The Rangers and Capitals have had several run-ins over the years, but their rivalry, such as it is, has never really reached the dimension of the blood feuds with the Islanders or Flyers.
Bruce Boudreau is doing his best to change that. The Caps coach wasn't talking about the performances of Brandon Dubinsky or Henrik Lundqvist on the day after his team lost a 3-2 game to keep the Rangers in the series.
No, Boudreau chose a different course of action. He went after Madison Square Garden and the Ranger diehards that fill the building during a radio interview with D.C.'s 105.9 helpfully transcribed by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.
"Well, the one thing, its reputation is far better than the actual building," Boudreau 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."
The first part isn't anything that will get much argument from the masses. Everyone's aware of the renovation taking place at MSG, not that too many Rangers fans would shed a tear to hear that the visiting locker rooms are horrible.
The latter part of Boudreau's little rant, though, is sure to find a home in the hearts of those that have been reminding Denis Potvin that he sucks since they were far too young to know who Denis Potvin was or why exactly he sucks. Rangers fans take a lot of pride in the way they impact games with their voices and spirit, so Boudreau's words are not going to be taken with much good humor.
You can nitpick the relative loudness of arenas all you want, especially when some places use artificial sweeteners to pump up the volume. Over the years, the Garden has sadly submitted to the cheap come-ons to fans but you won't hear air horns coming from the seats the way you do in some other arenas that play host to games in this series.
Sunday's game was certainly not as loud as the Garden can get. There was a nervousness in the building borne of the possibility that the Rangers could fall behind 3-0 with a loss in a game that was tied for a good chunk of the afternoon.
That won't be the case Wednesday night, especially not if the Rangers do what they should do and put Boudreau's quote up on the scoreboard just before the teams take the ice. Too much of the true old school has been forced out by price hikes over the years, but there's enough left to fire things up for a Game Four revival of the good old days.
Boudreau's decision to poke the tiger in the cage is a strange one, but it should make for a pretty memorable Wednesday night.