Bruce Boudreau

Boudreau needs fewer ‘passengers’ on slumping Ducks

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Bruce Boudreau didn’t name names after his team’s fourth straight loss on Wednesday, but it’s clear the Ducks’ head coach isn’t happy with the performances of a number of his players.

“We’ve got some guys who are working their [rears] off and then we have continually the same passengers every night,” Boudreau said, per the LA Times. “Those passengers, we rely on them heavily. We were a 20-man team when we were successful. We can’t do it with 10 or 12, and that’s what it seems these four games have been like.”

Things don’t get any easier for Anaheim tonight. The Ducks are in Chicago to face the Blackhawks — a team that will be looking for revenge after dropping a 4-2 decision March 20 at the Honda Center.

As we wrote a couple of days ago, hockey’s advanced statistics purveyors have been predicting an Anaheim collapse for some time now.

The Ducks have been outscored 16-5 in their last four games.

Is it just a little slump?

Or, is a house of cards coming tumbling down?

Selanne raves about Boudreau, compares current Ducks to 2007 champs

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings
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While the Chicago Blackhawks have been grabbing most of the headlines in 2013, the Anaheim Ducks aren’t all that far behind in the standings.

Teemu Selanne spoke to the team’s Web site about this year’s surprisingly successful team and the great job head coach Bruce Boudreau has been doing.

“It’s a package of everything,” Selanne said. “Bruce [Boudreau] has been unbelievable. He tries to feed the confidence and the right feelings. All the leaders are pushing everybody, and everyone is chipping in. That’s what it takes.”

The 42-year-old icon explains some of Boudreau’s methods, including a little game where he selects certain combinations by pulling names out of a hat.

” … The way [Bruce] is shaking the hat and pulling those names out for different combinations, it has to be working,” Selanne said. “He has a deep hat. [Laughs]. It’s funny, but that’s how you get everybody going.”

One cannot help but wonder: how does this version of the Ducks compare to the team that won the franchise’s only Stanley Cup in 2007?

“If you look at how deep we’ve been and how solid we’ve been even in the bad games, we find the ways to win the games, like back then,” Selanne said. “[We have] two great goaltenders. It’s all the feelings that create the confidence like I’ve been talking about. I’ve always said that [with] one line, you can have fun. Two lines and you can go to the playoffs and have some success. But if you have three lines, you’re a championship team or a contender. That’s what has happened here.

Boudreau on Detroit going East: ‘Get them out as quick as possible’

Bruce Boudreau
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Bruce Boudreau is doing a great job coaching the Anaheim Ducks this season. As it turns out, he’s still good for a funny one-line or two.

When the OC Register asked about the Detroit Red Wings realigning to the equivalent of the Eastern Conference, Boudreau provided these comments:

“They shouldn’t be in the West,” Boudreau said. “Get them out as quick as possible, by the way. I can tell you a couple of teams. They should be with Chicago. Chicago should be in the East too.

“Who else? I think the Kings could go there, just for some travel.”

Naturally, he was joking – especially about Los Angeles – but Boudreau followed that up with a more serious take on the proposal.

“It really helps out a lot of teams,” Boudreau said. “It keeps you in the same time zone for the most part. I know for a guy who was out east and came to the west, I found it quite taxing to keep going through time zones.

“There’s teams that it’s definitely going to help. You look at Winnipeg and you look at Dallas and Columbus. Detroit. I think they’re all going to help them. I think it’s going to create even greater rivalries amongst teams.”

Even if those pesky Kings stick around.

Ducks coach Boudreau calls tonight’s game vs. LA ‘the ultimate test’

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The Anaheim Ducks are the NHL’s second-best team, sporting a 13-2-1 record.

The Los Angeles Kings sit 19th in the league, with a 8-6-2 mark.

Yet it’s the former that’s fired up to test itself against the latter on Monday night at the Staples Center in the latest edition of the Freeway Faceoff — just ask Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.

“To me, it’s the ultimate test,” Boudreau told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re playing like they played in the playoffs last year. I watch every one of their games and they’re just flat-out good. And [Jonathan] Quick is good and he’s playing like he’s the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

“They’re as good a test as you’re going to find in this game today.”

The two teams have only met once this year, with Anaheim winning a 7-4 scoring bonanza that saw Quick get hooked after allowing two goals on his first three shots — he lasted just 5:49 all told — and Anaheim going 3-for-4 on the power play.

Also, the last game was marred by the Jarret Stoll hit on Cam Fowler, one that knocked the young defenseman out of action for eight games (he returned on Sunday in a 4-3 OT win over Colorado.)

The Kings started the season slowly but have picked things up as of late. Winners of their last three, they’ve outscored opponents 10-1 over that stretch and have only allowed eight goals over their last six games.

“This,” said Ducks winger Teemu Selanne, “is going to be a good test.”

Boudreau admits he ‘didn’t even know what we had’ in Viktor Fasth

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Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth wrote another chapter in his Cinderella story on Tuesday night,  stopping 28 of 30 shots (and two of three shootout attempts) in a 3-2 win over the NHL’s first-place team, the Chicago Blackhawks.

The win moved Fasth to 6-0-0 on the year, not bad for a 30-year-old rookie that once toiled in Sweden’s lower-tier leagues.

Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau marveled at Fasth’s unlikely story following the Chicago win.

“You mean that he’s 30 and he played in Sweden and no one ever heard of him?” Boudreau told the Chicago Daily Herald. “That’s probably the best part. That includes me.

“To start the season, I didn’t even know what we had.”

In fairness to Boudreau, not many in North America did.

Fasth burst onto the scene with Swedish Elite League outfit AIK in 2010-11. Since then, he won back-to-back Honken Trophies, awarded annually to the top goalie in Sweden — the only other multiple winners are New York’s Henrik Lundqvist and former Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist.

He’s starred internationally as well. At the 2011 World Hockey Championships, Fasth posted a 1.71 GAA and .946 save percentage, capturing MVP honors despite losing the gold medal game to Finland.

The Ducks gave him a modest one-year, $1 million deal in May with the hopes he’d be Jonas Hiller’s backup for the year.

Needless to say, he’s exceeded expectations. Fasth sits fifth in the league in goals-against average (1.74), eighth in save percentage (.933) and has been Anaheim’s goalie of record in six of the last nine games.

That play has drawn the highest of praises from Boudreau.

“[Fasth’s] demeanor is so calm,” he said. “He settles everything down when he’s on top of his game. He moves very Carey Price-ish, like side to side, almost robotic.

“It’s been such a pleasant surprise.”