By Michael Walters
Last night as the Ducks Die Hards party, Anaheim’s Head Coach Bruce Boudreau was the surprise guest. He was interviewed briefly by Ducks play-by-play announcer Steve Carroll and then answered some questions from the audience. If you haven’t met Boudreau in person or heard his interviews, then you might not have realized what a sense of humor he has.
Here are some of the topics covered last night and Boudreau’s comments.
Ducks Offense and Turnaround:
Some of the turnaround in Boudreau’s mind has been due to a few different things. He feels the new lines have helped and the team’s overall chemistry is doing extremely well. He mentioned the Ducks have finally started get some bounces that they weren’t at the beginning of the season. Lastly, he said there is a belief in the team that they are going to win every night.
The Addition of David Perron:
At first, Boudreau said he was nervous because Perron was -14 and only had four goals at Pittsburgh, but he is very pleased with the way Perron and Ryan Getzlaf have developed chemistry playing together. He mentioned it’s easier for Getzlaf to find Perron because he crashes the net at the left wing position as opposed to Corey Perry, who comes from the right wing. Boudreau also likes the fact that Perron takes the inside lane to the net as opposed to the outside line like Carl Hagelin will do.
The Addition of Ryan Garbutt:
Boudreau said his initial reaction jokingly was, “Oh great, didn’t this guy just spear Corey Perry recently?” Bruce is content with how Garbutt has played providing scoring and going to the net. Boudreau added that when you play a team, even if there are friends on that team, they are your enemy for 60 minutes. He said when a player from another team joins your team, then everything is good because you are wearing the same jersey.
On Ryan Kesler‘s Play:
In evaluating Kesler, Boudreau thinks it took some time for him to adjust to Anaheim’s system because he played in Vancouver for so long. He loves the way Kesler plays and how he can put him up against the best line of any other team. Boudreau said when he tells Kesler that he is going up a player like Sean Monahan that he drools at the mouth for the matchup.
On Rickard Rakell‘s Play:
On Splitting up Getzlaf and Perry:
It’s been working so far Boudreau stated because the opposing team can’t just put their best defensive pairing out against the old line with both of them. He joked that he puts them together on the power play unit so they don’t get upset with him. Boudreau laughingly added that they both make enough money so it’s okay for them.
As a whole, Boudreau said the defense helped the Ducks get through the earlier poor start to the season. He is glad to have Simon Despres back because he said that times have changed with concussions. In the old days, Boudreau joked that players just thought they had hangovers instead of concussions. Now players have to been shut down as soon as symptoms appear, which makes it difficult for players to recover.
Boudreau also joked about Sami Vatanen‘s confidence. He said is a smaller player and has to have confidence to play well. Boudreau said he has asked Vatanen if he would go to the optional morning skate and he would respond, “No morning skate coach, but I’ll be ready by 7PM tonight.”
Low Point of the Season:
The question came up about what was the low point of the season for the team and Boudreau said for him it was after the 3-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on December 17th. He purposefully hid from Bob Murray the rest of the weekend. Boudreau explained the strategy with Murray was, “If he can’t find me, then he can’t fire me.”
Poor 3-on-3 Play:
Boudreau’s initial response was, “Well one of our prominent players didn’t make a play against Chicago and then later against Arizona, the same prominent player made a great pass.” Joking aside, Boudreau said the team wasn’t organized during some of the overtimes and missed assignments. He is relieved they finally won in overtime in the last meeting against Chicago and thinks they will do better going forward because they know they can win in overtime now.
A question came up about the disparity in calls against the Ducks. Boudreau laughed and said, “When we get the sheets in the morning who’s reffing, they won’t show me..Ohh Ohh, we got this guy.” He said that some nights they don’t get the calls, but that arguing with them doesn’t help the situation.
He did tell a story about his neighbor in Canada, former NHL referee Paul Devorski. He said one night they were hanging out and Devorski told him that he could call him out during a game if he made a bad call. A few games later, Boudreau decided to chew out Devorski over a call during a game. The two of them started to go at it and the team was trying to get Boudreau to stop. After it went on for a bit, then Boudreau let the team know it was a planned joke from the beginning.
Goalie Situation and Strategy:
The strategy going forward for the rest of the season is to rotate between the two goalies. Starting next week, the Ducks play every other night with two back-to-back scenarios. The goal is to keep both fresh come playoff time. Boudreau said once playoffs are near, then he may decide to go with one over the other depending on how they perform.
A fan did ask who would Boudreau would choose if he could only pick one, which drew a rise out of the crowd. Boudreau laughed, saying he loves them both like family and that he can’t just pick one. He declined to give an answer and referred to his previous comments about playing them both.
On The Schedule:
The question came up about the weird schedule where the Ducks only played two games in 10 days, then now have a game every other day starting next week. Boudreau said, “The scheduler must have been smoking something.” He went on to say the Ducks will be fine and that the strategy of using two goalies will help deal with the last stretch of the season.
Game Day Rituals:
Boudreau said he has so many game day rituals that there is probably too many to count. He did mention in the past when the team would lose that he wouldn’t wear the suit he wore that night for a while or that the tie he was wearing would magically end up in the trash. He did state that he likes to eat the same meal before a game during a winning streak, which has been spaghetti.
He said he is getting tired of spaghetti, but if the Ducks keep winning it might have to be his pre-game meal all the way until June.
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