Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler reached out to former coach Bruce Boudreau shortly after a story was published in The Province where Kesler seemed to indirectly criticize Boudreau’s coaching.
According to Boudreau, Kesler said the story did not accurately reflect Kesler’s feelings about his old coach.
“I’ll tell you about that OK, because I didn’t read anything. And Kes texted me the next day and he said he was really upset because the reporters took everything out of context and said ‘they didn’t put anything in on the praise I laid on you,’” Boudreau said in a recent phone interview with Puck Daddy. “I still haven’t read what he said or anything, but the fact that he reached out (and said) what was reported isn’t exactly what he felt, I’m comfortable with that. I thought he played very hard for me and he was great. I had no complaints for him. I’m not going to say anything negative about Ryan Kesler – ever.”
The story said Kesler was asked what type of coach the Ducks needed.
“We just need a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods,” Kesler said. “We need a coach that holds everybody accountable — not just certain guys. We need a coach to come in and just be a good motivator and do what a coach does.”
Added Kesler, “The biggest thing is we need a good bench coach for strategies. But it’s not my job to pick a coach because there are a lot of good ones out there.”
Kesler was often praiseworthy of Boudreau during their time together and the coach and player often seemed to get along. In Anaheim, Boudreau used Kesler as the team’s matchup second-line center – but never slowed down the pivot’s offense. He led the team in average penalty kill ice-time at 2:45 per-game but also had 2:02 of power play ice-time per-game. Kesler won 58.5 percent of his faceoffs last season and had 53 points. He’s a finalist for the Selke Trophy.
“I think he was a coach who really cared about you as a player and as a person. I think that's rare to find nowadays, a coach who cares about you as a person and every day ask you how your day was the day before. I think he's a quality guy,” Kesler said the day after Boudreau’s firing. “To see him fired, it sucks. At the end of the day, he was our leader and our coach and he took the fall for us.”
That day Kesler also said, “I think the onus goes on us” as to why Boudreau was fired.
Boudreau said he still pays attention to the Ducks and their offseason but that’s just because of his emotional nature.
On Tuesday the Wild hired Hockey Hall of Fame player Scott Stevens as an assistant coach, and Wednesday the team announced it had hired John Anderson as another assistant.
“This whole summer is going to be crazy. We moved to Hershey, now we have to move to Minnesota, half our furniture is all over the place,” he said. “My poor wife is in Anaheim right now waiting for the movers. It’s not going to be – you have to learn a whole new regimen of people and the ways they work and act and I still have to talk to most of the players.”
But Boudreau was happy that he threw out a solid first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game last month.
“It was a 30 mph slider,” he said. “It didn’t bounce and that’s all I care about.”
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