Things are not going well in the world of Bruce Boudreau. The head coach has returned to the playoffs and once again has his back to the wall.
His Minnesota Wild dropped their third straight game against the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The team is facing a ‘must win’ Game 4 on Wednesday or be swept out of the playoffs.
After the 3-1 loss on Sunday afternoon, Boudreau sat down for his post-game presser with the media. As the video above shows, it did not go well.
[UPDATE: Original video by the Wild is below. We added the NHL press conference video above.]
The Wild first post the video of the press conference to their Twitter account. They made an intentional hard cut at the end to leave out the part where Boudreau ends the presser.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) April 16, 2017
Boudreau gets into a terse exchange with a reporter over an innocuous line of questioning. It has to make you think if Boudreau is taking a page out of John Tortorella’s handbook. He behaves somewhat childishly in front of the media. The story is no longer the Wild struggling, it’s even more emphasis placed on Boudreau and his role in it.
Consider the back and forth Boudreau engaged in before leaving:
Reporter: What needs to be fixed on the power play? [There were] many turnovers in the zone…
Boudreau: That’s one thing that needs to be fixed. We have one practice to do it in. We’ll try to do it.
Reporter: Do you feel as if [Ryan] Suter trying too hard?
Boudreau: No. I don’t feel that.
Reporter: What was [Suter’s] issue on the power play?
Boudreau: I don’t know. I’ll have to look at the video and see it.
Reporter: The decision to put in [Ryan] White, and that line, do you feel like they were an issue tonight at all?
Boudreau: They were good. Don’t you think?
Reporter: Well, I mean, the first period, the penalties of Ryan Suter came off of two-on-ones…
Boudreau: Uh huh.
Reporter: …you know?
Boudreau: But I mean, if you’re looking for me to criticize our team it’s not gonna happen. We were friggin’ good tonight. We didn’t get the breaks. So quit trying to put words in our mouths and make us look like we’re bad. ‘Cus we’re not…That’s it. [Walks out]
A couple things.
The reporter’s column is clearly about Ryan Suter’s performance in the game. Questioning the coach on a player’s performance isn’t something they aren’t used. Usually Bruce will give an honest assessment and won’t just rely on the film.
For the record: Suter had seven shots on goal, three attempts blocked, and picked up an assist in an always incredible 24:05 TOI. He had two penalties in the first period; neither of which resulted in a power play goal by the Blues.
The question about Ryan White and the re-involvement of Suter in the question appears to be what set him off. Yet, again, it was a pretty standard question for the coach. Boudreau takes it a step further by ending the press conference.
This is a move Boudreau pulled back in March. The Wild nearly rallied for a win against the Jets, but wound up losing their fifth straight game. In the post game, Boudreau abruptly ends his post game comments after half a minute.
[W]hen asked after the game if the big second-period comeback showed a resiliency that was reason for optimism, Boudreau bristled.
“Hey, listen, we stunk in the first,” he said during postgame comments that lasted 28 seconds. “We’d better come back in the second. Holy crap, it’s not resiliency. You’re making us sound like we’re good. That’s … I’m done.”
The focus the next day was all about Boudreau and what he did; not that the Wild dropped a season-high fifth straight loss.
The following game, the Wild beat the San Jose Sharks.
If I’ve learned anything about covering Boudreau from his time in Anaheim, it’s that he’ll try whatever has given him a successful result in the past.
That’s probably his thinking here. If he can move the spotlight from the struggling team to some silly press conference stunt, then he’s accomplished his goal.
He also unintentionally gave himself a boost in the distraction department when he referred to Wednesday’s Game 4 as a … wait for it … “Game 7.”
Oof. Poor choice of words. But hey, at least the game isn’t at home?
The Wild aren’t playing great in the series. A BIG, BIIIIIG part of that is Jake Allen. As Jeremy Rutherford reported, Allen’s stats for the series are at deity-levels: 114 of 117 saves for a .974 save-percentage and a 0.91 goals-against average.
No wonder the Wild are struggling. No temper tantrum is going to solve that.