Here’s what Ducks general manager Bob Murray said about the Minnesota Wild’s hiring of Bruce Boudreau as their coach Saturday: “On behalf of the club, congratulations to Bruce and the Minnesota Wild. Although coaching changes are extremely difficult, we felt that Bruce could be back behind the bench quickly. Everyone in the organization is very pleased he’s getting another deserved opportunity.”
Well, that didn’t take long. Bruce Boudreau was named the Minnesota Wild’s new coach a little more than a week after the Ducks fired him after a fourth consecutive Pacific Division championship and a fourth straight Game 7 loss at Honda Center.
Darren Drager of TSN and Kevin Weekes of NHL Network each reported the news via Twitter on Saturday night and the Wild later confirmed the hiring. Boudreau was 208-104-40 with the Ducks. He also won four Southeast Division titles and was 201-88-40 with the Washington Capitals.
Boudreau also interviewed with the Ottawa Senators before coming to terms on a four-year contract with the Wild, as reported by the Star-Tribune newspaper. The team said via Twitter that Boudreau would be available to speak to reporters Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray said he would take his time in searching for Boudreau’s replacement. Here’s a link to my story last week about possible successors to Boudreau: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ducks-714129-coach-league.html
Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano on Saturday addressed the notion that the team’s core players, himself included, were more to blame for another Game 7 defeat than coach Bruce Boudreau. He spoke at length about that subject. Here’s some of what he said during his season-ending interview with reporters:
“Questions about the core are fair. We haven’t gotten the job done. We’ve made some good strides during the year. We showed character in coming back. There’s positives. But we haven’t done the job at the right time and rhythm when it really counts. I think…I’m not sure what the factors are. Bob (Murray, the Ducks’ GM) is right. This isn’t on Bruce. I think a lot of guys need to know where they’re at and figure out where we went wrong. A lot of them have been here for a while. I’m not just talking the captains.. Myself, Cam (Fowler), guys like Hampus (Lindholm) and Sami (Vatanen) aren’t young anymore..Not singling them out, but we’ve been here for a while now. We don’t have a lot of young guys in the lineup. Like i said, guys have to figure out where we’re gone wrong. Today’s a much different feeling leaving the rink. In those years there’s been a sense of hope. Today there’s zero feeling like that.”
Cogliano also spoke about not doing enough individually this season, but especially during the playoffs. Here’s more:
Ducks center Ryan Kesler talked Saturday about the firing of Bruce Boudreau as coach and why it happened and what responsibility the players played in his dismissal after a first-round playoff exit. Here’s more from Kesler on Boudreau:
“He’s a good man. He was a good coach, obviously. I think losing that Game 7 was, you know, the nail in the coffin. It’s obviously tough to see your coach fired. I think the onus goes on us. Yeah. It’s still too early to look back for me, just the whole way this season’s gone. It was a tough year. It was a tough year for everyone I think. The way we started to the way we start the playoffs, it just for whatever reason it didn’t come together like we hoped.”
Kesler also spoke about being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, as the NHL’s top defensive forward. Here’s more:
“It’s nice to get recognized. It’s a tribute to Bruce and him trusting me in those situations and throwing me out against the other team’s top line from Christmas on and giving me that challenge. He trusted me and I relished that. Obviously, it wasn’t just me out there, it was playing with ‘Silfver’ (Jakob Silfverberg) and ‘Cogs’ (Andrew Cogliano), those great linemates I had when you’ve got to shut down the other team’s top line. They were really defensively responsible. On the other side of the puck, they’re not too shabby as well.”
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf spoke to reporters for about 15 minutes Saturday during his season-ending interview. He talked about injuries, about the team’s turnaround after a 1-7-2 start to the season, about their Game 7 loss to the Nashville Predators and, of course, about the firing of Bruce Boudreau as coach. Here’s some of what he had to say:
On the team’s poor start: “It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly happened. I haven’t really been through such a turnaround like that during a season. I’ve been through a couple tough years now. Other than that, I haven’t been through anything that dramatic of a turn. The consistency is a matter of being together as a group every night and having a job to do and being excited to be there. I thought at times this year, we showed it. But at other times, we had trouble staying focused on what we needed to accomplish. And that, we’ll have to address as a group and with the group that we’re with next year.”
On shedding the reputation as a team that fails to win the big games: “That’s just it. The only way to erase them is to just do it. Whether we get the opportunity again to play in a Game 7, I will never know. Everyone calls it playoff trouble if you don’t win the Stanley Cup. There’s only one team at the end of the year that wins the Stanley Cup. There’s only been two teams that have done it basically in the last five years. Everybody else is basically in the exact same boat as us. Obviously, the Stanley Cup is our goal again. We want to get that Stanley Cup back here again, like we experienced as young players. In doing that, it is frustrating. It ticks me off. I’m a competitive person. I want to win, I want to be able to take this team to the next level and get the Stanley Cup again. I’ll work hard to try and do that again next year.”
On how much responsibility the Ducks players bear in the firing of Boudreau: “On how much do the players bear responsibility for firing: “Lots. I’ve only been part of one other coach getting fired and I felt the same way in that situation. Coaches can only do so much. They can only put so much on the ice. They have a responsibility like everybody else here. As do we. We have to absorb a lot of that, when you’re talking about going on the ice and playing and performing at the level that we should have been this year, throughout the whole year. Obviously, with the start we had, there’s always different reasons for different things. But at the end of the day, the players have to be able to perform and do what we need to do. And a lot of that falls on our shoulders and why he’s out the door.”
Ducks general manager Bob Murray figures to take a good look at several candidates to replace Bruce Boudreau as the club’s next coach. Among them:
Paul MacLean and Trent Yawney, the Ducks’ assistant coaches who orchestrated the team’s NHL-leading power-play and penalty-killing units during the regular season.
Dallas Eakins, coach of the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego whose stint with the Edmonton Oilers did not go well at all.
Travis Green, a former Ducks player who has been coaching the Utica Comets of the AHL and his said to be ready to take the next step.
Guy Boucher, a former Tampa Bay Lightning coach who was coaching in Switzerland until he was fired last fall.
Marc Crawford, a former Kings, Avalanche and Canucks coach who also was coaching in Switzerland until he was let go last month.
The Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday morning, two days after the team was eliminated in a Game 7 at the Honda Center for the fourth consecutive season. Boudreau was 208-104-40 during his tenure with the Ducks, guiding the team to four straight Pacific Division championships. They reached the Western Conference final last season, but were eliminated in seven games by the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Ducks were knocked out in the first round of the 2016 playoffs Wednesday by the Nashville Predators.
“I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication to the franchise,” general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “This is a very difficult decision to make. Bruce is a good coach and a character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”
The Ducks will hold a news conference at 11:45 a.m.
This tidbit is lifted directly from my story Wednesday: The team that scores first in Game 7s has a staggering .741 winning percentage (120-42) in playoff history. The Ducks are 2-0 in Game 7s when scoring first and 0-5 when they don’t.
Here’s the link to my Game 7 advance: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ducks-713640-perry-game7.html
Here’s what Ducks general manager Bob Murray said of the team’s early-season struggles and avoiding the temptation to fire Bruce Boudreau as coach back in October or November: “I came close to doing lots of things. Sometimes the right thing to do is very little and that’s what was done.”
JETS AT DUCKS
Faceoff: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NHLN / 830-AM
Update: Defenseman Simon Despres skated with his teammates Monday and said he was ready to return to the Ducks’ lineup after sitting out for six games because of an upper-body injury. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau indicated after Tuesday’s morning skate that Despres would be in the lineup to face the Jets. Goaltender Frederik Andersen joined the Ducks for the skate. He’s getting closer to a return to the net after suffering a concussion during the Ducks’ victory last Wednesday over the Calgary Flames. The Ducks (44-24-10) are expected to be without Andersen, Kevin Bieksa (upper body), David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (upper body) and Rickard Rakell (appendectomy) for their regular-season home finale. The Ducks are a league-best 32-9-4 since the Christmas break. They also are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games at the Honda Center. Their overall home mark of 25-10-5 is the best in the Western Conference. The Jets are 32-39-8, last in the Central Division.