Former Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau has been out of work since being fired by the Minnesota Wild on Valentine’s Day of this year. Boudreau’s name has been bantered about for various coaching openings in the meantime, but so far he has been unable to cement his next position in hockey. Boudreau, now working with the NHL Network, recently sat for the Network’s “five questions” series.
Boudreau, who has coached 13 seasons in the NHL, including the Washington Capitals (2007-11), Anaheim Ducks (2011-16) and Minnesota Wild (2016-20) and is currently serving as a guest analyst on the NHL Network’s “NHL Tonight” during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, is itching to get back to coaching.
“I would love to coach as soon as I can,” Boudreau said. “I know I’ve been around for a while. But I didn’t start until I was 40, so I haven’t been around that long and I think I have the energy, because this is all I’ve done my whole life, to do it again. You’ve gotten awards and won divisions and that, but the goal since I’ve been 4 years old is to win the Stanley Cup.”
Boudreau’s wait could be coming to an end.
According Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Boudreau might be an ideal candidate for an open position with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. On his most recent 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Friedman suggested that Boudreau could fill the an opening on the Leafs’ coaching staff recently vacated by power play specialist Paul McFarland.
There’s talk Bruce Boudreau would consider giving himself a demotion and applying if it meant a chance to work with his beloved hometown Leafs. https://t.co/iuYKZw7DEj
— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) August 14, 2020
Rumors aside, earlier this week Boudreau sat for the NHL Network’s running series ‘five questions’:
Are you enjoying watching hockey in August and talking about it on the NHL Network?
“Actually, the best part about it is I wouldn’t have wanted to talk too much about it once I was let go. But now that there’s been a little time and you get to the hunger back into watching the games and everything, it’s really exciting for me because I missed it.”
What have you thought of the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and the first round?
“It’s been really good. We all want to say great and everything, but I thought the round-robin games for some of the teams were just like exhibition games. Like Boston, St. Louis and Dallas and even Washington didn’t really look like they were giving their all, which I understand. But only Boston was able to turn the gears up once (the first round) started (and win Game 1). But the (best-of-5 series) games I thought were amazingly good.”
After you were let go by the Capitals, you were hired by the Ducks two days later. You were hired by the Wild a week after you were let go by the Ducks. This time, there are very different circumstances for everyone due to the coronavirus, but you’ve had some time off. What has that been like for you?
“I haven’t liked it. When you think about, in my life anyway, I’ve never been out of work for more than a week. So this was a lot longer. The biggest thing is the pandemic makes it go even longer. So you get to sit back and finally see what it’s like not to be working — and I don’t like it. I’m a pretty active person, so I want to get back into it.”
What would it be like for you to coach in an arena with no fans where everyone can hear what you’re yelling from the bench?
“I think like everybody else you just get used to it. I’ll give you quick story. It’s amazing what you don’t realize when you’re so into the game. When we did the Winter Classic with the Penguins and the Capitals (at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011), it poured rain the whole game, downpoured, and I didn’t even know it was raining until I saw the replay of the game. I knew it was raining, but I didn’t think it was raining, raining. So I was like, ‘Wow.’ I think the coaches get so focused and into it, they don’t hear the outside sounds. They just go do what they do.”
The playoffs have had some exciting moments so far with upsets in the Qualifiers and multiple-overtime games in the first round. Are you expecting to see a lot more craziness in the playoffs?
“Oh yeah. I think this is going to be a wild and woolly playoffs. I just look at the tightness of the games. That really shows you the parity of this league. … There are so many teams that are close together, I think for the fans of each team it’s going to be nail biting right until the end. I think you’re going to see a lot of six- and seven-game series. Maybe not in the first round, but after the first round I think everything is going to go six or seven games because it’s that tight.”
We wish ‘Gabby’ speedy success in finding his next coaching position. Hockey is less without him in the sport.
By Jon Sorensen