Bruce Boudreau is back to doing things his own way. In an interview with the Washington Post, the former Capitals coach admitted the approach he took during his final season in Washington went against his instincts.
“You’ve got to be true to yourself,” he told the Post. “I found that I was getting away from that this year. People were saying, ‘Do this’ and ‘Do that.’ I wasn’t doing what I believed was the right thing.”
It’s hardly surprising that Boudreau, now the head coach in Anaheim, began to doubt his methods. When the Caps repeatedly didn’t get the results in the playoffs, it was only natural to wonder if the critics were right.
That’s not to say the critics were necessarily wrong. For example, maybe the Capitals do need a disciplinarian type like Dale Hunter in charge. But in Boudreau’s case, a nice guy can’t just morph into a tough guy overnight. It’s not natural. It comes across as desperate. Players sense that.
There were other areas where Boudreau began to doubt himself, according to the Post:
Boudreau said he would leave the rink second-guessing his day-to-day decisions, from alignments to deciding the best roles for players. He declined to elaborate further on what caused him to question his convictions.
It’s not clear whether he regrets reigning in the Capitals’ free-wheeling ways, but it’s worth noting he’s been preaching defense since arriving in Anaheim. The Ducks have allowed just seven goals in their last five games — four of them victories — so maybe the message is getting through.
At any rate, Boudreau’s affable manner has been a welcome one for Ducks players, who apparently weren’t feeling the love from their old coach, Randy Carlyle.
“From the moment [Boudreau] got here he started asking us questions,” Teemu Selanne said. “ ‘How’s the family? What’s going on at home?’ I don’t think a lot of coaches do that; that’s something new for me, but I think it’s a very important part. He doesn’t ask just to ask. I sense he really wants to know, and that’s a great thing as we try to turn things around. He’s so positive and such a good teacher. It’s kind of wrong we haven’t given him more back yet.”
Added Bobby Ryan: “I’ve had more conversations with him in however many games it’s been than I’ve had [with other coaches] in years, and that’s really rubbed off on me because you gain confidence when you can air things out with the coach.”