Bruce Boudreau has coached some pretty good players in his time behind an NHL bench.
In fact, he’s coached some of the best.
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.”