A general manager publicly throwing his support behind his bench boss, even during difficult times, is fairly common, so it stands out when one passes on the opportunity. That was the case when Ducks GM Bob Murray had the chance to commit to keeping coach Bruce Boudreau.
“Far too early to tell you what I’m thinking. I’ve got lots of thoughts in my mind and I’ve got to sort them out,” Murray told the Los Angeles Times.
The Ducks made it all the way to the Western Conference Final before finally losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, so obviously it’s not hard to find positives. Still, Murray was left bothered by Anaheim’s play, starting with the second period of Game 6 when they allowed three goals.
“We did not react properly whatsoever. All structure — all everything — went right out the window,” Murray said. “Wasn’t impressed by it at all. The unanswered question is still the structure when we get under stressful periods. When you’re not playing well, you have to fall back on your structure. It failed us in a critical moment. That’s what I’m evaluating.”
Intentionally or not — or for that matter, deservingly or not — that plays into the concerns about Boudreau when it comes to high stakes situations. The bench boss has lost more Game 7s (six) than any other coach in NHL history. Anaheim has also been eliminated in that fashion for three straight years.
For his part, Boudreau argued that the record isn’t reflective of anything. As far as he’s concerned, he’s not the one winning or losing those games.
He also suggested that Chicago’s edge in experience was a factor and that’s something Anaheim gained through this run. So to an extent, Anaheim’s issues could be addressed organically. After all, while the Ducks keep losing Game 7s, it’s not as if they’ve been stagnant. They’ve gotten a round further each of the last three years, so an argument could be made that they’re on the right track, even if how the season is tough to swallow.