- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bruce Boudreau’s whirlwind week started with a meeting just after 6 a.m. Monday morning. When the general manager of the Capitals wants to talk at that time, it can’t be good news.

“There was never something that I knew something was going to happen until the moment happened,” Boudreau said.

But then came Wednesday and a 10:30 p.m. Pacific time announcement: The Anaheim Ducks had fired coach Randy Carlyle and hired Boudreau as his replacement. That’s a 67-hour turnaround between jobs — officially — and Boudreau knew well before because he was in Anaheim late Wednesday night ready to run Thursday’s practice.

Boudreau might have even known but couldn’t say anything Wednesday morning when asked in a wide-ranging interview about the Ducks contacting him. He denied it, but noted he’d love to get right back into coaching if an NHL team approached him.

“Absolutely. It’s what I do. I love hockey and I love my job,” Boudreau said. “Even when things are going bad, I love my job. I love going to work in the morning, and I feel comfortable when I’m behind my desk or behind the bench or talking to guys or being on the ice. It’s something that I would relish doing.”

Carlyle and the Ducks had just wrapped up a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens when the team announced he and his entire staff were out. They had previously lost seven games in a row and 16 of 18.

“At this time, we simply felt a new voice was needed,” Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “Bruce is a proven winner with a great track record, and we are optimistic we can turn this season around under his leadership.”

The talk about changing voice sounded similar to what Caps GM George McPhee said when referencing Boudreau’s firing in Washington – that this was “simply a case of the players were no longer responding to Bruce.”

But McPhee also praised Boudreau as a person and a coach.

“I think Bruce came in here and emptied the tank,” McPhee said. “He gave it everything he could and did a really good job, but the tank was empty.”

Earlier Wednesday, players and ex-assistant Bob Woods also glowed about Boudreau and how he could be an excellent fit somewhere in the NHL.

“I think he’s good at making believers out of guys,” Woods said in a phone interview. “He can make teams come together.”

Added Caps forward Matt Hendricks: “If there’s opportunities out there for coaching jobs, I would assume he’s at the top of a lot of peoples’ lists.”

He was obviously atop Anaheim’s, and Boudreau will get the chance to refill his tank there and try to turn around the Ducks like he did with the Caps four years ago. At that time, Washington was on a five-game skid until Boudreau took over on Thanksgiving. That team made the playoffs, and he received the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.

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