Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau ready for more 'firsts'
Newly hired Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau will experience a series of "firsts" while he settles in, and Friday brought the chance to check two more firsts off his list.
Boudreau, who conducted his first Ducks practice on Thursday, led players Friday through their first morning skate with him in charge. He will make his Ducks coaching debut Friday night at Honda Center against the Philadelphia Flyers, alongside new assistants Brad Lauer and Bob Woods.
His players enjoyed a first on Friday too: They were smiling and laughing in the locker room for the first time in a long time.
"Bruce has brought some good energy to the team. He's really an uplifting guy," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "He's positive, and he's made it fun to come to the rink every day."
Enforcer George Parros, who played for Boudreau in the American Hockey League when both were in the Kings' minor-league system, said he remembered Boudreau's positive attitude and honesty.
"What you see is what you get with him. We all watched him on the 24/7 shows," Parros said, referring to the HBO series last winter that featured an unfiltered Boudreau preparing the Washington Capitals to play in the Winter Classic. "We all got a good look at him. He's that person. There's no hiding how he is emotionally. He's a positive, upbeat guy, and he coaches to win. He's a good coach.”
Boudreau was often heard yelling “Move it!” during drills to remind players to maintain a fast pace.
"Look at all the good teams. They play an up-tempo game," he said. "You've got to be able to move the puck. Not just necessarily your legs but moving the puck quick can make slow teams look fast, and if we can get that in our repertoire, I think we’ll be better."
"I think it’s important to know what goes on in their life," he said. "Like, I mean, if they’ve got two sick kids at home and they look really tired, it’s not that they're out all night. Maybe they're up all night because the kids were up all night. Little things like that, I think, help go a long way."
Former coach Randy Carlyle still hasn't commented publicly on his dismissal, but Fowler on Friday credited Carlyle and former assistant coach Dave Farrish for helping him make a successful transition from junior hockey to the NHL last season.
"I owe a lot to Randy. He gave me a chance to step in as a young 18-year-old in the league. Him and Dave Farrish, they put a lot of confidence in me," Fowler said. "They also expected a lot out of me and gave me a lot of responsibility, so I owe a lot to those guys. They really gave me a jump-start for my career.
"I wish Randy the best in everything. It's sad to see him go, but that's just the business that we're in. Sometimes those things happen. It's not something I’m used to, but welcome to the NHL, I guess."
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-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Bruce Boudreau during his final week as Capitals coach. Credit: Marianne Helm / Getty Images