Bruce Boudreau was on the ice for Anaheim Ducks practice on Friday.
This is significant for two reasons:
1. The Ducks have the worst record (1-7-2) and the worst offense (1 goal per game) in the NHL at the moment, with a goal differential of minus-17 and after having picked up one point in five games on their recent road trip.
2. The Ducks' next game is Sunday, Nov. 1. Which meant if GM Bob Murray was going to fire Boudreau, a two-day gap before the next game would have seemed like the opportune time.
But again, Boudreau was on the ice, running practice; and Murray gave his coach and his staff a … well, if not a vote of confidence, a vote of “I’m not blowing this thing up based on a bad 10-game stretch."
“I really don’t like commenting on rumors, but I will say this: We were one game away from the Final just five months ago. So while this has been a terrible start, I’m not inclined to make rash changes. I’m going to be patient. That said, we are severely underperforming as a group. I can’t recall a time where a vast majority of our players have underachieved simultaneously, and I fully expect a turnaround.”
As Eric Stephens notes, there are some signs of hope for the Ducks lately. The last 40 minutes of the Dallas Stars game notwithstanding, the Ducks played well in Chicago and St. Louis.
Ryan Kesler sounded a note of optimism on Friday, saying: "Every day is a new day. We know the challenge we face. But we've found our identity as a team, and we've seen good signs."
Team captain Ryan Getzlaf, meanwhile, reiterated that the team hasn’t tuned out Boudreau like they did to Randy Carlyle in his last days.
So Boudreau appears to have a stay of execution, which is the kind of calm and rational response we didn’t expect from Murray. Let’s see if this patience is rewarded with wins.
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