ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals removed the interim tag from head coach Bruce Boudreau’s job title.
The Capitals named Boudreau their full-time head coach Wednesday, making the announcement just hours before the Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to improve to 8-5-3.
Boudreau assumed the coaching duties Nov. 22 after Glen Hanlon was fired.
“The goal when you take the job is to be here a long time,” Boudreau said. “My job is to win and then re-evaluate everything at the end of the year. Until further notice, I’m here.”
Boudreau had been coaching the Capitals’ AHL affiliate in Hershey, Pa., the Hershey Bears, at the time of Hanlon’s departure. At that point, the Capitals were last in the NHL with a 6-14-1 record, their worst 21-game start to a season since 1981-82.
Washington general manager George McPhee said he liked Boudreau’s style – immediately.
“It was actually the first practice and the first game,” McPhee said. “We just wanted the opportunity to watch him at this level.”
McPhee declined to reveal the length of Boudreau’s contract.
“We just thought it was about time that we let the players know,” McPhee said. “There was something about it that seemed to look right and feel right.”
Washington’s seven wins and 17 points under Boudreau exceed the team’s total from prior to his appointment (6-14-1, 13 points).
“I got a little more comfortable in the situation. I didn’t know what to expect when you come to the NHL,” Boudreau said. “Everything that I thought has pretty much come true.”
Under Boudreau, the Capitals are averaging three goals a game, up from 2.2 under Hanlon.
“We’ve had confidence in him from the moment he came in,” Washington defenceman Brian Pothier said. “We’re looking forward to the rest of the season and getting better every night.”
Boudreau coached more than 1,000 games in the minor leagues and never was an assistant coach in the NHL before joining the Capitals. He played in parts of eight NHL seasons with Toronto and Chicago.
The Capitals are scheduled to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night