This may just turn out to be a day Minnesota Wild fans never forget. Especially if new head coach Bruce Boudreau eventually leads the State of Hockey to the Stanley Cup.
One former player told me that Boudreau is a "money" hire, meaning all the 61-year-old coach has done is win nearly three of every four games he's coached at the NHL level. Boudreau is 409-192-80 in 10 seasons with Washington and most recently the Anaheim Ducks.
Ample praise for Boudreau
Boudreau's getting a lot of praise from inside and outside the Minnesota. The Star Tribune writes about Boudreau's likability and the strong relationships that have helped build his solid career. USA Today heaped praise on the hire, calling Boudreau a "perfect fit" for the Wild.
"Boudreau's strength is his ability to motivate. He inspires players to perform at a high level because they respect him and they don’t want to let him down. He plays the curmudgeon role for comedic impact. He’s 61, and yet he seems to relate to players better than many other coaches. Everyone likes talking to Boudreau."
Boudreau has made it clear he'll get to work immediately, watching Wild games, visiting with team insiders and most importantly, meeting one-on-one with as many players as he can get find.
Boudreau won't have to work very hard to win over fans. He played in the league for eight seasons with Chicago and Toronto, and he's spent more than 30 years coaching in hockey's minor leagues before his professional journey began.
“When Bruce became available, it changed the landscape,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told Sirius XM NHL Radio this week. “My obligation is to find the best guy, and guys like Bruce don’t come around every day.”
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Boudreau insists he's never forgotten those days and with little hair on his head and an AARP card in his wallet, Boudreau says that's why he's still hungry – with the ultimate goal of hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup on Minnesota Wild ice.
We'll learn a lot more about Boudreau's plan of action when he's introduced to Minnesota at noon today.