Two days after getting canned by the Washington Capitals, Bruce Boudreau was hired to be the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.
No, there wasn’t exactly a job opening at the time, but after winning only three of their last 19 games, the Ducks created a vacancy by firing Randy Carlyle after a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, also cutting loose two assistant coaches and the video coordinator.
The video coordinator? Like he was the reason the Ducks are 7-13-4 and tied with a league-low 18 points. Harsh!
Despite Alexander Ovechkin saying otherwise, it is suspected that Boudreau and his star player weren’t seeing eye to eye (e.g. benching Ovechkin - the team’s best player, making millions of dollars - in the final minute of a game against the Ducks, of all teams, on Nov. 1) in Washington, leading up to his firing.
From ESPN.com, “Boudreau led the Capitals to four consecutive division titles but couldn’t find sustained success in the playoffs, failing to advance beyond the second round. His attempt to instill more accountability this season backfired — Washington was not only losing, the losses were becoming humiliating. Change was all but inevitable.”
Even great coaches lose their locker room sometimes, as having top talent can be both a blessing and a curse. The situation in Anaheim is somewhat similar in that the Ducks roster has plenty of skill and experience, yet a disconnect exists preventing the team from success.
ESPN.com reports, “Ducks general manager Bob Murray called it ‘an extremely difficult decision,’ but said he felt the team needed ‘a new voice.’”
From a selfish standpoint, I’ll be happy to hear Boudreau’s voice in Southern California. While Lane Kiffin certainly has the fire, Boudreau’s toughness at least comes with a humorous edge making him a perfect personality for the L.A. sports scene.
As a reporter, I fell in love with Boudreau watching HBO’s 24/7 series focusing on last year’s Winter Classic game between the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Between the yelling, cursing, joking, and eating ice cream before 10am, what’s not to love? Boudreau should be a fascinating fit for a Ducks franchise that has yet to make it past the conference semifinal round of the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup, coached by Carlyle, in the 2006-2007 season.