Arizona Coyotes v Anaheim Ducks

Ducks’ Boudreau has ‘all the faith’ in Andersen

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Frederik Andersen made it through about half of the Anaheim Ducks’ thrilling win against Los Angeles before getting pulled, but head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t flinch about giving the young goalie a chance to redeem himself.

Boudreau told the OC Register that Andersen has his confidence, and almost as importantly, will get the start against Los Angeles on Saturday.

“I have all the faith in the world in Freddie,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes stuff happens. If it’s a forward, you’d never notice it. But as a goalie, you notice it.”

Andersen, 25, made it through about half of Wednesday’s eventual win against the Kings before getting the hook in favor of veteran backup Jason LaBarbera. Andersen remarked that the last goal he allowed was like something he hasn’t yielded since his teenage years:

When it was clear that John Gibson would be on the shelf for quite some time, it seemed like an opening for Andersen to cement his hold on the Ducks’ contested No. 1 spot.

Instead, he hasn’t won a game since returning from his own injury issues on Nov. 7, although it’s fair to say that his abbreviated start against Los Angeles was really his only truly bad outing in November. While it’s partially out of necessity, it’s probably wise of Boudreau to give Andersen a chance to put that tough night behind him, especially against the same team that chased him.

Boudreau has every reason to throw his support behind Andersen … at least until Gibson’s healthy again.

‘Obviously, our defense has gotten better,’ says Ducks coach Boudreau

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Bruce Boudreau knows the statistics. And the numbers are pretty clear: good defensive teams win Stanley Cups. Bad, or even mediocre ones, have a much tougher time.

The Ducks coach is, therefore, happy to see his team allowing the fifth-fewest goals per game (1.90) in the NHL.

“Obviously, our defense has gotten better,” said Boudreau, per the LA Times. “If you look at teams that have won the Cup, they’re high in the defensive standings — L.A. was the best defensive team last year, won the Cup. Chicago before that, won it. When Boston won … there’s definitely a trend there.”

In fact, the last Cup-winning team that didn’t rank highly in goals against during the regular season was the 2008-09 Penguins (17th, 2.84).

While the Ducks may not have a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman like Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith or Zdeno Chara, they do have a good mix of young talent and veteran experience on the back end. Plus, they added a former Selke Trophy recipient in Ryan Kesler, and they’ve received excellent goaltending from Frederik Andersen and John Gibson (Tuesday in Chicago, especially).

The Ducks could still be better defensively, as evidenced by the 29.3 shots per game they’re allowing. That ranks them right around the middle of the NHL. Their possession stats are only mediocre as well.

But with all the firepower and finishing ability they boast up front, the Ducks may not have to be the best defensive team. Assuming they keep burying a high percentage of their chances and the goaltending holds up, above average may suffice in order to take a serious run at the Cup.

Anaheim is in St. Louis to play the Blues tonight.

Goals against of past five Stanley Cup champs
2013-14 Kings (1st, 2.05)
2012-13 Blackhawks (1st, 2.02)
2011-12 Kings (2nd, 2.07)
2010-11 Bruins (2nd, 2.30)
2009-10 Blackhawks (6th, 2.48)

Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau

Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven
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In many cases when a player (or celebrity) feels the heat about controversial comments, they claim that they’ve been misquoted. But what happens when those heated quotes come from your own book, as was the case with Teemu Selanne slamming Bruce Boudreau?

Selanne probably did the right thing, as the Ducks passed along his apologetic reactions:

“In the book, I tried to explain honestly what happened last year,” Selanne said. “In frustration, I made several comments following our Game 7 loss to the Kings that I shouldn’t have said.”

“As I’ve said many times, Bruce is a nice guy, but we simply had a different view on my role with the Ducks. I’m sorry if I hurt Bruce or anyone else, that was not my intent.”

Earlier today, Boudreau admitted that he was a “little disappointed” by Selanne’s comments but he also understands why a player with such an outstanding track record of success would be frustrated by a reduced role that sometimes resulted in being a healthy scratch.

Ducks GM Bob Murray believes that it’s as much a testament to Selanne’s competitiveness as anything else:

For what it’s worth, Jonas Hiller also piled on Boudreau, though it’s hard not to view his comments as “sour grapes.”

Ultimately, it’s probably not wise to weigh the comments of aggrieved players too heavily, especially considering the fact that such events only took place months ago. Both Hiller and Selanne would probably admit that they weren’t at their best last season. (Maybe.)

Ryan Getzlaf spoke diplomatically about trying to back up his teammates while also keeping the peace with his coach:

In the end, everyone must move on, whether that be in their careers or in their lives in general.

One can imagine that complaints about Boudreau won’t be quite as amplified if he can finally manage to convert impressive regular season successes to better postseason outputs.

Selanne rips Boudreau in book

Teemu Selanne
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Teemu Selanne will go down as one of the greatest players of his generation, but his playing time declined significantly in the shortened 2013 campaign and even further last season. That could be written off as just a byproduct of the fact that he was 43 years old by the time he hung up his skates, but that doesn’t mean he took the reduced role lightly.

In a Finnish biography that Selanne collaborated on, the future Hall of Famer argued that Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau “was not appreciative of me one iota” and he felt humiliated by the decision to make him a healthy scratch for the fourth game of Anaheim’s 2014 first round series against the Dallas Stars, per the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s over. I don’t even want to talk about the whole thing,” Selanne said back in April after being scratched. “I told Bruce it’s a new day, the series starts now. There are no hard feelings.”

What we know now is that it was a different story in private. Selanne had been promised a larger role after leading Finland to a bronze medal in the Olympics, but that didn’t last long. He then confronted Boudreau after being scratched and that marked the last time the two spoke. It’s worth adding that Selanne considers their differences to be hockey-related rather than personal.

Los Angeles narrowly beat Anaheim in the second round and afterwards Kings Coach Darryl Sutter reached out to tell Selanne that, for Los Angeles’ sake, he was glad Selanne’s playing time was limited.

Some more interesting notes:

Boudreau gets contract extension; now it’s time to deliver

Bruce Boudreau
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Bruce Boudreau has some additional financial security heading into the 2014-15 season. The Anaheim Ducks have extended his contract two years, guaranteeing the head coach a paycheck through 2016-17.

“Bruce has done a very good job over the last several years, and deserves the opportunity to take this team deep into the playoffs,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray in a statement. “We’re happy to have this contract complete before training camp, so our complete focus can be on winning hockey games.”

Boudreau is an impressive 312-143-62 as an NHL coach. The former Capitals bench boss, hired by Anaheim after being fired by Washington in 2011, said in a statement that he is “determined not only to win, but to do it here, for this organization that has treated me so well. I can’t wait for training camp to get started.”

Now the pressure’s on Boudreau to deliver. With an extended contract, plus the addition of center Ryan Kesler, the Ducks head into the season with Stanley Cup aspirations, but also with just two playoff series victories since winning it all in 2007.