Why a Bruce Boudreau Capitals homecoming makes perfect sense

Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals should 100 percent bring back Bruce Boudreau. I’m not just saying that because his press conferences are entertaining. I’m not just saying that because of his choice words to fire up the team in the locker room is what helps me get ready for work or write articles.

I’m saying it because he’s the perfect guy who can help Alex Ovechkin and company finish the job.

Boudreau’s early coaching career saw him lead the Hershey Bears to a Calder Cup. When the Caps fired Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving Day in 2007, they made the call up to Chocolatetown to bring in Bruce. He helped lead the fastest turnaround of a team in NHL history.

When Hanlon was canned the Caps were in the bottom of the Southeast Division. In Bruce’s first game as the Caps bench boss it was Nicklas Backstrom’s overtime goal against the Philadelphia Flyers which began the hot streak.

He was the fastest Caps coach to his first 30 wins. His first season saw him go 37-17-7 for 81 points which helped catapult the Caps to the playoffs and made their games the hottest ticket in town.

Boudreau then went 50-24-8 for 108 points to lead the Caps to another Southeast Division title. The next year the Caps won the President’s Trophy as the team went 54-15-13 for 121 points.

The next year Boudreau went 48-23-11 for 107 points in what would turn out to be his final full season in D.C. Nobody knew it at the time. He was back the next year in 2011-12 but after winning the first seven games of the season the team got cold and Boudreau and the Caps parted ways in late November after 22 games. Boudreau was 12-9-1.

While Boudreau had regular season success it didn’t carry over into the playoffs except twice in the first round. But that wasn’t on him. That’s just a Capitals thing.

Those first round victories came in 2009 over the New York Rangers where the team rallied from a 3-1 series deficit and then in 2011 in a rematch with the Rangers where the Caps dominated in five games. What’s crazy is they got swept by a Tampa Bay Lightning team that barely beat a Pittsburgh Penguins team in the previous round without Sidney Crosby.

Of course no playoff series loss was worse than the Caps coughing up a 3-1 series lead to a Montreal Canadiens team that was eighth seeded and barley made the playoffs.

I’ll let the 2008 loss to the Flyers slide because that was their first time in the playoffs in the Ovi era. 2009 is an exception too since they ran into that good Penguins team.

After Boudreau left the Caps he’s been all around the league. He got hired by the Anaheim Ducks later in that 2011-12 season. He spent five years there. He also spent four seasons with the Minnesota Wild before spending the last two years with the Vancouver Canucks where things unfortunately ended badly.

Overall though Boudreau went 201-88-40 for 442 points in 329 games cached with the Capitals.

Part of Brian MacLellan’s wish list is he wants a coach that will lead the veterans and embrace the youth. Boudreau worked with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom when they were basically kids in the league. Of course it was the beginning of something special back then.

The future was bright. We had young stars and everyone was dreaming of a Stanley Cup. While it took 10 years after that first playoff series in the Rock the Red era, sadly Boudreau wasn’t part of it.

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Let’s make Bruce Boudreau a part of Alex Ovechkin’s last dance. Bring Bruce home.