Team “C” had a chance to wrap up the Duchesne Cup today, but Boyd Gordon had the decisive goal in an extended shootout and Team “A” prevailed.
Keith Aucoin and Matt Bradley scored in regulation for Team C. Alex Ovechkin potted his first shot of the year for one of Team A’s two goals. Michal Neuvirth and Jose Theodore were both solid in net. Neuvirth had to defend a 5-on-3 in the third period and stopped Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Kunble in the shootout.
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned Aucoin (two goals and a shootout tally in two games), the goalies and Karl Alzner/John Carlson as guys who stood out to him.
He also raved about Nicklas Backstrom’s passing ability (expect to hear phrashes “appreciate the subtleties” when hockey people are extolling Backstrom’s virtues about 4,995 times in the next 15 years). As for the play of the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble superline:
“They were fine, but I don’t think the pace was anywhere near where it should be,” Boudreau said. “They’re just good players and they were getting by on being good players.”
Check out the paper tomorrow for a story on Karl Alzner. It is by no means a slam dunk that’s he on the roster for the trip to Boston on Oct. 1. Boudreau made a couple of great boxing analogies when referencing Alzner, Carlson, Tyler Sloan and Sean Collins trying to make a blue line that is already seven vets deep.
“I liken it to a championship fight,” Boudreau said. “When you come to the 15th round, you either knock him out or you go to a decision. If you go to a decision, it is usually the champ who gets the call.”
“We look at the seven guys as incumbents, if you will, and you look at, Carlson, Alzner, Tyler Sloan, Sean Collins and Patrick McNeil has improved a tremendous amount from the first year — those are 12 solid defensemen. Eleven of them have played in the NHL. I think they could all make the team and play in the NHL, but whether or not they play for our team this year or not, I don’t know.”