on the bench, insulting Boudreau in the process.
The star winger addressed the matter diplomatically in his past-game chat with Versus: “Brooks Laich line play unbelievable. They dominate them. Again they deserved to be there when important moments coming.”
But Alex did not make himself available to the D.C. media after the game, so we’ll have to use our imaginations to determine whether he really cooled down.
Meanwhile, former NHL despot Mike Keenan was applauding Boudreau’s stand during a Versus panel discussion:
“When is a teacher a great teacher? When the student is ready to learn. In this case Alex Ovechkin has to show a lot more respect to his coaching staff and to his team. There's a response here that's not a positive response. I give Bruce Boudreau a lot of credit for making this decision. He's delivering a message to the star player and his team. That kind of behavior on the ice is not acceptable: Details have to be looked at if we're going to be a championship team.
“This is a great night. It took a lot of courage for bruce to do that. A lot of people will question if he had the courage to make that call – he did. The response was great. Eventually his top player came out and responded and made a great assist.”
If Iron Mike were running the Capitals, he would torment Alex for a week or two and then trade him for several hulking muckers.
But Keenan is not in charge, so the drama will drag on for a while in Washington.