Denis Potvin may have Bruce Boudreau to thank. The former Islander will no longer be the Garden whipping boy for at least one game.
The boisterous coach of the Washington Capitals came out firing today when he ripped Madison Square Garden and its fans on the Kirk McEwen and Mike O’Meara Show in 105.9 The Edge in Washington.
“Well, the one thing, its reputation is far better than the actual building,” the coach said. “I mean, it’s nothing. The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There’s no room for anything. But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building’s a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it’s not that loud in there.”
I don’t know what game Boudreau was watching but it was pretty loud at the Garden and – with all due respect to the Capitals, but the low ceiling at the Garden keeps the noise down , making it louder.
Now, I have never seen a game at the Verizon Center, but I have been to arenas in Philly, Boston and Buffalo – ones that were built at the same time, and there is no way they can be as loud as the Garden, just due to the lack of a low ceiling which makes the noise dissipate.
As for the locker rooms and benches, well there is a reason why the 43 year-old building is going through a major renovation, all of which will be resolved in the next few years.
More importantly, though, what is Boudreau trying to prove? His comments are only going to invite criticism in New York, make the fans hatred focused on the Capitals and frankly give the Rangers a boost.
Almost all of the Rangers – with the exceptions of Chris Drury and Matt Gilroy – are not from the New York area and they won’t care if you insult the arena, but now anything the Capitals do in Game 4 to remove the crowd from the game will be erased, since the fans will be into the game for the whole 60 minutes.
Two years ago, Rangers coach John Tortorella proved a series can turn on the unfortunate actions of a coach. When he threw a water bottle at a fan in Game 5 at Washington, the tide turned. The Rangers proceeded to lose the next three games after leading 3-1 and ultimately the series.
This year it is Boudreau’s mouth that’s getting him into trouble. If the Rangers win Game 4, they will have full momentum to going back to Washington. And with possibly the best goaltender in the playoffs, the Rangers have a chance to steal Game 5 and come home to take the series in 6.
That’s what happens when you throw gas on the fire.
Today, to their credit, the Rangers said nothing to further flame Boudreau’s comments. In fact, they seemed confused. “I don’t know what their coach is saying and I’m not worried about that,” the said Brian Boyle to reporters. “The building was rocking and we had a great time. It was a blast. The crowd was great.”
Added Tortorella to 1050 ESPN: “We haven’t really thought too much about locker rooms, how loud it is. I’m not even sure what he’s trying to say there. We’re just concerned with trying to be the best we can be and play the right way. Now, I will say the fans gave us a tremendous lift last night.”
And on Wednesday, the Garden Faithful will give the club a bigger boost, maybe even turning the tide in this first round series.