boudreau-roy-fight

It’s only been one game, and new Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy has already made a total ass of himself. Somehow I’m not surprised.

While the Ducks trailed the Avs 6-0 with 30 seconds to go, Ben Lovejoy put his leg out and caught 2012 first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon with a hit in the neutral zone. Roy sure didn’t like that. And he let former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau know once the game ended.

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Consulting the 2013-14 schedule, we see two dates with the Anaheim Ducks: Monday, December 23 in DC; and Tuesday, March 18 in California. The first of those dates will be coach Bruce Boudreau‘s first game back in Verizon Center and his first against his old squad. Poor guy never got to play against Dale Hunter.

Boudreau’s Ducks went 30-12-6 last season on the back of the league’s third-best highest PDO (the sum of two stats that don’t often persist from year to year: save percentage and shooting percentage). The team’s possession actually ranked them in the league’s bottom third– just one spot above Washington. Next season should be interesting for both teams.

Also in Anaheim is 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, recent signatory to a one-year, two-million dollar contract. I suspect the Finnish phenom will finally be finished after this season. Teemu’s powerplay time fell last season, perhaps a sign of reduced utility in his advancing years and purportedly the cause of some snags in contract negotiations. Whether Teemu will actually get more ice may depend on his even-strength performance, which– ya know– also fell last season. He’s still a legend and everything, but it seems that if Selanne cannot stop for retirement, retirement will gladly stop for him.

So here’s my question for you: how shall we greet Teemu and good ol’ Boose Boudreau come Christmas Eve Eve?

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Let’s play a game. I’ll quote from an article, and you tell me if the author is talking about the 2011 Caps or the 2013 Penguins.

For the second straight postseason, [Coach] let the reins slip on his team. In both series, he fumbled and bumbled and finally grabbed them again, only it was too late to guide the wagon train away from the cliff’s edge.

That in consecutive playoff eliminations, the [team] haven’t just lost, they’ve come unhinged.

Guesses?

That’s Greg Wyshynski, the Puck Daddy himself, writing last week about Dan Byslma’s recent struggles, but he might as well have been talking about Bruce Boudreau after the Caps’ 2011 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a second round sweep.

Bylsma’s contract would have been up after the 2014 season, so action by GM Ray Shero seemed necessary before the season began. Shero extended Byslma, a move that the Pensblog said makes “unlimited sense.” As they put it before the signing, “If the Pens don’t extend Bylsma, firing him will be all anyone talks about next season.”

Now that Ray Shero has re-upped Bylsma and voiced unwavering support for his embattled coach, we might expect smooth sailing for the Penguins from here on out. But to do that, we’d have to ignore all the eerie similarities between Bylsma and Boudreau– and the not-too-distant memory of what happened to Bruce just a few months after his own GM endorsed him.

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This is Bruce’s O-face.

While the lockout drags on, the Anaheim Ducks keep publishing episodes of their series, Bruce Boudreau: Uncensored (kind of). The premise is simple: sit Bruce in a chair, ask him open-ended questions about his illustrious coaching and playing career, and then wait for him to say something funny. That’s good content if you ask me, but then again I’m the guy who wrote a 1,500-word epic about the time Bruce wore John Walton’s pants during a game.

The Ducks recently published episode four, wherein Bruce goes into detail about the day he was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals. And we’re reminded once more that despite his age and experience, Boudreau is still just a big kid.

Buckle up.

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Bruce poses with his sons Ben and Andy. (Photo credit: ahclub.info)

With the NHL lockout forcing another cancellation of games– this time through January 14th, some hockey lifers are desperate to fill the hours. That’s why, at the end of last week, former Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau did a telephone interview with the Asnières Castors — a hockey club based near Paris, France. Boudreau had good reason to call though: to show support to his 28-year-old son Ben, who is currently a forward for the team.

The Q/A is pretty pedestrian: Boudreau speaks about the lockout, Cristobal Huet, and his philosophy on coaching. Things get juicy, however, when Bruce is asked which of his former players he’d build a team around. He did not choose Alex Ovechkin.

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Former Capitals beat-writer Tarik El-Bashir takes a picture of former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. Weiiiiiird.

On Saturday night, Bruce Boudreau returned to Giant Center for the first time since he was head coach of the Washington Capitals to watch the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, take on the Bears. Sitting with friend and former boss Bears’ general manager Doug Yingst, Boudreau got to see Norfolk rout Hershey 5-1 and witness one of his former players nearly check enforcer Jay Rosehill into the team’s bench. Well with Norfolk set to take on Hershey at the Verizon Center on Thursday for the AHL Showcase, Boudreau stayed in the area, and tonight the former Jack Adams award-winner showed up on the sidelines of the Washington Redskins Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants. Aww, he looks so jolly.

So the question is: are you guys happy to see him back?

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Whatever you think of Bruce Boudreau, he will forever be a part of DC hockey lore. He transformed the Washington Capitals into contenders, won the Jack Adams his first year behind the bench, and he invigorated a languid fan base. He had stories; amazing hockey stories. After talking with Caps radio man John Walton, I’m ready to share one of Bruce’s most legendary moments.

On December 26, 2006, Bruce Boudreaua few months after his first AHL championship and exactly a full year before he was permanently hired as head coach of the Washington Capitals — jumped onto a bus with the Hershey Bears for a 220-mile jaunt up I-95 to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bears had Christmas off and were forced to travel the day of the game. The drive usually takes about three and a half hours.

The team ran into post-holiday traffic, pushing their arrival time back a few hours. When the Bears finally arrived at the Arena at Harbor Yard, they had just 20 minutes before warm-ups. As each player grabbed his gear off the bus, they ran to the locker room. Boudreau, who always preferred the comfort of his track-suit on the bus, grabbed his only companion, a suit bag, and headed inside to the visiting team’s coaches’ office along with assistant Bob Woods and general manager Doug Yingst.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

When Dale Hunter’s made his decision to resign as the coach of the Washington Capitals, the disappointment of his players was manifest as they conducted their exit interviews at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For all the talk of Hunter’s defense-first game plan, the coach’s strategy was barely mentioned by the players. Instead, they praised something else: the accountability he brought to the team. Gone were the days of stars — or captains — getting a free pass. Every player was forced to work together, no matter what line or how much ice team they got.

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Photo credit: Robb Carr

Dale Hunter played 872 games as a Washington Capitals player. He lasted just 74 behind the team’s bench.

“When I retired as a hockey player I had to retire because I was not that good anymore,” Hunter said with a laugh at his final press conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “But this was a tough decision.”

Hunter’s choice was not easy to make. But the reasons that ultimately lead him to make the determination seem clear. The 51-year-old former Caps captain is heading back to London, Ontario to rejoin his family and his empire. There, he co-owns the OHL’s London Knights with his brother Mark. The siblings run everything. Before taking over as Washington’s bench boss, he served as the junior club’s general manager and head coach, positions that his brother assumed in November. The team finished this season with a 49-18-1 record, winning the OHL championship. They now have a chance to take home the biggest prize in juniors, the Memorial Cup.

“I’m going home,” Hunter said Monday. “I’ve got a good thing going at home there and I’ll stay there.”

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Orlov and other Caps scratches look on from the press box. (Photo credit: Clydeorama)

It’s been a season of unexpected trials and disappointments for the Washington Capitals, but if there’s been one pleasant surprise, it’s been Dmitry Orlov. The young defenseman was not expected to make a permanent impact with the club this season, but after being called up on an emergency basis early in the year, Orlov simply earned his keep, becoming a mainstay even on a roster that frequently had defensemen to spare. Orlov has yet to play in the postseason, with the coaching staff so far relying on more experienced players to man the blueline, but if the Caps manage to make it past the first round, he may just get his chance.

Before the playoffs began, Orlov talked with Hockey World’s Andrey Osadchenko about about Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and his unexpected breakthrough year. I provide a translation below.

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