Longtime coach and former player Bruce Boudreau has connections in some way to every playoff team, some closer than others.
“There’s a lot of pride in players that you coached,” Boudreau said. “There’s very few players that I’ve coached that I haven’t seen and felt a sense of pride or hopefully that you helped them in the tiniest way get to where they were. … But at the same time you still want to beat them like they were your brother. If you ever play, contested against your brother or your best friend, that’s the hardest guy you ever work against, too.”
Here’s a look at the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs through the 16 degrees of Bruce Boudreau.
MINNESOTA WILD: Boudreau is in his first season coaching the Wild, making the playoffs for the ninth time in nine full seasons with a team.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Boudreau’s first NHL team won the Presidents’ Trophy just like he did there in 2010 and is trying to overcome its own playoff disappointments that started with him behind the bench.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Boudreau’s last team is back in the playoffs with the coach he replaced in 2011 and who replaced him last summer, Randy Carlyle, a teammate on the Central Hockey League’s 1976-77 Dallas Blackhawks.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: The team Boudreau broke into the NHL with as a player is back in the playoffs with one of his former Ducks goalies, Frederik Andersen.
EDMONTON OILERS: Boudreau played with coach Todd McLellan for two seasons in the 1980s with the Springfield Indians and coached alternate captain Matt Hendricks in Washington, one of his favorite players.
OTTAWA SENATORS: After Boudreau coached winger Bobby Ryan for parts of two seasons in Anaheim, and before that his Capitals were swept by coach Guy Boucher’s Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round in 2011 leading to his firing in November.
MONTREAL CANADIENS: The team that beat Boudreau’s Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals in the first round in 2010 with Jaroslav Halak has another potential hot goaltender in 2015 MVP Carey Price.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: The team that ended arguably Boudreau’s best Stanley Cup chance in a second-round series in 2009 won it again last season is looking to repeat.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Boudreau coached against John Tortorella’s New York Rangers in two playoff series and had development coach Chris Clark as his captain in Washington.
NEW YORK RANGERS: Boudreau infamously said in 2011 that Madison Square Garden wasn’t as good as its reputation and was serenaded by Rangers fans with “Can you hear us?” during a game.
BOSTON BRUINS: Boudreau coached forward Matt Beleskey with the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin briefly last season.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Boudreau played with coach Joel Quenneville, who has three Stanley Cup rings, on the Maple Leafs in the late 1970s.
ST. LOUIS BLUES: Boudreau succeeded coach Mike Yeo (fired and replaced on an interim basis last February) with the Wild and coached winger David Perron last season in Anaheim.
SAN JOSE SHARKS: Boudreau played against general manager Doug Wilson in the Ontario Hockey Association in 1974-75 and coached winger Joel Ward in Washington.
CALGARY FLAMES: Boudreau coached Troy Brouwer with Washington in 2011 until he was fired after the Capitals traded a first-round pick to acquire the big winger.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: Boudreau’s Lowell Lock Monsters were swept out of the AHL’s 2000 Calder Cup playoffs in the second round by coach Peter Laviolette’s Providence Bruins.
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