The new Director of Broadcasting for the Washington Capitals, John Walton, has spent quite a lot of time with Caps' bench boss Bruce Boudreau over the years, and witnessed first-hand a dramatic rise in the fortunes of the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears, and not too many lows, under Gabby's command of the Bears. Given his unique perspective, we asked John on our latest episode of Japers' Rink Radio about Boudreau's reputation as a "players' coach" (and specifically whether he might be "too chummy" with the team), his ability to make adjustments at the highest level and, ultimately, whether he can be the coach to deliver a championship to Washington, and not just "set the table."
His thoughts on Boudreau's system tinkering from our chat last Saturday:
The one thing that Bruce Boudreau is so good at, in my mind, are the adjustments to the game. Coaching is, at its core, it's communication. [In reference to the switch to a more defensively-focused system last December], that's a difficult thing to do midstream . . . a lot of people at the NHL level that I talked to last year say 'It's amazing to see a team change that much when it didn't involve a coaching change.' That was a quote that I heard from a number of people, and I think that speaks to Bruce's strength about being able to communicate with his players about what he wants to see.
On many Caps' players redoubling their summer workout efforts:
You just have a feeling in the air that says, 'Ok, last year was disappointing and the year before didn't go the way we wanted,' but you see guys ramping up already. It's funny, we talked at the opening of the interview today about, 'Hey it's hockey in August,' and maybe for some people, they're not quite thinking in hockey terms yet. But the principals in play here are.
Listen to our entire interview with the new play-by-play voice of your Capitals for his thoughts on these questions, which of the Caps' two young goalies he prefers, Mathieu Perreault's future, and much more here.