Anaheim Ducks Fire Coach Bruce Boudreau

by Michael Clifford on April 29, 2016

Anaheim Ducks announce they have fired coach Bruce Boudreau

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It was announced earlier today that the Anaheim Ducks, as many have expected, had fired coach Bruce Boudreau. This was following Anaheim’s fourth game seven loss in four seasons. The latest at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

There was an interesting quote that came from Anaheim’s general manager Bob Murray following Boudreau’s firing:

If there is anyone that would have a pulse of his team, it should be the general manager. Of course, when two very good teams like the Predators and Ducks play each other in a series, they are often decided by the slimmest of margins. Also, I’m not sure that Boudreau is to blame for this:

He can’t go out there and stop the pucks himself.

Before this year, the previous two playoff exits were at the hand of the future Stanley Cup champions. This year, they lost in a Game 7 where Pekka Rinne finished with his second-highest non-shutout save percentage in a single game this season. Again, the margins of these games are razor thin. 

It’s easy to forget that in all of this, there generally have been two or three elite teams in the East over the last several seasons. The West, on the other hand, is a meat grinder. It’s not easy to win out there, especially considering how elite the Kings and ‘Hawks have been for the last half-decade (or more).

NHL coaches are at the mercy of being in a results-based business. Coaches that are consistently behind the bench for critical losses will not be behind the bench forever. Also, every coach moves on; Scotty Bowman coached five different teams, and he’s probably the greatest coach in the history of this game. Boudreau wasn’t going to last in Anaheim forever, but his recent playoff record should not be an indictment about his abilities as a coach (the Ducks were 24-19 in the playoffs over the last four years, by the way).

Teams have vacancies already, like Minnesota and Ottawa. Boudreau won’t be out of work for very long. I just don’t know where the Ducks go from here. Their next coach will be critical to the franchise as both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are on the other side of 30 years old, and there is no readily available all-world talent among their forwards to replace them right now. The identity of this team will likely have to transition from high-scoring to defence-first, modelling their play somewhat in the image of the Kings. Their new coach should be someone prepared to go this route.

That last part is something fantasy owners should be very wary of with the Ducks. In order to sustain success in these next few years, they will probably have to rely on defence and goaltending. This will make their forwards less appealing scoring-wise. We will have to see who the replacement is, but it's something to keep in mind for now. 

*Some stats from Hockey Reference and Hockey Analysis