This is Bruce’s O-face.
While the lockout drags on, the Anaheim Ducks keep publishing episodes of their series, Bruce Boudreau: Uncensored (kind of). The premise is simple: sit Bruce in a chair, ask him open-ended questions about his illustrious coaching and playing career, and then wait for him to say something funny. That’s good content if you ask me, but then again I’m the guy who wrote a 1,500-word epic about the time Bruce wore John Walton’s pants during a game.
The Ducks recently published episode four, wherein Bruce goes into detail about the day he was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals. And we’re reminded once more that despite his age and experience, Boudreau is still just a big kid.
What was your first day as an NHL coach like?
The funny thing about that was: I was phoned at 6:30 in the morning by George McPhee. He said, “You’re going to become the coach in Washington.” And like, who phones me at 6:30 in the morning? First, you think about your kids. Is something wrong?
I’m sitting there going like this [pumps fist, holding hand over his mouth]. Jumping up and down. Then [my wife and I] tell my son Brady, who’s about 8-years-old at the time. And then my wife, my son, and me start jumping up and down on the bed like two-year-olds, which I thought was pretty cool.
And then I was so nervous, he said, “you have to be here for practice at 10:30. Come down to Washington right away.” So it’s a two-hour drive, and I’ve been there dozens of times… and I got lost.
I was just thinking [to myself], “I’m going to be late. I’m going to be late for the first practice.” I was phoning everybody and their brother. “Where do I go from here? Where do I go from here?”
So it was quite a nerve-racking thing just getting there.
Then the first person I saw was Brooks Laich, who I had coached the previous two years. And he said, “well, what are you doing here?”
And I said, “Uh, ah, I don’t know yet.”
You know, it just stumbled out of ya. I didn’t know what to say. So it was an adventure the first day.
George told me just to coach. Then you have to go into the dressing room and address the players. It was all happening so fast. And I’m walking around talking to the players and I go, “Oh my god, that’s Alex Ovechkin. There’s Olie Kolzig.” You know, guys that you’ve watched for years playing who are superstars. It sorta dawned on you where you really were.
It was a pretty interesting time.
This man then led the Capitals to the playoffs for the first time in five years and won the Jack Adams trophy as coach of the year after the season.
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