Boudreau: In postseason, 'everything has to go right. ... Not everything went right for us.'
ST. PAUL—Catching a glimpse of a red-faced Bruce Boudreau isn't uncommon during the regular season. He stands on his perch from behind the Wild bench and voices his displeasure whenever he sees fit.
But there is a softer side to the 63-year-old coach, and it shines through during events like the second annual Wild On The Water on Mille Lacs Lake over the weekend. Like a true Minnesotan, he got out of the water for a few hours and exchanged pleasantries with dozens of Wild fans before trekking back to the Twin Cities.
"It was an absolutely magnificent day," Boudreau said. "It was great out there. This whole thing was great to be a part of."
As for his fishing skills, Boudreau credited most of his boat's success to well-known TV host Ron Schara.
"He was really good," Boudreau said. "Not so much for me. I got nothing. Not even a nibble."
After nearly five hours in the sun, a red-faced Bruce Boudreau caught up with reporters to talk about the offseason. As much as he was enjoying a relaxing day away from the rink, it took only about 10 seconds to get him going about everything that has happened since his team bowed out of the playoffs with a 4-1, first-round loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
Q: It's been about three months since the Wild were knocked out of the playoffs. You bored yet?
A: Yeah. I'm always thinking about hockey and the fact that it's right around the corner. You're never too far away from it. We have three (Golden Horseshoe Hockey Schools) that we have to do in the next six weeks. and then everything starts up again. It's all good.
Q: You weren't even close to full strength in the postseason. Ryan Suter broke his ankle in the last week of the regular season; Zach Parise fractured his sternum midway through the first round. How much do the "what-ifs" make the early exit tougher to stomach?
A: We always talk about how everything has to go right, and if everything goes right for a team, it usually wins. Not everything went right for us in the postseason. We went in with as good a chance as any team, at least I thought so.
Q: GM Paul Fenton added tons depth to the bottom of the lineup on July 1. What are the initial impressions of the free-agent class?
A: I like our team. I've told Paul that many times. I really like what we did.
Q: When (owner) Craig Leipold decided not to retain (former GM) Chuck Fletcher, he talked about how he didn't think the roster was good enough. Is that accurate? Does this team need tweaks to get over the hump?
Well, I think everybody needs to tweak. I don't know if there's any team that's going to 100 percent stand pat. Trying to improve is what everybody does in the offseason, and I think we've done that.
Q: What's the level of concern with Ryan Suter's ankle? There were initial reports that it could be a career-threatening injury.
A: There's always going to be concerns until he's back skating. He says he's going to be OK, and I'm going to hope for that.
Q: Joel Eriksson Ek really struggled to find the back of the net last season. How bad does the team need someone like him to take his game to the next level?
A: He's going to make the jump. He's a really good player. I'm not worried about him at all.
Q: Who else needs to take that next step?
A: I think people are going to be surprised by Jordan Greenway. I think if Zach Parise is healthy for the entire season, we'll finally see him play the way he plays. I think Charlie Coyle being healthy will improve us a lot, and so will Nino Niederrieter being healthy. If we're healthy, we're a really good team.
Q: What was it like watching from afar as Alex Ovechkin make a run at the Stanley Cup?
A: I would've liked to see him do it eight years ago (when Boudreau was the Capitals' coach). He waited a little too long as far as I'm concerned. It was fun. Just seeing him and (Nicklas Backstrom) and the emotion that they showed was great.