2011-2012 NHL Previews: Washington Capitals Still Unsure About Goalie Situation, Banking on Alex Ovechkin Having Monster Season

October 4, 2011 – 6:15 am by Steven Cuce

The Washington Capitals went 3-3-1 in the preseason and are set for the new 2011-2012 NHL season as they try to put yet another disappointing postseason showing last year behind them. One of the primary question marks surrounding the Capitals is whether Tomas Vokoun or Michal Neuvirth gives the team the best shot to win from the goaltender position. The Capitals were hampered by inconsistent play between the pipes, and George McPhee looks to have solved that problem for coach Bruce Boudreau by bringing in Tomas Vokoun. The Capitals will always be a legitimate threat with the Russian assassin, Alexander Ovechkin, on the ice as Washington opens up the 2011 regular season against the Carolina Hurricanes this Saturday.

Bruce Boudreau joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Hockey Central to discuss Alexander Ovechkin being in better shape this year, Alexander Ovechkin needing to score 50 goals in order for the Capitals to succeed this season, his impressions of Tomas Vokoun, Alexander Ovechkin changing his approach with the new rule changes in hockey and teaching his players different methods of checking with the new rule changes.

Is Alexander Ovechkin in better shape this year? Is that possible?

“In a way. A lot is made out of his condition. He is in great condition. I am not saying that just because it is Alexander Ovechkin. He came in at 229 pounds and 10 % body fat and lean and ready to go. He hasn’t had the numbers, but being in the wars in the preseason as a veteran that’s not when you put the great numbers together. He’s in great shape.”

Does Alexander Ovechkin have to score 50 goals for the Washington Capitals to have the year they want?

“I don’t know if he has to, but it sure would be nice if he did. I think we need him to be the big scorer.”

One player that will be playing with a chip on his shoulder has gotta be Tomas Vokoun. He is so grossly underpaid. What are your thoughts on Tomas Vokoun so far?

“You know he is [grossly underpaid]. I think George [McPhee] did a great job inquiring about him and getting him. We were lucky to get him. From what I have seen he is quick.  He hasn’t been fortunate enough in recent years to play on a really good team being in Florida taking nothing away from the rebuilding of Florida in the last 5 years. I think he is a world class goaltender. There’s no doubt about it. [Host: Is he looking at 60 starts if he does what you think he can do?] It’s hard to tell. I don’t think so. I think Michal Neuvirth is really good. When you put together numbers at the beginning of the year they never end up being exactly what you want. If this was before training camp and I said he played in 50 quality games then I would be happy.”

How much do you think Alexander Ovechkin has to change his approach with the new rule discipline?

“I don’t know. It is going to be very interesting once the season gets ramped up and the veteran players really start pushing themselves to see the hits come. There was an awful lot of suspensions in the preseason. There might be more coming in the regular season, but as far as Alex goes he’s very cognizant of what has been called, so I am sure he is ready for it.”

How do you approach these new rule changes as a head coach or do you just leave it alone? Do you teach it? Talk about it?

“We’ve shown the video. We talk about it. When guys are suspended we are showing the videos on why they are suspended and they are seeing what is taking place, so hopefully they are learning from it. I’m certainly not going to teach how to hit because I got one hit in 17 years, so that’s not going to come from me.”

Listen to Bruce Boudreau on The Fan 590 in Toronto here

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