Upon being fired by the Anaheim Ducks on April 29, Bruce Boudreau immediately became the No. 1 candidate on the NHL coaching market. He reportedly interviewed with the Ottawa Senators on Friday, but the Minnesota Wild have announced Boudreau as their new head coach with a reported agreement on a four-year contract worth around $3 million per year.
Minnesota was clearly in the market for a head coach, after interim coach John Torchetti led a turnaround that culminated in a first-round playoff exit. General manager Chuck Fletcher moved quickly on Boudreau, traveling to California early this past week to pursue him and perhaps other head coaching candidates, and that diligence has paid off.
Boudreau was fired by Anaheim after a fourth straight Game 7 playoff loss, and a lack of overall postseason success (41-40 record, zero Stanley Cups, 1-7 in Game 7s) is a black mark on his resume over nine seasons as a head coach for the Ducks and the Washington Capitals. But he is the also the fastest head coach in NHL history to reach 400 wins (663 games), and Boudreau’s regular season winning percentage (.659) is tops in league history for anyone with more than 208 games coached.
Eight division titles (four with the Ducks, four with the Capitals) in nine seasons is more enough to make Boudreau the right coach for the Wild. Annual inconsistency has yielded bottom-tier playoff seeds, and the fiery Boudreau will command respect from a roster of underachievers that quit on former coach Mike Yeo in the middle of this season. Fans will surely try to lament Boudreau’s dismal playoff track record, but the NHL has the most random postseason of any major sport and no amount of coaching can override that.
Boudreau has earned the nickname “Gabby” for his talkative nature. If you need concrete evidence of his fiery personality, go ahead and find his locker room rant from December 2010 during the first episode of HBO’s ’24/7′ that led up to that season’s Winter Classic. Be warned, though; it’s highly NSFW and obviously not safe for young ears.