'Raw' antics shadowing pivotal game
Name calling. Cheap shots. Eye gouging. Spitting. Biting. Suspensions. Phony suspensions. Was Bruce Boudreau conducting an interview on WWE's "Monday Night Raw"? "I would be a good wrestler to interview," the Washington Capitals' coach said. I think of Boudreau more in the manager's role - a Bobby "The Brain" Heenan type of character. There wasn't much talk about hockey the day before Game 7 of the Caps-New York Rangers Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The talk was more about who bit whom, who was suspended and who wasn't in the wake of Game 6 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, which, according to the Rangers, was a crime scene. An ESPN "SportsCenter" report surfaced Monday morning claiming that two Caps players - Donald Brashear and Mike Green - would be suspended by the NHL for Game 7 for their actions in Game 6 in New York. Brashear was no surprise. He bumped Rangers enforcer Colton Orr in the pregame warmups, and his hit on Blair Betts in the first period sent Betts to the locker room. But why would Green be suspended? Bad hair? Turns out the report on ESPN about Green - the network mistakenly attributed it to The Washington Post - was wrong, the result of a crank call. "My buddy called me this morning and asked me why I wasn't playing in Game 7," Green said after practice Monday. "It scared me a little bit when I was on my way to the rink. But I guess it was a mistake." Meanwhile, Rangers stand-in Jim Schoenfeld - he subbed in Game 6 for coach John Tortorella, who was suspended after striking a Caps fan with a thrown water bottle during Game 5 at Verizon Center - called Brashear's hit on Betts "vicious." It is not clear whether Tortorella, who had a run-in with a New York hockey writer during his press conference Monday, will summon the courage to appear again behind the bench for Game 7. The Rangers demanded beefed-up security for Tuesday's game. Talk about home-ice advantage - Caps fans are in the Rangers' heads. Schoenfeld also claimed Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn bit Brandon Dubinsky during a skirmish in Game 6 - Schoenfeld said the Rangers center needed a tetanus shot after the incident. Morrisonn pleaded innocent. "I am just getting ready to play Game 7," Morrisonn said. "I didn't do it, so I am not really worried about it. I don't know what to say. I didn't do that. I am just getting ready to play Game 7." Bruce "The Brain" Boudreau didn't take kindly to the biting allegation. "I get so ticked off when I hear that," he said. "Shaone doesn't know what the heck they are talking about, and I don't either. I looked at it from every different angle, and I didn't see a thing. To me, it's a moot point, and let's move on. He steadfastly denied doing anything, and he's angry." Morrisonn was coming to the aid of Green when the incident supposedly occurred. "I am not sure what that was all about," Green said. "I've seen Shaone's eye. There is definitely a gouge there, a poke or something. I was lying on the ground, so I didn't see it." Anything about hockey or how the Caps came back from a 3-1 deficit to even the series? "Hockey and sports is strange," Bruce "The Brain" Boudreau said. "Sometimes great shots don't go in, and sometimes shots that shouldn't go in, go in. I think we got lucky on a couple, Matt Bradley a couple of games ago. Other times we made good plays. In the first four games nothing went in, and in the last couple of games they started to go in." And sometimes, all the biting, gouging, punching, bottle tossing and name calling don't matter - like in a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup playoff series. Often, it is greatness that determines the outcome of such contests. Wednesday morning, people will be talking about Alex Ovechkin, how he cut through all the WWE debris and put on a performance worthy of the best player on the planet to win Game 7. "If we win, we go forward," Ovechkin said. "If we lose, we go back. The opportunity that we have right now, it's huge. We just have to beat them again.