The Minnesota Wild fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday with the goal of correcting some inconsistencies and making a late-season push for a playoff spot.
First-year general manager Bill Guerin said he felt the timing was right to move on from Boudreau and replace him with interim coach Dean Evason despite the Wild having won seven of their past 11 games. Boudreau was fired in the aftermath of a shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
“It's not just one loss. It's not one week. It's a series of things,” Guerin said at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We have shown that we can be (one of) the best teams in the league or the so-called best teams in the league. I think in some of the tighter game situations we could be a little bit better.”
This is the eighth coaching change in the NHL this season, and Boudreau, a former Komets player and coach, is the sixth fired for team performance reasons. That matches the most for one season in NHL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Minnesota is 27-23-7 and three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 25 games left. Guerin hopes a “new voice” from Evason helps the Wild return to the playoffs.
“This is all a matter of just winning games down the stretch,” Guerin said. “I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot.”
Boudreau, 65, was in his fourth season with the Wild. He had been hired by Chuck Fletcher, who has since been fired and joined Philadelphia as its GM. Boudreau took Minnesota to the playoffs in his first two seasons there.
Boudreau is in his 13th season after previously coaching the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. His team has made the playoffs in 10 of 12 full seasons, and his 567 wins rank 22nd.
Boudreau has done his share of shuffling jobs in a career that dates back to 1992 with the Colonial Hockey League's Muskegon Fury. He was the Komets' coach from 1993 to 1995, making it to the playoff finals his first season and getting fired midway through his second. His son, Ben, is the current Komets' coach.
Evason is in his second season with the Wild after coaching the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals.
Blues' player has surgery
Jay Bouwmeester had surgery Friday to insert a defibrillator to restore his heart's normal rhythm after the St. Louis Blues defenseman collapsed on the bench during a game in Anaheim this week.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said the procedure was performed at the UC Irvine Medical Center. Bouwmeester, 36, will be monitored by a team of specialists at the hospital until he is cleared to return to St. Louis.
Then Bouwmeester will be monitored by doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University.
Bouwmeester had just completed a shift against the Ducks on Tuesday night when he collapsed on the bench. The veteran defenseman was unresponsive and doctors quickly used a defibrillator to restore his heart beat. Bouwmeester also regained consciousness before he was taken by ambulance to an Anaheim hospital.