Skip to content

Boudreau returns to DC, where he helped put hockey ‘front-and-center’

Dec 23, 2013, 12:18 PM EDT

Bruce Boudreau AP

Brooks Laich remembers the days when a ticket to a Washington Capitals game wasn’t exactly a hot commodity. The 30-year-old first donned a Caps uniform in 2003-04, before Alex Ovechkin was drafted and when average attendance was just 14,720 to watch a team that finished with a dreadful 23-46-10-3 record.

But Laich doesn’t just credit Ovechkin with hockey’s turnaround in DC. He also credits current Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who returns to the Verizon Center tonight for the first time since being fired by the Caps in late 2011.

“He turned hockey from a back-burner sport into a front-and-center, front page, exciting, real entertaining game,” Laich said, per CSN Washington. “Certainly, the players and organization have had a role in that, too, but he was one of the leading forces to putting hockey on the map in Washington.”

Because it wasn’t just that the Caps started winning games under Boudreau; it was the way they played, running and gunning in a league that was desperately trying to move on from the so-called “dead puck” era.

Eventually, after failing to make a deep run in the playoffs, and with his team being accused of playing the “wrong way,” Boudreau dialed it back in an attempt to play the “right way” — a move he later hinted went against his instincts.

If only Jaroslav Halak hadn’t…well, no point in going over that again; that’s history now.

“Look what he’s done with [Anaheim],” Laich said. “They were a team on the decline and now they’re at the top of the standings again.”

Indeed, the Ducks are red hot, with eight straight victories and a 26-7-5 record.

Latest Posts
  1. Quick: Pacioretty is ‘the most underrated player’

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

    Max Pacioretty Getty Images

    It blows the Kings goaltender’s mind that he’s not talked about more, so let’s discuss him.

  2. Canucks hand Weisbrod assistant GM job, make further front office changes

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    canucks logo

    He used to have that role with the Calgary Flames.

  3. Sens want to see if Hoffman ‘can do it again’

    Aug 4, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    Mike Hoffman Getty Images

    They signed him to a one-year deal while fellow breakout rookie Mark Stone got a three-year contract.

  4. Canucks ink Brandon Sutter to five-year, $21.875 million extension

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:28 PM EDT

    Brandon Sutter Getty Images

    Jim Benning follows through after calling him a “foundation piece.”

  5. Poker star Daniel Negreanu plans to buy slice of Vegas franchise

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Daniel Negreanu Getty Images

    Assuming of course Bill Foley succeeds in his attempt to bring the NHL to Sin City.

  6. Red Wings ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Where should we set the bar post-Babcock?

  7. Poll: Can Detroit make it 25 straight playoff runs?

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings AP

    Yes, it’s the inevitable, perennial Red Wings question.

  8. NHL unveils ‘historic’ digital media rights deal with MLBAM

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Beyond Sport United 2015 Getty Images

    MLBAM will handle NHL.com, Center Ice, Game Center Live and the NHL Network in 2016.

  9. Red Wings’ biggest question: goaltending

    Aug 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    howardmrazekgetty Getty Images

    Can Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek get it done, collectively?

  10. Caps GM provides positive injury updates for Backstrom, Orpik

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    The skilled Swede may or may not be ready to start the season.

  11. Looking to make the leap: Dylan Larkin

    Aug 4, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Dylan Larkin Getty Images

    He’s already made a positive impression on Jeff Blashill.

  12. Under Pressure: Jeff Blashill

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwfin2ixyjjjywfizwyynmm3n2fkyjmwztaynmzly2y1 AP

    Mike Babcock’s act is a tough one to follow.

  13. It’s Detroit Red Wings Day at PHT

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Petr Mrazek AP

    The book has closed on the Mike Babcock era.

  14. Avs-Red Wings alumni game to feature Sakic, Forsberg, Shanahan, Lidstrom

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One Getty Images

    The squads will feature players that were part of either organization from 1996-2002

  15. Sharks re-sign Aaron Dell after strong AHL campaign

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Aaron Dell Getty Images

    He’ll be fighting to be seen as the team’s third-string goaltender.

  16. What does Jack Eichel mean to the Buffalo Sabres?

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    He’s already improved the perception of the franchise, but will he have that kind of impact long-term?

  17. MacLellan doesn’t think summer additions have to take from Johansson

    Aug 3, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    He’ll have a tough time maintaining a top-six role though.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (1399)
  2. E. Fehr (1137)
  3. N. Bonino (1134)
  4. J. Voracek (1069)
  5. J. Toews (1064)