After firing Boudreau, Ducks GM unloads on core players


When the Ducks were struggling this season, GM Bob Murray took some not-so-thinly veiled shots at the team’s core players.

And after the club’s disappointing first-round playoff exit to Nashville, he was at it again.

The juicy stuff, from today’s presser following the Bruce Boudreau dismissal.

(Video here):

“Let’s face it: I’d like to know where they heck they were in Games 1 and 2. The players are going to have to answer that the next four or five days. Where were they? They showed up in Game 7, but where was the passion, the controlled emotion? Where the heck was that? They’re going to have to be held accountable, too.

“There’s definite concerns in that area, and I think the core has to be held responsible, and they have to be better. Maybe I haven’t been hard enough on them in the last few years, but they’re going to hear some different words this time.”

Murray then shared a few of those “different words” with the assembled media.

If you’re looking for one of the core guys Murray may be referring to, consider Corey Perry.

Having just wrapped the third of an eight-year, $69 million deal with a $8.625M cap hit (that’s a long-term contract, right?), Perry failed to score over the seven-game series against the Preds, and had a team-worst minus-7 rating.

Say what you will about the merits of plus-minus, but minus-7 is minus-7. It’s not good. Hard to see how it could be viewed positively.

Of course, there’s no doubt other core guys are in Murray’s crosshairs. But it’s not just about core guys making big money and failing to produce in crunch time. It’s also about core guys making big money, failing in crunch time and not going anywhere.

Because that affects the futures of the players around them.

Some of Murray’s anger — justifiably — comes with the long-term deals he’s got on the books, and how they’ll likely hamstring the Ducks this summer. He’s already on record saying this will be an “interesting” offseasonHampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Rickard Rakell and Frederik Andersen are all RFAs, and it’s quite conceivable one or two won’t be with back in Anaheim for the start of training camp.

Had the Ducks made a legit playoff run, it would’ve taken the sting away from (potentially) losing players.

But now?

Consider what Murray said about retaining Rakell, who finished fourth on the team in scoring.

“In keeping certain people, other people may have to go,” he explained, per the Associated Press. “That’s what you get forced into. A couple of big contracts get signed, and you end up following because that’s what you get pushed into, and that’s what they expect.

“We are all guilty of that.”

Ducks fire Boudreau


In the end, it was one playoff failure too many.

On Friday, the Ducks reacted to their upset loss to Nashville by doing the expected — relieving head coach Bruce Boudreau of his duties.

“I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication to the franchise,” Ducks GM Bob Murray said in a statement, tweeted out by the club. “This was a very difficult decision to make.

“Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Boudreau, 61, enjoyed tremendous regular-season success in Anaheim — 208-104-40 record over five years — but ultimately paid the price for the club’s playoff failures.

Despite a wealth of talent and repeated home-ice advantage, the Ducks never qualified for a Stanley Cup final and were twice bounced in the opening round. Most damning was the club’s record in Game 7s — Wednesday’s loss to Nashville was the fourth straight Game 7 defeat Anaheim had suffered.

What’s more, it was the fourth time they lost a series in which they led 3-2.

What’s more, it was the fourth Game 7 they lost on home ice.

For Boudreau, this firing will only add to the narrative that’s dogged him throughout his career, dating back to his time in Washington.

Great regular-season coach, not so much in the playoffs.

It’s ultimately unfair and probably too simplistic, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that a coach with an impressive win total — 409, putting him No. 32 all-time — has never competed for the Stanley Cup, and only qualified for one conference final.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see if Boudreau can find work as quickly as the last time he was fired. After getting turfed in Washington, it took him all of two days to be hired by the Ducks, and it’s quite possible Ottawa could now be in the mix for his services.

The Sens are looking for an experienced bench boss, per new GM Pierre Dorion, and have already interviewed ex-Wild head coach Mike Yeo.

Related: Boudreau says this was the Ducks’ toughest loss yet

Boudreau says this was the Ducks’ toughest loss yet


The Anaheim Ducks fought their way to a division title during the same season in which people were calling for Bruce Boudreau’s head.

The Nashville Predators won the first two games of this series in Anaheim, yet the Ducks didn’t dissolve. Instead, they won three straight games to take a 3-2 series lead.

Anaheim could have gone into the fetal position when the Ducks went down 2-0 in the first period in Game 7; instead, they forced a frantic push in an attempt to tie things up.

One viewpoint is to say that the Ducks went down fighting … but none of it really matters to plenty of other people after they fell 2-1 in Game 7.

To many, the Ducks “choked” again. They blew another Game 7 at home and fell short after fostering Stanley Cup expectations.

And the Ducks admit that this might have been the deepest cut of them all.

It likely doesn’t make it any better that they got oh-so-close to winning.

However the Ducks handle the questions about Bruce Boudreau’s future, this is a letdown that will sting for a long time.

Ultimately, the Ducks failed to close out the Predators with two chances, bringing back bad memories of their 2015 series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks … and far too many other bitter pills they’ve had to swallow.

Is this the end of an era? Maybe, maybe not … but this rendition of the Ducks likely never felt lower to end a season.

Boudreau: Ducks were ‘just stupid out there’ in Game 2 loss

Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, back, looks on against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Ducks are in a big hole, having dropped both of their opening-round playoff games — at home, no less — to the Nashville Predators.

And to hear head coach Bruce Boudreau explain it, the club has only itself to blame.

“Too many penalties, for sure,” Boudreau said following his club’s second straight 3-2 loss to the Preds. “We were just stupid out there.”

The Ducks had 12 penalty minutes to Nashville’s four on Sunday night, and received just one power-play opportunity to Nashville’s five. One of the Anaheim’s transgressions proved especially costly — not long after David Perron interfered with Ryan Ellis late in the second period, Shea Weber slammed home what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Boudreau clearly wasn’t happy after the contest and, while he wasn’t pointing fingers, it’s not hard to guess which individuals he was upset with.

Ryan Garbutt took a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty midway through the game, and Corey Perry got nailed for two penalties in a three-minute span in the opening frame. The Ducks also seemed to get frustrated on numerous occasions throughout the night, which could’ve played a role in their lack of discipline.

And it’s that lack of discipline that really irked Boudreau.

“The penalties we take sometimes are just so selfish,” he lamented. “And so dumb.”

Bieksa’s back for the Ducks; Boudreau calls out Perry

Los Angeles Kings' defenseman Jake Muzzin lands a punch on Anaheim Ducks' rightwing Corey Perry during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Los Angeles.  (Michael Goulding/The Orange County Register via AP)   MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

The Anaheim Ducks lost home-ice advantage by falling to the Nashville Predators in Game 1. They’re gaining an important defenseman back for Game 2.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed that Kevin Bieksa will be in the lineup on Sunday.

The rugged blueliner logged 21 minutes per game during the regular season and boasts 71 games of playoff experience on his resume.

Getting a little edgier may be the biggest gain, depending upon who you ask:

Speaking of getting more, Boudreau also called out Corey Perry‘s line before Game 2.


Perry generated an assist and five shots on goal, yet he also suffered a -2 rating in Game 1. That helper also came on the power play, which means it wasn’t the result of that line.

Spreading Anaheim’s wealth around the lineup worked during the regular season, yet you have to wonder if people will clamor for the reunion of Perry and Ryan Getzlaf if the Ducks offense sputters on Sunday.

That situation, Bieksa’s return and the increased pressure on this team gives this Game 2 plenty of sizzle.

Here’s how you can watch the action (and all of Sunday’s games).