In news that's surprising despite being totally inevitable...
The Ducks have fired Bruce Boudreau, putting one of the NHL's best coaches on the market:https://t.co/TdFpkNJMCG— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) April 29, 2016
The Anaheim Ducks parted ways with head coach Bruce Boudreau today. Somehow, his legacy won't be as the coach who led Anaheim to four consecutive division titles, brought them to within a game of the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, and won games at a 110-point full-season pace during his tenure. Rather, his legacy will be, like Justin Williams, tied to his performance in Game 7s. And it wasn't good; four consecutive Game 7 losses, ending four promising chances at a Cup.
It's inevitable because his teams underachieved in the playoffs, just as they did when he coached the Washington Capitals. It's surprising because Anaheim professed patience with Boudreau earlier this season, and were rewarded, as he turned around a Ducks squad which was sitting in last place on Christmas Day and won the division (again). He might be a Jack Adams nominee, but he'll have a new job to show for it.
He's definitely going to get hired somewhere, but that somewhere probably won't be Los Angeles unless Darryl Sutter decides to retire. As we wrote earlier this week, his contract is up and hasn't been extended yet, but it's hard to see the Kings going away from Sutter unless his heart isn't in it. Even if they do, hey, John Stevens and Davis Payne are sitting on the bench.
Having said all that, even if he isn't gonna coach here... Bruce Boudreau LOVES the Los Angeles Kings. Need evidence?
one thing i really like about boudreau is his honesty w/ media. also that he seems to praise the kings every time he has a chance— nick (@dightkwing) February 26, 2013
Bruce Boudreau has always been extraordinarily complimentary of the Kings and I just cannot hate him.— nick (@dightkwing) December 3, 2013
You can call it whatever you want. I’m the kind of guy that, yeah we didn’t do things that we wanted to do but I want to give the LA Kings a little bit of credit here. They played like Stanley Cup champions. They never played like that in the first period like in any of the other six games. I think we were individually and collectively blown away by what they were doing. You’ve never seen them out-passing us individually as a player. I mean it’s like we were standing still and they were driving by us.
Boudreau in the handshake line to all the Kings players: "I love you so much."— THX BUD (@thxbud) May 17, 2014
"How many teams can go seven or eight elimination games, whatever they had to do last year, and go 8-0? I think that comes with their veteran leadership and it's really solid, starting with the guy behind the bench, and that leadership just rolls right on," Boudreau said. "You could see the Drew Doughtys growing up. He's always been great on the ice but you can see the maturity in him. And they've got the Jarret Stolls and Jeff Carter, who's so much different from the Jeff Carter I knew in Philadelphia. He was just a horse last year. And the Justin Williamses and everybody else, like [Marian] Gaborik.
Boudreau: "There's no secret the Kings have 4 great centerman, they are big & strong. You need 4 to compete w/them. & San Jose too."— Kid Ish (@kid_ish) October 14, 2014
Bruce Boudreau, asked about the possibility of another LA-Anaheim playoff series: "We hope they don't make it" http://t.co/2wuIe86wYN— Jewels frm the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) March 18, 2015
May Bruce Boudreau's Helga Pataki relationship with the LA Kings live forever. pic.twitter.com/NQf0g6tKbT— THX BUD (@thxbud) May 11, 2015
Bruce Boudreau says the LA Kings are "good. Real good." He calls Milan Lucic "a monster," says Freeway Faceoffs are "doubly important now."— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) January 16, 2016
bruce boudreau hates the ducks and loves the kings more than i do— nick (@dightkwing) April 23, 2016
We don't yet know where Boudreau will end up, but hopefully, it's in a place where he has time late at night to catch some Kings hockey.