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Boudreau’s ‘never had a defenseman play the kind of minutes’ Suter does

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The debate about Ryan Suter‘s ice time has been a popular one in Minnesota for years — see here, here, here, here and here for examples.

So, fittingly, the topic was placed in front of new bench boss Bruce Boudreau, as Boudreau discussed his recent hire of Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens as assistant coach.

From the Star-Tribune:

Lots of fans have asked me how Suter has taken to the fact that Boudreau has never had a defenseman average more than 23 or 24 minutes a game.

Boudreau said he has not discussed that with Suter yet.

“It depends how good the rest of the defense is,” Boudreau said. “All I said is my thing is I’ve never had a defenseman play the kind of minutes he plays, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play those kind of minutes.

“It’ll mostly depend on [Stevens]. He’s going to be running the defense. Ryan is one of the best ones out there, so he’ll play a lot. How much? I don’t know. I haven’t been on a bench with him once in my life.”

Boudreau’s never had a d-man average more than 23 to 24 minutes partly because he’s never had a stud defenseman like Suter. The closest was Mike Green during that 2007-09 spell in Washington, when Green was nominated for a pair of Norris Trophies.

Green averaged a shade over 25 minutes per night in those two seasons under Boudreau. That’s plenty of ice time, though noticeably less than Suter, who’s averaged 29:25, 29:04 and 28:36 over the last three seasons.

Looking ahead, there appear to be three big factors at play for the Wild. The first is the fact Suter’s entering his 12th NHL campaign, and will turn 32 during the season. He’s put a lot of miles on the ol’ odometer.

The second is Stevens.

He’s pretty familiar with shouldering heavy workloads. Remember, this is a guy that averaged over 24 minutes a night in his final NHL campaign — when he was 39 years old. Granted, times have changed and the eras are significantly different, but Stevens knows the value of a heavy-minute, shutdown defenseman.

The third? What’s behind Suter.

Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin could probably shoulder a few more minutes here and there, but it’s the younger guys that are more compelling. Minnesota would no doubt love for Mathew Dumba to take a step forward next year, and play more than the 16:50 he averaged this season.

Same goes for Mike Reilly (who only appeared in 29 games) and maybe even Gustav Oloffsson, the Swedish prospect that spent most of last year in AHL Iowa.

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

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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

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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