Bruce Boudreau is one of hockey’s most charismatic characters, and the former Minnesota Wild head coach provided an unusually candid account into his recent dismissal.
Boudreau served as the Wild’s head coach from 2016-17 onward but was fired on Feb. 14.
The former Jack Adams Award winner spoke to The Athletic’s Michael Russo for a lengthy profile that detailed his firing, where Boudreau revealed he was caught off guard by Wild general manager Bill Guerin on Saturday.
“It was funny because Bill came in and he shut the door, and as soon as he shut the door, I knew,” Boudreau said. “You just know, right? And he says, ‘I’m going to make a change,’ and I instantly said, ‘Are you firing me?!’ — just like that.
“And he goes, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Are you f—ing kidding me?’”
Boudreau led the Wild to the playoffs in his first two seasons with the club, before missing the playoffs in 2018-19 and the club appears destined to miss the postseason once again. During his tenure with the Wild, Boudreau posted a 158-110-35 cumulative record.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m pretty sharp when it comes to these things,” Boudreau said. “I may not be sharp in a lot of things, but with firings, I usually know. This one I didn’t see coming. In Washington, they asked us to redo the lease on our house and even though I had two years left on my contract, I told Crystal to only do one year because, ‘I’m not going to make it through this year. They’re ready to get rid of me.’”
Despite being taken aback by the timing of the firing, Boudreau made it clear that he wants to return behind the bench as soon as possible.
“If I could coach yesterday, I’d do it,” Boudreau said. “I get mad, and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I want to get right back into it. In the past, I’ve gotten lucky that I got back into it right away. When I came here four years ago, I hoped this was my last job. I hoped to be here 10 years. It didn’t work out that way, but I know I can still coach.”
Boudreau’s 567 wins rank 22nd all-time and though it’s unlikely he’ll find a job this season, we’d be surprised if he remains on the open market this summer.
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