Perry, Ducks take ‘a lot of blame’ for firing of coach Boudreau

Jared Clinton
Corey Perry (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Say what you will about former Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau’s ability to succeed in the playoffs, but it’s clear his former players felt the four consecutive losses in Game 7s on home ice fell on no one but themselves. That includes Corey Perry, who has been one of the team’s longtime leaders.

Perry was shutout in the post-season, picking up four assists but failing to find the back of the net himself in the seven-game first-round series against the Nashville Predators. Perry wasn’t without his chances — he took 21 shots in the first round — but he was never able to solve Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne, and the 30-year-old winger seemed well aware that his lack of finish could very well have cost Boudreau his job.

“I take a lot of blame for what happened,” Perry said in his exit interview with media. “I didn’t score a goal. Whatever it might be. What happened, I take a lot of responsibility for that.” Read more

Ducks GM Murray casts blame on team’s stars for playoff exits, Boudreau’s dismissal

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
during the NHL General Managers media availability at Bellagio Hotel on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray may have sent coach Bruce Boudreau packing after another Game 7 loss, but made it clear others would be on their way out, too.

Murray ripped his players Friday after he canned Boudreau, notably criticizing their effort early in an opening-round series defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators. The Ducks dropped the first two games on home ice before winning the next three. They ultimately lost Game 6 in Nashville before falling 2-1 in the decisive affair in Anaheim on Wednesday.

“I’d like to know where the heck they were in Games 1 and 2. The players are going to have to answer that in the next four or five days,” Murray told reporters. “Where were they? They showed up in Game 7, but where was that passion? That controlled emotion? Where the heck was that? They’re going to have to be held accountable, too.”

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Rumor Roundup: What off-season changes are in store for Blackhawks and Ducks?

Lyle Richardson
Andrew Shaw (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs underway, the remaining casualties from the opening round are taking stock. For the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, considered by some to be Cup contenders, their early exit raises questions about off-season changes.

A lack of skilled defensive depth proved the Blackhawks’ undoing against the St. Louis Blues. Chicago Tribune pundits Chris Kuc and David Haugh, along with USA Today’s Kevin Allen, believe addressing this issue should be GM Stan Bowman’s priority this summer.

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Bruce Boudreau fired by Anaheim Ducks after another Game 7 loss

Jared Clinton
Bruce Boudreau (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

For the fourth consecutive season, Bruce Boudreau’s Anaheim Ducks exited the post-season after losing a Game 7 on home ice. And while he may have kept his job following the past three heart-breaking defeats, the fourth Game 7 loss has cost Boudreau his job.

Anaheim announced Friday that Boudreau has been let go from his position as the Ducks’ bench boss, ending his tenure as the team’s coach after 352 games over the course of the past four and a half seasons. During his time with the Ducks, Boudreau had a record of 208-104-40, which puts him second in franchise history for coaching wins and first all-time in winning percentage among Ducks coaches.

“I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication to the franchise,” Ducks GM Bob Murray said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision to make. Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.” Read more

Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist, but Kopitar, Kesler stand in the way of three-peat

Jared Clinton
Patrice Bergeron (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston’s Patrice Bergeron will have a shot at the Selke Trophy three-peat — and his fourth nod as the league’s best defensive forward — but Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar and Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler will stand in his way.

The NHL announced the Selke finalists Thursday night with Bergeron, Kopitar and Kesler as the top three vote-getters for the award given to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” Both Bergeron and Kesler have won the award before, but Kopitar, who has been a finalist in each of the past two seasons, has never taken home the hardware.

Unlike other awards that can be judged off of pure statistics, the voting for Selke can be a lot more vague. Really, each of the three have good cases for the award. Read more

If Ducks fire Boudreau, who coaches them next? And who hires him?

Matt Larkin
Bruce Boudreau. (Getty Images)

(Update: The Ducks officially fired Boudreau on Friday.)

There’s an elephant in the Ducks’ room. Bruce Boudreau is about to become a scapegoat. Perhaps replaced by a walrus.

We don’t know yet for sure, but an endorsement from Anaheim Ducks ownership and/or GM Bob Murray for their coach would be awfully surprising. Boudreau, after all, just fell to 1-7 in Game 7s for his career. He couldn’t get his team motivated to start the first period Wednesday night against Nashville. That problem has plagued him throughout his career in Game 7s. He also couldn’t get his Ducks to adjust and start working the puck down low when the Predators completely clogged the front of their net, protecting goalie Pekka Rinne as Secret Service agents would the president.

Boudreau is good coach. He’s an offensive wizard, regularly fielding teams who score at will. He’s a turnaround artist who can take over a new team and convert it from an also-ran into a regular season juggernaut and playoff contender quickly. But, fair or not, it’s a cold, hard fact he continuously fails to win The Big One. He’ll likely have to fall on the sword. This stacked Ducks team really doesn’t need much, save perhaps for one more good goal scorer, so what else can it do besides try a different coach? Franchise pillars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry turn 31 next month. They’re still young enough to be impact NHLers and fuel a championship team, but their window is closing rapidly. Their best years are likely behind them now, so the Ducks must act swiftly to boot their odds of a 2017 Cup run. That probably means trying a new bench boss.

Who are the best candidates to replace Boudreau if he’s fired? And what are Boudreau’s options in his next search for gainful employment?

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More heartbreak in Anaheim as Predators send Ducks to another Game 7 loss

Ian Denomme
Pekka Rinne and Ryan Kesler.

The seventh game of an NHL playoff series is supposed to be as exciting as it gets. Given what’s happened the past four seasons, the Anaheim Ducks and their fans could be forgiven if they never want to see a Game 7 again.

The Nashville Predators added to the Ducks’ recent Game 7 woes on Wednesday with a 2-1 win in Anaheim, knocking off the Pacific Division champions. It’s the fourth consecutive year the Ducks’ season has ended in a seventh game, and all of the games have been at home. Colin Wilson and Paul Gaustad scored first-period goals and Pekka Rinne made 36 saves, including 14 in the third period as the Ducks tried to rally.

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