With Game 1 of the First Round on the horizon, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau previews the Nashville Predators and the challenge of dealing with injuries heading into the playoffs.
On dealing with injuries heading into the playoffs I’m getting old, so I can’t remember too far back. I don’t think we were as beat up as last year. The eyes are always open, but whoever is available to play is available to play. That’s the way we handle it. This isn’t a “woe is me” type of situation.
On status of Ryan Kesler and John Gibson Like everybody else who didn’t play, they had bumps and bruises. They were hurting. That’s why they ended up coming back early. As far as all other injuries, there’s nothing earth-shattering. Bob Murray will answer them tomorrow.
On the Predators It’s a big challenge because they have a lot of moving parts. Their defense, even after getting rid of [Seth] Jones, is still one of the most formidable offensive defenses in the league. They have some really good skill up front. They play hard. They weren’t far behind third place in a tough Central Division where they played all year. We have our hands full.
They’re really strong down the middle. We think with [Ryan] Getzlaf, Kesler and [Nate] Thompson, [we don’t know about Rickard Rakell yet], we feel we’re very strong down the middle. It’ll be a very interesting contest there.
On the leadership When we weren’t having success at the beginning of the year – and you have to understand that for the last couple of years, regular season-wise, this team has had a lot of success – the players were as upset as the coaching staff and management was that we weren’t winning. We had a lot of meetings, both individually and collectively, and the one thing you find out about great character is they want to win more than they want to get individuals goals. What I mean by that is, at that time, we weren’t scoring any goals, so guys were starting to cheat offensively to try to get goals. But when we talked to them, they all bought in. If we’re going to win, we might have to win a lot of games 1-0 or 2-1. They were much happier winning games that way than losing and scoring a couple of goals. It was easy for them to buy in. Once we had a little bit of success at it, it woke everything else up and we started scoring a little bit after that.
On injuries to prominent players heading into the playoffs It seems like it’s more than normal because, quite frankly, I can’t remember who was injured last year or the year before. You’re reading reports of a lot of teams with a lot of sore bodies. That goes to the caliber and tightness of the playoff race. A lot of teams didn’t have time to relax and not play their best players. They had to play them through all 82 games. Consequently, some of them get hurt.