Wednesday morning the Capitals announced details about their rookie game with the Flyers (it’ll be Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center in Philly). But then Matt Bradley did a radio interview in Ottawa on Team 1200 - and that became the big story.
In the interview, which you can listen to in its entirety here, Bradley tries to explain what happened to the Caps in the playoffs and criticized Alexander Semin by name.
Here’s the word-for-word transcription of Bradley’s comments from the point where he’s asked about the early playoff exits:
Why haven’t the Caps been able to break through in the playoffs?
“I don’t have a definite answer. There’s reasons why. I think we had some guys that didn’t show up in playoffs, and I’ll leave them unnamed. I think our locker room was maybe a little too nonchalant and guys weren’t disciplined the way they should’ve been. Those two things are big things, and I’d say that’s about it because I think I heard you guys saying we had a lot of guys that played hard and played well and it seemed that sometimes the guys that weren’t playing well were the ones getting rewarded with ice time. Which In the playoffs I don’t think it matters who you are – it’s who’s playing well for you at the time. That’s not always what happened with our team – it wasn’t the guys that were playing well at the time, it was the guys that were our best players for the most part that were playing no matter what.”
Discipline problems, without naming names
“It wasn’t like guys were going out the night before a game or stuff like that, but it was just not being ready to practice or missing practice with questionable injuries – that kind of thing. And not being focused, those kind of things. I don’t mind saying a guy like Alexander Semin’s name because he’s one guy who has so much talent he could easily be the best player in the league and just for whatever reason just doesn’t care. When you get a guy like that, you need him to be one of your best players and when he doesn’t show up, you almost get the sense like he wants to be back in Russia. That’s tough to win when you got a guy like that who’s supposed to be your best player not being one of your best players.”
Devastating effect of one guy?
“For sure. The way I look at it, in the playoffs you’re gonna have guys who play well in the playoffs and guys who don’t, so in my opinion you should kinda run with the guys that are playing well, and I don’t think we always did that there, which for whatever reason I don’t know. If it’s a guy like Jason Chimera who’s maybe your third-line guy playing well, I think you should play him more if one of the top two-line guys aren’t playing well.”
Are you saying you would’ve liked to see more merit-based ice time in playoffs from Bruce Boudreau?
“Yeah. I’m not talking about myself at all here. There was a lot of guys who played well that didn’t probably play as much as they needed to. And I love Bruce. Bruce is a great coach, and he was in a very tough position there because in Washington our top guys are definitely the stars and the guys that people wanna see on the ice. I totally understand. That doesn’t just happen on our team, it happens on a lot of teams, too. When you’re paying your top guys a lot of money and those guys carry you through the whole season and if one of them isn’t going, it’s very hard not to play them and I understand that that’s tough. But I think in the end if you wanna learn, sometimes you gotta sit some of those guys down and maybe send a message and try to get them going.”
Is Alex Ovechkin all-in for winning a Cup, or does he have growing and maturing to do?
“I never worry about Ovi. He’s all-in guy. He’s young, he makes his mistakes – the same as anyone would. I often try to put myself in his position. You gotta remember, he’s 25 years old, he’s got a guaranteed $120 million, he’s on top of the world and he still, for the most part, makes the right decisions. I don’t worry about him; I don’t worry about most of the guys on that team, and that’s why I think in the end they’ll do well. Like you said, Ovi has some growing up to do as far as taking care of himself and things like that. But as far as his want to win, he really does just wanna win the games and he doesn’t care if he scores or not. That isn’t an act. He’s a great guy, great player, and I would never say anything bad about him.”