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


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.”

Boudreau says Selanne’s “the greatest athlete in the world for his age”

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings

As Teemu Selanne continues to defy father time — the 42-year-old has four points through two games this season — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau tries to put Selanne’s accomplishments in context.

On Monday, he tried again — and went big.

“I think he’s the greatest athlete in the world for his age,” Boudreau told the Calgary Herald. “I defy people to tell me what sport somebody his age is playing at the level he is playing at equated to the sport they’re in.”

Interesting theory.

Boudreau certainly argues his point well. In talking to the Herald, he pointed to other athletes at Selanne’s age in their respective sports, and what roles they’d (theoretically) be playing:

“If you see it in baseball, he’s a pitcher — he might be a relief pitcher or the knuckleball pitcher that the Jays got,” Boudreau said.

R.A. Dickey, the knuckleball pitcher, is actually a mere 38.

“In football, he would be a kicker,” Boudreau said of stars aged 40 or over. “In tennis, they can’t play that long. In soccer, I don’t know of anyone over in Europe who is that age.

The NFL does have Ray Lewis but, at age 37, he’s half a decade younger than Selanne.

The NBA has Kurt Thomas (40) and Grant Hill (40), though neither of them average more than 14 minutes per game (Selanne’s at 15:06 through two games, in case you were wondering.)

Knicks point guard Jason Kidd is averaging nearly 30 minutes a game, but he’s only 39 (though he does turn 40 in March.)

Last year, 45-year-old Omar Vizquel played in 60 games as a positional player for the Toronto Blue Jays, lining up at first base, second base, third base, left field and shortstop.

In the end, though, Boudreau says Selanne blows them all away.

“If you just look at it — and I’m not trying to brag for my player — that’s an amazing, amazing feat what he’s doing at his age, playing to the level he’s playing at,” he said.

“He’s an amazing person.”

Boudreau: If retirement’s anything like the lockout, I never want to retire

Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau is going stir crazy.

That’s what the Anaheim Ducks coach told the OC Register on Wednesday, saying he’s had just about enough of not working as the NHL lockout extends into its third month.

“If this has been a preview of what retirement is like,” Boudreau said, “I never want to retire.”

After a whirlwind 2011-12 campaign that saw him get fired by Washington and hired two days later by Anaheim — the fastest coaching turnaround in NHL history — Boudreau was looking forward to his first full season with the Ducks.

Last year, Anaheim surged late to bump Boudreau’s record to a respectable 27-23-8 — the Ducks even briefly flirted with the playoffs — then made some major moves in the summer.

Franchise legend Teemu Selanne was brought back for another year and the defense was rebuilt with free agent acquisitions Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen.

Boudreau also signed a two-year contract extension in May — so yeah, you can see why he and the rest of the Ducks’ coaching staff want to get back at it.

“We’ve come up with Plans A, B, C and D and thought about every possibility to be ready,” assistant coach Brad Lauer said. “But by noon, there’s nothing more to do because there’s no hockey.”

“Frustration,” Boudreau added. “Frustration and waiting, that’s life now.”

Tell me about it.

Boudreau admits he wanted the Caps to lose

Bruce Boudreau

He may have landed on his feet in Anaheim, but Bruce Boudreau still didn’t want the team that fired him to do well in last year’s playoffs.

The former head coach of the Washington Capitals, now the Ducks’ bench boss, confessed as much in an interview with

“I think human nature dictates that I didn’t want them to win,” Boudreau said. “I think that’s just human nature. I was hoping for some players to have success and players I really like to do well and they did, but quite frankly nobody ever admits it — and maybe I just did — but I wasn’t exactly pulling for them because it would have validated me losing my job.”

Boudreau was fired by the Capitals in November after a tumultuous stint in Washington that included plenty of regular-season success but repeated playoff disappointment.

Along the way the Caps went from playing a run-and-gun style to practically the opposite end of the spectrum under Boudreau’s replacement, Dale Hunter.

Purely from an X’s and O’s standpoint, Washington’s been a fascinating team to watch the past few seasons. (Not to mention all the other drama.)

Come to think of it, one of the many unfortunate aspects of the NHL lockout is that we still don’t know how the Caps will play under new head coach Adam Oates.

Related: Alex Ovechkin ready for offense under Oates

Hurricanes GM had “a relatively long conversation” with Boudreau before signing Semin

Alex Semin

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford didn’t take the decision to sign Semin to a one-year, $7 million contract lightly.

Rutherford first voiced his hesitation when it came to Semin back in early July.

“We would look at Semin on a short-term basis,” Rutherford said at the time. “We wouldn’t want to get locked in to anything, because we’ve all heard the stories about him.”

Ultimately, Semin agreed to the short-term contract that the Hurricanes GM was looking for, but not before Rutherford had done some considerable research. According to a report from Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington, the process involved contacting former Washington Capitals head coach and current Anaheim Ducks bench boss Bruce Boudreau.

“I remember having a relatively long conversation with Bruce Boudreau, his former coach, at the [June 22, 23] draft,” Rutherford said. “That was the start of us really doing our homework leading to this signing.”

Rutherford and his staff sought out other former coaches, players, and scouts that had come into contact with Semin.

“You get different reviews from different people,” Rutherford said, “but certainly the positives much out-weighed any people that had a negative experience with him.”

Semin has seen his stock drop significantly over the last couple of years, but he’s still not far removed from his 40-goal, 84-point season. Carolina will provide him with a new opportunity and a fresh start. If he takes advantage of it, his next contract will probably be very big.