Boudreau has 'no clue' on report; Price, Varlamov get net nods

April, 21, 2010

MONTREAL -- Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday he knew nothing about a Sports Illustrated story that takes the NHL to task for its handling of an investigation into a possible link between the Capitals and a chiropractor, David Nagel, who is charged with illegally distributing steroids.

The story challenges the assertion by the league that it thoroughly investigated whether there was a link between the Caps and the doctor.

The NHL had no comment Wednesday, although sources said the league believes the magazine piece is a "nonstory."

Boudreau, addressing the media after the team's morning skate in advance of Game 4 of its Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, said he and his players were involved in in-depth interviews with police about the doctor.

"I have no idea, quite frankly, what the NHL did," Boudreau said. "I know the police interviewed a lot of our players, including me, and it was pretty in-depth. I didn't think at any time that they were worried about us. They were worried about trying to find out stuff on the guy that was supposed to have been dealing these things. I don't know anything else about the story. I'd love to tell you, but I've no clue."

Who's in, who's out

The Montreal Canadiens, as expected, will go with Carey Price in goal Wednesday night as they try to avoid a 3-1 series deficit.

But the Canadiens' task may be made more difficult if defenseman Jaroslav Spacek cannot play. One of the steadiest of Montreal defenders in this series, Spacek did not skate Tuesday and was not on the ice for the morning skate Wednesday. Coach Jacques Martin said Wednesday morning Spacek will be game-time decision.

Big defenseman Ryan O'Byrne (6-foot-5, 234 pounds) will be in the lineup for the first time in the series regardless of whether Spacek can go or not.

Price, who played in just two of the last 15 regular-season games, came on in relief of Jaroslav Halak in the second period of Game 3. He allowed two goals on 23 shots. He is physically bigger than Halak and, according to Boudreau, a better puck-handler. He may also be less prone to being bumped around by the Capitals, who have been aggressive about driving the net and creating traffic in front of the goal.

"That kind of stuff doesn't faze him," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said Wednesday morning. "I think he's a big, strong kid. He's not going to get pushed back in his net and he'll fight through those things."

Gorges also praised how Price has handled losing the starting job to Halak.

"It's definitely not easy. It's not easy for any player to sit out and not play," Gorges said. "You want to be out there, you want to be contributing, but he's matured in his time here. He's learned how to deal with adversity, he's learned how to deal with a lot of situations. I think that's made him a better person. It's made him a better hockey player. Like I said, he's a true professional."

One element O'Byrne hopes to bring is a physical style of play that may help clear space in front of the Canadiens' net.

"They've been playing hard. They've been crashing the net. That's playoff hockey, though," O'Byrne said. "It's my job to play tough and play strong and make sure that doesn't happen."

Does he worry about getting too excited by his first taste of playoff hockey this spring?

"Being a defenseman, you've got to pick your spots for sure," said O'Byrne, who played in 55 regular-season games, averaging 15:15 in ice time a night. "You can't run around out there, especially against a team like Washington. They'll take advantage of those mistakes. Obviously, it's a pivotal game and I'm just excited to be back in there."

Boudreau said he would go with the same lineup he used in Game 3, which means Semyon Varlamov will start his second straight game in goal for the Capitals.

Ovechkin upset over Dynamo news

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin lamented over the news coming out of Russia that fabled HC Dynamo Moscow would cease to exist after this season.

"Well, it's probably the same thing to Russia as Montreal is here. It's a history team, a great organization, and I can't believe there is going to be no more Dynamo. It's pretty bad," Ovechkin said of the decision to merge the club with another team for financial reasons.

The news hit home for Ovechkin, who played for the club before coming to the NHL.

"Growing up, I played for this club and I know all the people who work there," Ovechkin said. "But I hope it's not the worst, that it's not going to be like what they say."

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer



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