Earlier this week, the news came out of the nation's capital that Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals since November of 2007 had been fired. Instantly, reports flowed in that his firing was in large part due to Alexander Ovechkin's unhappiness with his own performance as well as with Bruce Boudreau himself.
Bloggers and columnists alike pin the firing of Boudreau of Ovechkin himself. Is this fair? It is most certainly justified. However, NHL fans MUST look past the drama between an elite player and his coach and look into the logistics behind the decision by George McPhee to relieve Boudreau of his duties as head coach.
The caps have ripped four straight southeast division titles and two presidents trophies since 2007. However, the team of tremendous talent ranging from ovi to Semin and Backstrom to Mike Green on the blue line. Boudreau's team seemed to solve their biggest issue over the offseason by acquiring veteran goaltender Thomas Vokun. However, the caps have now lost 11 of their last sixteen games after beginning the season with fourteen points in eight games.
There is no question there has been tension between the stars in Washington and their coach as he has benched Ovechkin and Backstrom in crucial situations. It is understood why people jump on the bandwagon that Ovechkin got his coach fired following Ovi's statements over the last few weeks. However, one must also look to the now jobless Boudreau. With the talent he has had over the last four years, Boudreau has never led his team past the second round of the playoffs and have exited in the first round twice.
Things continued to snowball as the Caps plummeted from the top of the east to now out of the top 8. I am not doubting that if Ovechkin asked for Boudreau to stay, he would have but I believe that regardless of the issues between the Ovi and his coach, this firing was inevitable. It should have happened after a second round loss to the Lightning last year and the tremendous slump the Caps find themselves in sealed his fate.
It is easy to blame someone who has spoken out against his coach, especially when he is such a high-caliber player. However, you must look past Ovechkin. Boudreau has not produced in Washington and it was finally time to get the franchise moving in a different direction again.