Ex-Capitals’ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau Fired By Wild

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After a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at home on Thursday night, a game which they led 3-1 in the third period, the Minnesota Wild announced on Friday morning that they have relieved head coach Bruce Boudreau of his coaching duties. Assistant coach Dean Evason was named interim head coach.

While the Wild are 6-3-1 in their last 10, their 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday pushed them three points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Though, they have lost two of their last three in regulation.

After back-to-back five-game exits in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Boudreau’s first two seasons as head coach of the Wild, they missed the postseason for the first time since 2012 by seven points last season. The Wild finished second in the Western Conference and fifth in the NHL with 106 points in Boudreau’s first season in Minnesota in 2016-17.

Boudreau is now the eighth NHL head coach to leave their team this season after the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Mike Babcock on November 20, Bill Peters resigned as Calgary Flames head coach on November 26, the New Jersey Devils fired John Hynes on December 3, the Dallas Stars fired Jim Montgomery on December 10, the San Jose Sharks fired Peter DeBoer on December 16, the Nashville Predators fired Peter Laviolette on January 6, and the Vegas Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant on January 15.

The Wild have not gotten out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015 and out of the second since 2003. Former Wild GM Paul Fenton was reportedly about to fire Boudreau after last season but their owner did not let that happen. Fenton was fired at the end of July.

The Wild’s average of 3.07 goals-per-game is 16th in the NHL this season while their average of 3.19 goals-against per game is the eighth-most. Their 22.4% power-play efficiency is tied with the Florida Panthers for eighth while their 74.4% penalty-killing rate is only better than the Predators (74%). In addition, the Wild’s average of 29.6 shots-per-game is the fifth-lowest in the NHL. Though, they are 12th with an average of 30.6 shots-against per game.

Earlier this week, the Wild started a rebuild by trading forward Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defensive prospect Cale Addison, a conditional first-round pick (in 2020 or 2021 if the Penguins miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs), and forward Alex Galchenyuk. They are expected to be big sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline, which is February 24. Defensemen Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin are among those reportedly on the trade black

In 13 seasons as an NHL head coach with the Wild, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks, the 65-year old has a 567-302-115 record in the regular season. He was hired mid-year by the Capitals during the 2007-08 season and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era with 11 wins in the final 12 games of the season. Boudreau won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year that season. In five seasons with the Capitals, Boudreau went 201-88-40. He guided them to their first Presidents’ Trophy in 2009-10 and to the top of the Eastern Conference again the next season but was never able to get them past the second round.

Boudreau has took his team to a Conference Final only once. That came with the Anaheim Ducks in 2015, when they fell in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild host the Sharks on Saturday evening.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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3 Responses to Ex-Capitals’ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau Fired By Wild

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    I feel for Gabby, he just can’t seem to get over the hump.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A great coach no doubt good luck Bruce!

  3. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Ah, Bruce Boudreau. A very gifted and talented hockey man.

    Bruce brought life to the mis-firing Caps’ franchise when leadership couldn’t take another 2-1 loss during the Glen Hanlon administration. I actually thought Hanlon was a pretty good coach and was puzzled that he never returned to the NHL bench.

    The Boudreau Caps were a most colorful period, bringing winning hockey to DC and the Young Guns era. I remember it fondly. They also found a way to lose in the playoffs, even when grossly out-playing opponents. Bruce was truly a tragic figure.

    My wife and I were present at Boudreau’s final Caps’ game, a 6-3 loss at home to NYR during Thanksgiving Week. Very sad that his team had stopped responding. They had become the bumbling, stumbling, fumbling Caps instead of the Run And Gun Caps that ran up the score on many opponents.

    Boudreau is an expert NHL senior coach and will land on his feet, somewhere. Many seats get hotter and HOTTER for surviving NHL coaches as the playoffs approach. Boudreau, LaViolette, Hitchcock, Babcock and a bunch of other senior coaches – many with Championships – sit either on the sidelines or as assistants to Young Turks.

    I say good luck to Bruce! And also that $500/hr Future Hall of Famer Washington Capitals Head Coach Todd Reirden better get his act together REAL soon, because many observers agree with me that he is decidedly sub-standard compared to his peers.

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