Bruce Boudreau is finally where he belongs – in the NHL.
It’s a shame his promotion to coach of the Washington Capitals, albeit on an interim basis, came at the expense of hard-working Glen Hanlon, but that’s the way things go in this business. One man’s demise is another man’s golden opportunity.
At 52, Boudreau has carved a very successful minor-league coaching career, having won championships in both the American League and ECHL. He coached the Hershey Bears to the Calder Cup final in each of the last two years; this, after he enjoyed a successful minor-league playing career.
Having watched Boudreau as a junior with the Toronto Marlboros, I was always surprised he didn’t make it as an effective NHLer, especially after he led the old Ontario Hockey Association in goals (68) and points (165) in his final season. Although he was a prolific minor-league scorer, Boudreau tallied just 28 goals and 70 points in 141 big-league games with Toronto and Chicago.
Having kept tabs on Boudreau’s coaching success in the minors, I was always baffled as to why his name didn’t crop up more often when there were coaching vacancies. Maybe coaching, not playing, was “Gabby’s” destiny. Heaven knows he has a golden opportunity in Washington.
The Capitals were slow out of the gate, but many chose them as a potential playoff team; one that could surprise in the post-season. It certainly didn’t help matters that potential scoring ace Alexander Semin has been limited to just a handful of games because of injury and that last year’s breakout player, Chris Clark, has also been injured.
Boudreau has plenty to work with, starting with one of the most electrifying players in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin. It seems like just a matter of time before the Capitals start living up to expectations and when they do, the chubby little bald guy behind the bench will have a great deal to do with it.
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