So the Rangers got back in their first round series against the Washington Capitals with a 3-2 win yesterday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and today Washington's coach Bruce Boudreau decided it would be a great idea to go on a DC radio station and tell everyone how he really feels about the Garden:
"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."
What a surprise, a man of Boudreau's girth complaining that the locker room and benches are too small. I'm surprised he didn't complain about how the narrow concourses prevent him from getting to the food court during intermissions or that the cotton candy vendors never make it below the 200 level.
What's really funny, though, is that Boudreau has the nerve to knock Rangers fans for not being as loud as the red-shirted buffoons in DC. First, let me say that I spent an entire season at Verizon (formerly MCI) Center covering the Capitals on a professional level, and clearly Boudreau didn't make many trips to the arena while he was coaching the Capitals' minor league affiliate in Hershey, PA, because if he had he would have noticed that there were about 7500 fans in the building on most nights.
In fact, the only time the arena actually got loud was when the Rangers, Penguins or Flyers were in town and the place was full of opposing fans who would make all the noise. Otherwise, it was one fat guy in the upper level with a plastic horn and about 12,000 empty seats.
Of course, the Capitals got much better in subsequent years, and all of the sudden their arena is packed with "hardcore" fans who suddenly (and conveniently) realized there was a hockey team in town.
As for the relative noise level, any advantage held by the Verizon Center is due entirely to their PA announcer, who spends the entire game shouting into the microphone and directing fans to specific cheering instructions on the jumbotron at center ice.
For the record, the Garden on a Sunday afternoon is a LITTLE bit different than the Garden for a night game, and a suspect Boudreau's comments will inspire those in attendance tomorrow night to prove him wrong.