The Washington Times - January 14, 2009, 12:07PM

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was in a cranky mood this morning — probably the most unhappy he’s been in any non-post game situation we’ve seen him in. He said there will be changes to the lineup tonight, but did not want to elaborate.

Bryan Helmer is here, so that is probably one of them. Who he might replace in the lineup is a mystery, but if I had a guess, it might be Karl Alzner but that’s just speculation.

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Boudreau said Eric Fehr might play tonight as well, which could be expected considering the team’s general lack of grit/work ethic up front and that is something they can probably count on from him.

Boudreau was mum on who his starting goaltender will be, but Brent Johnson said he is not playing tonight.

I think that about wraps things up from here at Mellon Arena … oh wait, there are those juicy subplots that everyone was asking about. Alex Ovechkin tried to downplay his rivalry with Evgeni Malkin saying that iwas a media-driven thing [NOTE: He’s right about the “rivalry” with Crosby, but the feud with Malkin — not so much]. That isn’t going to stop anyone from writing about it. Or other people from talking about it.

“As long as it is fair, but when it is vicious that’s another story,” Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. “I thought Ovechkin — he is one of the best players in the league — and there was some vicious hits on Geno [Malkin]. Certainly you don’t want to see any players get hurt. Anytime there is vicious hits, there might be consequences but the players have to stick up for themselves and stick up for their teams.

“Obviously, Malkin is a very important player just as Ovechkin is for them.I’m not quite sure what happened between those two, but this is something that is pretty unique that you don’t see much of regarding two star players like this. They are important players for the NHL and you certainly don’t want to see any injuries.”

As for Therrien’s thoughts on Alexander Semin’s comments about Sidney Crosby: “I’m not going to comment on Semin’s comments. As far as I am concerned that was ridiculous.”