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.”
Boudreau’s firing isn’t incredibly surprising given the way the Ducks were ousted from the post-season. Many considered the first-round exit premature for Anaheim, especially as they were considered by some to be the Stanley Cup favorite. However, the Ducks did stick by Boudreau earlier in the season when the team was near the bottom of the league standings through October, and he managed to lead the franchise to its fourth-consecutive divisional title. Without playoff success, though, Boudreau’s regular season accomplishments didn’t mean much. He led the Ducks to one Western Conference final, but never beyond that.
THN’s Matt Larkin pointed out Thursday that Boudreau’s failure to win when it matters most would likely cost the coach his job in Anaheim.
“Boudreau is a good coach,” Larkin wrote. “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.”
Boudreau will now become one of the most sought after free agent coaches in the league, and he likely rockets to the top of a number of coaching wish lists. The Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild have coaching vacancies — Wild coach John Torchetti is only an interim head coach — and teams who were on the fence about making a change behind the bench may reconsider now that Boudreau is available.