Former Wild coach Bruce Boudreau could probably make a good living for the rest of his life by talking about hockey, as he has been doing in recent weeks for NHL Network.
But the always quote-worthy Boudreau is a coach at heart, and on a recent ESPN on Ice podcast he reiterated his desire to get back behind a bench — preferably as a head coach but possibly as an assistant — after being fired by the Wild in mid-February.
“I don’t want to end … (as) an NHL coach by being let go in February,” Boudreau said. “I’m pretty driven to do it again. I want to get back to it.”
Specifically addressing a question about rumblings that he could become an assistant with the Maple Leafs — Boudreau was born in Toronto and played 134 career NHL games for the Leafs — Boudreau said such an arrangement is a possibility but not a preference.
“I’d love to be a head coach first. That’s what I’ve been every year but one,” he said. “But I want to coach in the NHL. The one thing about head coaches is they know what they want as assistant coaches. I could definitely fit the bill. Whether I’m asked or choose to go there is another thing. I don’t think I could sit at home and not be involved in hockey.”
Boudreau was in his final year of a four-year contract and coaching for his third GM (Bill Guerin) when he was fired Feb. 14. The Wild was surging on a 7-3-1 stretch at the time and chasing a playoff berth.
Under interim (now permanent) head coach Dean Evason, the Wild played well until the season was interrupted — ultimately making it into the qualifying round of the expanded bubble postseason before losing a best-of-five series to Vancouver in four games.
Boudreau addressed on the podcast the enormous challenges that have faced coaches in the bubble. Whether he gets another chance — hopefully in a more normal 2020-21 season –remains to be seen.
“The way the league is going I really believe it’s a win-now league so (teams) are looking at experienced coaches for the most part,” said Boudreau, who has coached 984 career NHL games. “The trend is going for guys who have been there and done that. … In my position I hope that’s a trend that continues.”