The Coaches: Ducks’ Bruce Boudreau vs Flames’ Bob Hartley

Coming off a season that couldn’t have looked much different for two teams playing in the same league, early indicators are things could be different for the Ducks and Flames this time around. A year ago, Bruce Boudreau’s Anaheim club claimed the Pacific Division title and re-signed their captain to an eight-year contract. Meanwhile in Calgary, they traded away Jarome Iginla, their long-time captain and face of the franchise, while finishing with the second-worst goal differential in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs yet again.

Since then, you’d be hard pressed to find one expert who thought Bob Hartley’s Flames had done enough to become a playoff contender. Yet, the Flames entered play on Wednesday night without a regulation loss on the young season.

So much for that point though. Boudreau’s Ducks erased the claim with a 3-2 victory and have now won five of their first six games to start the season – a franchise record.

Prior to settling things on the ice, the two coaches shared the following comments…

Boudreau on the Calgary Flames:

“They’re a hard working team that has a lot of confidence right now. Everybody counted them out at the beginning of the year and they defied that, said, ‘To hell with that, we’re a good team’ – and they’ve proven it so far. We realized how hard they worked last year and they didn’t have success, but now looking at tapes and they’re working that hard and having success- they’re going to be a really tough opponent.”

Boudreau on Ducks’ rookie Hampus Lindholm:

“The three games he’s played, he’s been really good. We didn’t know what to except, but he’s been very steady. He’s played with Beauchemin who has done a good job of talking to him a lot. He has really good skill and I think every game, he’s gaining a little bit of confidence.”

Boudreau on if there’s any extra emphasis once the Ducks start playing division opponents:

“I think that it’s never to early to emphasize a division opponent. Every game against them is a four point game and it just so happens that our division, at this point, nobody is losing. San Jose isn’t losing. We have a break with LA and Phoenix not winning yesterday, but it seems like every game… Calgary is undefeated, San Jose is undefeated. It’s going to make it a priority, because we want to be in the top three. It is a deep division, and it’s no doubt that every game is going to be a war.”

Boudreau on if there are any parallels from the start of this season and last:

“If we can maintain it, then there will be a lot of parallels. Right now, I think we were so bad in game 1, we are still in there, getting over it. We were angry, and we’ve played well the last four games. But, it’s a small sample size. We have to be consistently good over ten, fifteen games before you see what the real team is like.”

Boudreau on his goalie rotation:

“I don’t know. I mean, Hiller has been really good the last two games. Viktor was really good in Winnipeg. I think sometimes it’s like pitches in baseball, we look at how they’ve done against that team, and play that goalie. Not to make light of it- we think a lot about who is playing in net and give them ample notice of who is playing. But we are starting with 20 games in 37 days starting tonight, so we need both goalies at that time to be really sharp. So, they will both be playing.”

Boudreau on if the goalies have an extra benefit from more rest in between starts:

“I don’t know, I’ve never played goal. Some goalies play 74 games and they’re great all year. Other goalies need a couple of days to get back into it. I think everyone is different there. I thought our goalies worked really well last year almost splitting time, and the year before, Hilly played in 32 straight games. So, I think they’re both capable of doing it at certain times.”

Hartley on the importance of team bonding:

“I think it is very important. I think that we went to get some quality guys, whether veterans or rookies, added to our group of leaders. The time has come to make a positive turn. Everyone wants to contribute. If you’re not united off the ice, there is no way you’re going to be a team on the ice. We sat prior to training camp and talked about certain activities that would be fun, and the guys all decided it would be a good idea. It’s fun because not only is it a team bonding, but you learn to compete together and there is a lot of chirping, but it’s all in a good way. We had three activities since the start of training camp and I have to admit I was very happy with the turnout. The guys are having fun and we are enjoying a good start to far. It’s been fun to be around this bunch.”

Hartley on the problems Anaheim pose:

“They’re a big team, and there are not too many weaknesses. Starting with Hiller in net, and then you look at their blue line- big, imposing blue line. Physically, they’re strong and a good skating blue line. I think with the addition of Penner, he brings a lot of depth, especially offensive threats with Perry and Getzlaf at center. With Koivu, you know you’re going to get one of the two best centermen in the league. It’s a well-balanced hockey club.”

Hartley on the best center he’s ever seen:

“Sakic, he was pretty good. Chris Drury was pretty good. I had Eric Veilleux in the minors, and I feel that he is probably one of the best face-off men that I’ve had. When you get those guys, it’s always good, because you can use them in key situations. I think that we’re working a lot on this. After practice, we’re dropping lots of pucks. We want to get them better and they want to get better, also.”

Hartley on if the key to winning face-offs is strength, experience or cheating:

“There’s a combination of everything. You need the full book. Cheating definitely has a chapter in the book.”

Hartley on goaltender Joey MacDonald and if his play has been a pleasant surprise:

“Well, pleasant surprise…I don’t know. I think that last year he gave us some real good games. He just picked up right from where he left last year. He’s well aware that we told him he would be in a three man battle for the number one spot. Right now, we’re just playing whoever gives us the most chances to win games, and right now it is Joey. He’s been very good. Joey is one of the goalies that doesn’t spend too much energy playing goal- you don’t see him sprawl all over the place. He’s under control, he’s very calm, and I think that with a young team, it really helps.”

Bonus quote – Shane O’Brien on the Flames early season success:

“It probably starts with our coaching staff. Bob doesn’t let too much slide in practices and he has his eye on pretty much everything that goes on out there. You’re going to have to play the right way here, or you’re not going to play. It’s a great group of guys here. How hard training camp was, nobody complained or said that we shouldn’t be doing this – everyone just did it. That’s a feather in your cap to Jay Feaster to bringing in quality people. Hopefully we continue to win games here because it’s a lot more fun in this league when you win.”


WCB – season preview with Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau

Ducks coach not high on Penner at the moment

Jeff Carter talks Shane O’Brien

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