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Ducks GM Murray: Boudreau needs to be better in playoffs

May 20, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT

Anaheim Ducks Announce Bruce Boudreau Anaheim Ducks Announce Bruce Boudreau

Fresh off his four-year contract extension, Ducks GM Bob Murray didn’t exactly provide a full defense for coach Bruce Boudreau after his team’s postseason shortcomings.

“Obviously in the regular seasons, (Boudreau’s) teams do very well,” Murray said, per the Ducks’ website. “I think Bruce knows, from last year’s playoffs to this year’s playoffs, we made some adjustments, and we were better. But he needs to get better in the playoffs, as we all do.”

Boudreau has an incredible 312-143-62 record in the regular season. To put that into context, he has the all-time best points percentage (.663) among coaches who have led at least 500 games. Legendary bench boss Scotty Bowman is a touch behind him at .657.

Whether you want to argue about sample sizes or the differences in eras is moot though, because no one is calling Boudreau this generation’s Bowman anyways. Bowman won the Stanley Cup nine times as a head coach while Boudreau hasn’t gotten past the second round, in large part because his teams have struggled in big games.

Boudreau called the Ducks’ 6-2 loss to Los Angeles in Game 7 an “anomaly,” but also something that the team can learn from. Murray hopes so, because he doesn’t want to be dismissive of that result.

“You don’t just say, it’s one game,” Murray said. He argued that the team needs to learn how to play under pressure, get off to better starts, and improve with the man advantage.

The general manager also weighed in on perhaps Boudreau’s most controversial series of decisions over the course of the playoffs: his handling of the goaltending situation. Starting goaltender Jonas Hiller was seldom used, even after backup Frederik Andersen was hurt.

“When it comes to Hillsy, I think we maybe should have given him some time off after the Olympics,” Murray said. “He’d come back and play a good game or two, and then he was on that high, and I think we should have been smart and given him some time off. I’ll take some responsibility for that.”

For Boudreau’s part, he doesn’t regret the moves he made in the playoffs and he remains upbeat going forward.

“We were the fifth-to-last team standing, and we’re talking as if we didn’t make the playoffs,” Boudreau said. “We didn’t play well in Game 7, and I can’t see me saying that about any other game in the playoffs. We hate it, but at the same time, it is what it is. … We’re going to start in training camp, and we’re gonna be hungry to go again. Everyone as a team will want to do better than they did this year.”

  1. terrier92 - May 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    It is amazing how coaches lose their minds over goaltending. He blew it if I were Hiller I’d be super pissed off

    • mshantz22 - May 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      I agree. Bruce really mismanaged his goaltending. I understand that he has some really talented young goalies, but I really think he screwed up not using Hiller in the playoffs. And because he mismanaged his goalies, the Ducks lost their Olympic-caliber goalie.

      • DED - May 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        How would you rate how he handled the young goalie situation when he was in Washington?

      • flash8910 - May 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Yeah, they lost without Hiller. However, they did get to the 2nd round. In 2013, they lost with Hiller in the first round on some questionably soft goals especially in the OT’s. You make it sound like they would have won with Hiller in goal. I think 2013 proved otherwise.

      • fpstratton - May 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        I agree with flash8910. The Ducks did not lose to the Kings because of bad goaltending. In fact, young Gibson kept them in several games in that series. The Ducks don’t seem to start very well or play with much passion in deciding games. What afflicted them against L.A. in game 7 last Friday also afflicted them a year ago in game 7 against a Detroit team they were capable of beating. I saw no improvement from last year to this year. Yes, the Ducks are one of the best teams in the NHL. So are the Penguins. So were the Capitals when Boudreau was coaching them. However, Anaheim’s performance last Friday was shockingly poor. As the Hawks showed in game 1 against the Kings, yes, the Kings are good, but they are beatable if you play fast, as Anaheim is capable of, and if you make them work hard to get the puck out of their own zone.

  2. DED - May 20, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Hiller’s an UFA this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he left town.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      I mean it would make the person who handles jersey changes life easier. Put a little duct tape over the H and write M in black sharpie and you are good to go.

    • echech88 - May 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Well yeah, that has pretty much been a given since before the season started. Writing was on the wall when FASTH signed an extension so after Andersen and Gibson emerged it was never a question.

  3. pjblake2redwings - May 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    where will Hiller go when he test FA this offseason then?

  4. Eutaw's Finest - May 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    “Boudreau needs to be better in playoffs.”

    Echoes from DC from a few years back are finally reaching the left coast I see…

  5. har21441 - May 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Bodreau, like the caps team he formerly coached, have inflated winning percentages from beating up on the old southeast division.

    It’s not that he is a bad playoff coach, there’s just no weak teams in the playoffs to exploit. No one is going to confuse Bodreau with Scotty Bowman, and a few more years in the NHL should see his numbers adjust for the average coach he is.

    • echech88 - May 20, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Having watched the Ducks a lot I’m gonna disagree with that. They actually played down to bad teams and got up for the bigger games (Chicago, Boston, LA etc) during the regular season.

      That is also a problem though. Playing with the “flip the switch” mentality is dangerous.

  6. peepeehead - May 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    “Boudreau needs to be better in playoffs”
    Murray, you are truly a knucklehead. Why do you think Washington fired him? lol

  7. cliffatola - May 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    While he coached in DC he was letting the inmates run the asylum, there are pictures that were posted on Caps blogs of the core of the team out partying all hours of the night before pivotal games in that Montreal series that they imploded in. I expected him to do better in Anaheim because he had guys like Getzlaf, Selanne and Perry who had won a cup before. I figured their maturity in the locker room would give him something he didn’t have in DC. After watching how that Anaheim series played out I don’t know if he will ever win a cup as a coach, some guys just aren’t cut out to do it, for what it is worth he looked like an ass in the 24-7 special so if he doesn’t I will likely chuckle a little bit. Sorry Ducks fans that wasn’t meant to be a slight on you.

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