The move isn’t overly surprising, with the Ducks just recently losing a fourth straight Game Seven in the Stanley Cup playoffs. While Boudreau was behind the bench as Anaheim won the Pacific Division four times in a row, he was also behind the bench as his team dropped the ball with such great persistence in key situations that general manager Bob Murray had to find someone to blame.
“Bruce was a good coach. Won a lot of hockey games, won four division titles, and he’s a very passionate hockey guy,” Murray said. “But the bottom line for me was that I did not feel that going forward and making the playoffs again, it would not be a good situation.”
The Ducks hired Boudreau back in November of 2011. He replaced Randy Carlyle and was hired just two days after the Washington Capitals canned him. Under Boudreau, the Capitals enjoyed similar success in the regular season but struggled in the post-season.
And now, the coach is one for seven in Game Seven situations.
In a sport where the regular season is only seen as a warm-up for the playoffs, Boudreau’s prowess for 82 games isn’t the issue. He, after all, turned Anaheim from a fifth place team to a first place team and propelled the Ducks to further success as years went by. But it wasn’t enough.
“The last four years, the way they ended were very similar,” Murray said. “Regular season success is okay. I’ve told you all many times that making the playoffs is the most important thing, and I really think that. So this wasn’t going to work moving forward.”
Boudreau leaves Anaheim with a 208-104-40 record. His current NHL record is 409-192-80 and it’s hard to imagine he’ll be without a job for long.
As for the Ducks, they’ve got options. They can hire in-house from the pool of assistant coaches or AHL affiliate coaches. Dallas Eakins, Paul MacLean and Trent Yawney could fit the bill. Or they could test the waters. Murray would not confirm a decision either way and stated no timetable for moving on.