Fresh off his four-year contract extension, Ducks GM Bob Murray didn’t exactly provide a full defense for coach Bruce Boudreau after his team’s postseason shortcomings.
“Obviously in the regular seasons, (Boudreau’s) teams do very well,” Murray said, per the Ducks’ website. “I think Bruce knows, from last year’s playoffs to this year’s playoffs, we made some adjustments, and we were better. But he needs to get better in the playoffs, as we all do.”
Boudreau has an incredible 312-143-62 record in the regular season. To put that into context, he has the all-time best points percentage (.663) among coaches who have led at least 500 games. Legendary bench boss Scotty Bowman is a touch behind him at .657.
Whether you want to argue about sample sizes or the differences in eras is moot though, because no one is calling Boudreau this generation’s Bowman anyways. Bowman won the Stanley Cup nine times as a head coach while Boudreau hasn’t gotten past the second round, in large part because his teams have struggled in big games.
Boudreau called the Ducks’ 6-2 loss to Los Angeles in Game 7 an “anomaly,” but also something that the team can learn from. Murray hopes so, because he doesn’t want to be dismissive of that result.
“You don’t just say, it’s one game,” Murray said. He argued that the team needs to learn how to play under pressure, get off to better starts, and improve with the man advantage.
The general manager also weighed in on perhaps Boudreau’s most controversial series of decisions over the course of the playoffs: his handling of the goaltending situation. Starting goaltender Jonas Hiller was seldom used, even after backup Frederik Andersen was hurt.
“When it comes to Hillsy, I think we maybe should have given him some time off after the Olympics,” Murray said. “He’d come back and play a good game or two, and then he was on that high, and I think we should have been smart and given him some time off. I’ll take some responsibility for that.”
For Boudreau’s part, he doesn’t regret the moves he made in the playoffs and he remains upbeat going forward.
“We were the fifth-to-last team standing, and we’re talking as if we didn’t make the playoffs,” Boudreau said. “We didn’t play well in Game 7, and I can’t see me saying that about any other game in the playoffs. We hate it, but at the same time, it is what it is. … We’re going to start in training camp, and we’re gonna be hungry to go again. Everyone as a team will want to do better than they did this year.”