The Washington Times - March 21, 2011, 12:56PM

Q: Why the decision to sit Alex for a while?

Bruce Boudreau: “Well he’s had some nagging injuries for a while now that have bothered him, and we’ve only had one game in six days, and so we thought this would be the best time to get completely healed up so by the time he starts playing again, he’ll be 100 percent healthy.”

SEE RELATED:


Q: You said injuries. Is it multiple things?

Boudreau: “OK – injury. He’s probably got more aches and pains than the normal guy ’cause he A. is a physical player and B. he gets hit more often. But he’s just sore.”

Q: Let’s go back to January when he was taking a lot of heat for his offensive production being down and all that stuff and there were a million theories – was that hard on him?

Boudreau: “Ask him. I don’t know. Well I can’t answer that. He’s pretty quiet. He’s a very proud person and he cares very much what happens to this hockey club. If he’s not playing well and the team’s not doing well, he’s probably taking it home with him.”

Q: Would you attribute some of maybe that slow start and slump earlier in the season to whatever’s been bothering him?

Boudreau: “Again, I don’t wanna make excuses for him, and Alex wouldn’t make excuses for himself. But I don’t know. It all could, or it may not. It depends how you guys wanna spin it.”

Q: His points have been up lately – he’s been playing really well lately but now that’s why it almost seems ironic that now he’s sitting down.”

Boudreau: “If you’ve also seen that he hasn’t practiced with the team in a while, too. He wants to feel better. He doesn’t like waking up every morning and feeling that he has to go through an hour of just doing stuff to get ready to practice or play. He wants to feel healthy. The playoffs are very important to him, and he wants to be at his best when we arrive there.”

Q: What’s he feeling?

Boudreau: “Sore. You guys are trying.”

Q: Does it have anything to do with the knee-on-knee hit in Detroit with Darren Helm?

Boudreau: “No.” (laughing it off)

Q: Has it been bothering him for a while Bruce?

Boudreau: Would you guys quit it? He’s sore. He’s gonna be maybe seven to 10 days, and that’ll be it.”

Q: Is there any concern level, Bruce, with so many good players out – Mike and Jason and Ovi – you got nine games now to get your lines rolling and get everything in order here, and you’re not gonna have some of these guys for a good portion of it.

Boudreau: “In a perfect world you’d love everybody to be healthy all the time. But I looked through every team’s lineup and every team has injuries of major players. You can look at the Rangers have got [Marc] Staal out and [Chris] Drury out. Pittsburgh’s got [Brooks] Orpik out, [Evgeni] Malkin out, [Sidney] Crosby out. Montreal off and on they’ve got all their defensemen out. For us to sit here and in a perfect world, we’d all be healthy. But it’s not, and that’s what playoffs are about and that’s what the end of the season is you sacrifice to get to where you can to be the highest seed that you can get. That’s what every team does, and as the games get more important, people pay the price a little bit more.”

Q: With the system you play now,  is it easier to lose players like Alex, is it easier to plug and play? It would’ve been devastating two years ago to lose this many top players in my opinion than it is now.

Boudreau: “Yeah I don’t know. I guess time will tell.”

Q: Did he fight you on this, or was this mutual?

Boudreau: “No, this is fine. There was no fighting on it.”

Q: If this was a playoff game, he’d be in there?

Boudreau: “I don’t know. Probably not.”

Q: Given how well all the lines were working together after the trading deadline and now you’re without Alex – does it force you to rearrange things more than you would like?

Boudreau: “Yeah. You’d like to get the lines set. But they’re not. I’d like to see what it’s like on a defense when you have [Mike] Green, [Dennis] Wideman, [John] Carlson on the right side. But it isn’t there yet, so we’ll just have to do whatever until it does get there.”

Q: Is there any update on Mike [Green]?

Boudreau: “None.”

Q: What about Eric [Fehr]?

Boudreau: “Eric is looking better, so I mean he’s day-to-day right now. He’s questionable for [Tuesday]. But I’ll venture to say that he’s gonna play on this trip of some sort.

Q: Any change on [Jason] Arnott’s status?

Boudreau: “He skated this morning and he felt good. It was a positive sign.”

Q: Doesn’t it say something about your team that they’re able to not only persevere but succeed with uncertainty?

Boudreau: “We’ve had to do it a lot. … We had almost 300 man games lost the previous two years, and we did succeed. I think it says a lot for our depth and a lot for the ability for somebody else to step up. Like I’ve said numerous times, when someone’s out, it gives somebody else a time – an opportunity to get 20 minutes a game, probably more than they’ve played a while. It’s up to them – short-term – to take advantage of it.”