A few weeks ago, I received a promising email from my dad with the subject line reading, “An evening with Capitals coach Boudreau,” inviting my dad to a sort of reception with the Caps coach. It seemed like neat opportunity, and before I could start to get jealous of my dad’s invitation, I read the email, saying that my dad could not attend, and would I want to go (with my mom) in his place. The email simply stated:
In an ongoing effort to educate, enlighten and inform:
You are cordially invited to a reception with
Capitals Head Coach, Bruce Boudreau
Monday, March 28th
It was a simple invitation. No frills about that message, and as I discussed this mysterious event with my mom, I couldn’t help but wonder what was in store for us…
Yesterday evening my mom and I made our way to the assuming office building in downtown D.C. for our evening with the Caps head coach. We were led (by the presenter, no less) to the conference room, which had something like five long rows of seats in a wide conference room. A podium was at the front. There was a break room in the back which we decided to explore, since we had gotten there plenty early. There was an impressive spread of chicken wings, mini meatballs, mini spinach filled pastries, tomato and mozzarella skewers, chips and salsa, cupcakes, and beverages which included wine and beer – all free, mind you. My mom and I helped ourselves and mingled with a family we knew there. After a while, Bruce, the man himself, walked into the food and people-filled room and mingled with some of the guests.
Eventually we were beckoned back to the conference room to hear Bruce speak. The man who we initially met who showed my mom and I in, was the presenter and introduced Bruce, saying the one thing that is probably the worst to say to a bunch of Caps fans; that he was a Penguins fan. (How dare he!) He then proceeded to accidentally mis-say Boudreau’s name as “Brodeur,” the New Jersey net-minder. Talk about a repeated faux pas offender! Anyways, Bruce went on shortly thereafter and quickly had the audience of maybe 80 people in stitches.
The overall night was very memorable. We learned the backstory of how Matt Hendricks came to play on the Capitals. [Many years in the minor league, which led to a call up to Colorado, followed by a faulty contract, Caps training camp, and finally, the offer Hendricks had been waiting for.] We heard Bruce discuss the challenge of having young players (such as Ovechkin and Backstrom) try to lead older, more experienced players (like Arnott, Hannan, and Knuble). Bruce joked about having to work with the “Russian Mafia” within the team, saying how Semin can feign not knowing any English during practice and interviews, being quite a handful to manage, but when Ovechkin or another buddy mentions going out to the clubs to check out the ladies, Semin speaks in perfect English. (Who knew?!) Probably the most entertaining, were Bruce’s recollections of HBO’s filming for the show, “24/7.” Below is a video I took of one of Bruce’s many laughable stories:
Bruce also shared some anecdotes about coaching and some interesting insider information about the team, the players, the playoffs, and who was secretly healthy on the team, making sure to add, “don’t go Tweeting about this, it’s under the radar.” Nice. There was also an amusing Q&A session to follow. Below are some notable quotes from the night:
“I need to drink a lot when we talk about [this year’s] power play.” -Funny, sad, and true.
“The half-visor should become mandatory.” -Discussing players’ helmets and protection.
“You can’t yell at them! They’re like police! …They’re nice when you’re nice to them.” -Talking about faulty referees, and how to work with them.
“When he’s good, he’s really good. When he’s bad, he’s… really bad. He’s like me.” -About Matthieu Perrault.
“You live with the frustrations of super stars.” -Which, besides from just being a great quote, is specifically about working with Alexander Semin, among others.
“A kick in the ass in only six inches away from a pat on the back.” -Another fabulous quote.
After Bruce finished speaking, my mom and I rushed over to him to pitch him an idea my mom has had for quite some time to write a childrens’ book about the Caps. While we only had about a minute to hold Bruce’s attention before we were swarmed with other fans, we did successfully give a media person who was escorting Bruce around, my mom’s resume, so fingers crossed, something will become of that. Aside from our brief brush with Boudreau, we very much enjoyed watching the captivating coach’s night in the spotlight. What a fantastic experience!