Written by: Tomas Morgan
In the world of hockey, some names become legends, not just for their exceptional skills on the ice, but for their enduring dedication to the game. Bruce Boudreau, a man who has spent over four decades in the hockey world, is undeniably one of those legends. Two years ago, on Episode #100, Bruce Boudreau candidly shared his thoughts on his illustrious career, memorable moments, and the evolution of the sport he holds so dear.
When asked how it feels to be considered a legend in the hockey world, Boudreau humbly chuckled and replied, "I'm not a legend by any stretch of the imagination." He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to spend his entire life in the sport he loves. For Boudreau, it's not about being a legend; it's about doing what he's passionate about, day in and day out.
Reflecting on his early love for hockey, Boudreau revealed that he never wavered in his determination to be part of the game. He vividly remembers telling his dad that he wanted to be a hockey player when he grew up, a dream that he relentlessly pursued.
With a successful career that includes coaching in both the NHL and AHL, Boudreau was asked if there was anything he would change. He humorously recalled a pivotal moment when he put Ryan Getzlaf on the ice against Chicago's Jonathan Toews, resulting in two goals for Toews and Chicago's path to the Stanley Cup final. Although he wished he could change that decision, he acknowledged that it's all part of the game, and he wouldn't trade his hockey journey for anything.
Transitioning from playing to coaching, Boudreau credits his success to being a "hockey nerd." People would often turn to him for answers about the sport, and this knowledge served as the foundation for his coaching career. His decision to leave playing for coaching came when he received a three-year coaching offer from Muskegon. This leap proved pivotal as he moved on to coach various teams, including AHL and ECHL teams, before joining the Washington Capitals organization, where he secured his first Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears.
Boudreau has witnessed significant changes in hockey over his 40+ years in the sport. He noted that players today are not only bigger, stronger, and faster but also more dedicated and talented. Unlike his playing days when players took summer breaks, modern players train year-round and commit their lives to hockey from an early age. The evolution of player-coach relationships and the advancements in medical staff and equipment have also been notable shifts.
During the podcast, Boudreau shared an inspiring story about the remarkable Alex Ovechkin. He recalled coaching a young Ovechkin, who was initially all offense. One game, Ovechkin cut his leg open on a skate, requiring 25 stitches. Despite the injury, Ovechkin declared, "I play tonight," and went on to score four goals the next game. Boudreau recognized that sometimes when the good outweighs the bad, you have to let certain things go. Ovechkin's incredible talent was undeniable.
As the conversation turned to superstitions, Boudreau admitted that he is, to a certain extent, superstitious. He explained that superstitions are often routines for athletes, a way to stay focused and maintain their mental edge in the game.
Boudreau dove into many more stories throughout the interview about his coaching career. He imparts wisdom to the next generation of athletes and explains some of the biggest misconceptions in pro hockey.
Episode #100 of The Athletes Podcast featuring Bruce Boudreau can be listened to on