ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 21:  Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on during the third period of a game against the Calgary Flames at Honda Center on February 21, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Kesler approached Boudreau after comments seemed to criticize ex-Ducks coach

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Ryan Kesler sounded like he was indirectly taking swipes at former Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau during a recent interview with The Province, but he insists that wasn’t the case.

“(Kesler) texted me the next day and he said he was really upset because the reporters took everything out of context and said ‘they didn’t put anything in on the praise I laid on you,’” Boudreau said, per Yahoo Sports.

For the record, this is the Kesler quote in question:

“We just need a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods. We need a coach that holds everybody accountable — not just certain guys. We need a coach to come in and just be a good motivator and do what a coach does.

“The biggest thing is we need a good bench coach for strategies. But it’s not my job to pick a coach because there are a lot of good ones out there.”

What Kesler said about holding everyone accountable stands out in particular as Ducks GM Bob Murray spoke about the core players needing to be held accountable after he dismissed Boudreau. That was a problem that Murray seemed to have with the core throughout the campaign as he criticized returning players back in December for deciding that “training for this season was optional.”

Either way, everyone is moving on with Boudreau taking over as the Minnesota Wild’s head coach.

Taking shots at Bruce Boudreau? Ryan Kesler dishes on what the Ducks need in a new coach

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Ryan Kesler has offered his take on what the Anaheim Ducks need in a new coach.

In doing so, it certainly sounds like the veteran forward also had some criticisms of former Ducks bench boss Bruce Boudreau, and his in-game adjustments or the lack of.

“We just need a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods,” Kesler told The Province newspaper in Vancouver. “We need a coach that holds everybody accountable — not just certain guys. We need a coach to come in and just be a good motivator and do what a coach does.

“The biggest thing is we need a good bench coach for strategies. But it’s not my job to pick a coach because there are a lot of good ones out there.”

Boudreau lost his job after the Ducks were eliminated in the first round of these playoffs, marking another post-season disappointment for the franchise. His time on the open market was brief, as the Minnesota Wild hired him eight days later.

Meanwhile, the Ducks are still searching for his replacement.

It was previously reported that the Ducks had interest in Travis Green, who coaches the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.

Related: Ducks get Sens’ permission to interview Richardson

Bruce Boudreau threw a backdoor breaking ball for a strike at last night’s Twins game

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 19: Head coach Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild delivers a ceremonial pitch before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays on May 19, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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We already mentioned in the Morning Skate that new Wild coach Bruce Boudreau threw out the first pitch at last night’s Twins game at Target Field. However, we didn’t provide any video, which you can now see below.

In his typical self-deprecating style, Boudreau called the experience “more nerve racking than coaching a Game 7.” (Because, you see, he does not have a very good record coaching Game 7s.)

But credit to the crafty lefty because he shook off the nerves and got the ball across the plate.

And as you can see, he even put “a little stuff on it”:

Boudreau doesn’t believe superstars are needed to win

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Bruce Boudreau has coached some pretty good players in his time behind an NHL bench.

In fact, he’s coached some of the best.

In Washington, there was Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. In Anaheim, it was Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

But with all due respect to those guys, the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild doesn’t think superstars are an absolute requirement to win the Stanley Cup.

“As much as I like Ovechkin and Getzlaf and Perry, you don’t need those guys to win,” Boudreau said today, per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.

“You can do it the old-fashioned way. You do it as a team,” he added, per Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune.

At the risk of discounting the importance of coming together and working as a cohesive unit, recent history disagrees with Boudreau’s notion. The last team to win the Cup without a genuine superstar was…ummm… the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006?

And to buy that argument, you’d have to believe that Eric Staal, who finished seventh in league scoring with 100 points that season, wasn’t a superstar back then. (Sidney Crosby, for comparison’s sake, had 102 points.)

Now, granted, it’s not like the Wild are completely bereft of stars. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter may be on the wrong side of 30 now, but they remain very effective players. Suter just completed the best offensive season of his career, with 51 points in 82 games.

The real point that Boudreau was trying to make — and perhaps it was mostly a motivational ploy — is that the team is more important than the individual, and also that his experience can help put Minnesota over the top.

On Sunday, Boudreau told NHL Network that he thinks the Wild “can win in the next two years.”

With that sort of timeline, he understands the pressure is very much on. His new job isn’t like the “massive, massive challenge” that Mike Babcock accepted in Toronto. The expectations in Minnesota are to win, and win now.

“I’ve been in the business a long time, and we’re in a winning business,” Boudreau said, per NHL.com.

“So you have to win.”

Related: With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

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When the Minnesota Wild announced they’d agreed to terms with Bruce Boudreau, they made sure to note the great records he had in Washington (201-88-40) and Anaheim (208-104-40).

In the first paragraph of the press release, it mentioned how Boudreau became the fastest coach in NHL history to reach the 400-win mark and how he leads all active NHL coaches in winning percentage.

The Wild were not wrong to highlight all that. They’d just spent a lot of money on a new coach, and a 409-192-80 record is definitely something to be trumpeted.

That being said, what the press release didn’t mention is all the talent that Boudreau had been lucky enough to coach in his two previous NHL stops. When he took over in Washington, Alex Ovechkin was just entering his third season, and Nicklas Backstrom was only a rookie. When he got hired by Anaheim, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were still a few years away from 30.

In that sense, what he’s got now in Minnesota is different. The two core guys, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, are each 31 years old. The captain, Mikko Koivu, is 33. Those three can still play — they were the Wild’s top three scorers during the regular season — but hockey players don’t typically get better in their 30s.

It’s why questions like the following are being asked in the local newspaper:

In retrospect, would a coach like Boudreau have been a better fit four years ago — a year after Yeo was hired, when the Wild made a bold push forward by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter — than he is now?

That is to say, do you have more confidence that the Wild’s window for winning a championship was wider in the past four years than it will be in the next four based on roster construction — including the fact that Parise and Suter will both be 32 by the middle of next season?

Fair questions, both of them. Unfortunately, time machines don’t exist, making them tough to answer.

But considering the aging core, perhaps Boudreau’s biggest challenge will be to take the young players on the roster — guys like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter, Jonas Brodin, and Matt Dumba — and make them even better. Because for all the talk about making the Wild “accountable,” the real upside on most teams is found in their youth.

To illustrate, take a team like San Jose, where Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are each 36 years old. While those two can still play, a big reason for the Sharks’ success has been 27-year-old Logan Couture, their second-line center. Without him, where they would be? The answer is, probably not where they are right now.

So, can Coyle reach the level that Couture has reached? It’s a big ask, we realize that. But the Wild, as Thomas Vanek so helpfully pointed out in September, “don’t have maybe the strongest depth in the middle.”

Depth down the middle wasn’t the issue in Anaheim, where Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler are the top two centers. 

Boudreau won’t have that luxury in Minnesota.

For that reason, and a few more, turning the Wild around might be his toughest task yet.

Related: In Minnesota, skepticism greets Fletcher’s optimism