The bad news and bad mood for Bruce Boudreau might have lasted just a few hours. George McPhee fired him early Monday morning, and Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray jumped at the opportunity to talk to the ex-Washington Capitals coach.
"Once he was let go, I called George immediately and then, when I talked to Bruce, I wanted to sense in his voice if he was ready to go right back at it or not," Murray said Thursday at a news conference to introduce Boudreau. "That was important to me."
Boudreau was more than willing to jump back in, saying he could have gone to work for TSN in Toronto but coaching the Ducks "was much better." He officially got the job Wednesday and led his first practice Thursday, as many around the league and with his former team voiced optimism that he could turn around a struggling team the same way he did with the Capitals in 2007.
Boudreau's time in Washington will be remembered for his leading the Caps on an impressive run to make the playoffs but also failures in the postseason. His former players, though, praised him.
"I know he did a great job here in this organization while he was here. He did a great job for the organization as well as the players," forward Matt Hendricks said. "A lot of the guys in this room had career years under him."
That could be a good sign for a talented Ducks team that has lost 16 of its past 19 games going into Boudreau's debut Friday night against Philadelphia. MVP Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have struggled and been minus players despite 21 and 19 points, respectively, though Boudreau's arrival could wake them up after things fell apart under Randy Carlyle.
"I want them to believe in themselves," Boudreau said. "I hope they buy into the message and we just surge from here."
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