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Craig Laughlin Defends Bruce Boudreau, Calls For Roster Changes

CSN color analyst Craig Laughlin is as passionate as anyone when it comes to the Washington Capitals, and that passion showed in a radio appearance on The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Thursday morning. Laughlin adamently defended coach Bruce Boudreau and all but suggested that several of the team's players should not be on the roster next year.

"I would not [fire Bruce Boudreau]," Laughlin said I put the blame wholeheartedly on the players and their lack of performance."

Laughlin said that he doesn't think firing Boudreau is a "solution," and instead said the solution is to get different players. When asked which players he would keep and which players he thinks should go, he didn't mince words naming names.

"Up front, you keep [Nicklas] Backstrom. You keep [Alex] Ovechkin. You keep [Mike] Knuble, who is signed next year. You have a fourth line of, say, Jay Beagle, [Matt] Hendricks and [Boyd] Gordon. Unfortunately, Matt Bradley is a wonderful guy, but he's unrestricted. You got [Scott] Hannan, who is unrestricted, and I'm not sure they're going to bring him back. You got Jason Arnott, who they won't bring back."

"You go down through the roser, and there are going to be five or six spots to fill in. Are they going to have to make some deals? Absolutely. They have to deal a goaltender, they have to deal a defensemen and they have to deal one high-end forward, which I think would be Alexander Semin. If they do that, they should get enough back to have a legitimate chance next year."

But Laughlin's criticism didn't stop with those players. He said Ovechkin is a guy who likes to "free-wheel" all by himself, said Backstrom was one of the "biggest disappointments" this season and was incredulous about how the team lost.

I am so upset with the way they went down. Come on, at least fight. At least drop the gloves. At least two-hand somebody. At least do this that or the other and not get swept. Getting swept is, to be, unacceptable. You should never get swept, especially if you're the number one seed."

Laughlin said this season was twice as disappointing as last season, when they lost to Montreal in the first round, and closed with this thought.

"Your star players must be stars. I think it stems directly from that, and I'm putting the blame directly on those guys to have to be the stars and leaders of this team. That's the only way you'll win in the playoffs."