Q&A: Boudreau on the State of the Ducks at the Halfway Point
/ Anaheim Ducks
"I never once thought that Chicago was out of range. Everybody else thinks they are, but I don’t. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got half our season left. You don’t win anything in half a season. Consistency and staying healthy is going to be our key"
Just before heading to the airport to start a three-game road trip in Minnesota (Tuesday), Dallas (Thursday) and St. Louis (Saturday), Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau discussed the state of the team.
Q: The power play has climbed to first in the NHL, but was 1 for 7 last night. How do you think it has looked lately? Boudreau: I wish there was an easier way to explain things. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. We ran through a pretty good spot there where they were going in. But in the last three games, I think we’re 1 for 10 or 1 for 11. It’s cyclical. Kyle Palmieri has been a big guy on our power play and so has Nick Bonino. Kyle has a great shot and a great release. Bonino is smart and knows how to distribute the puck, knows his positioning really well. Those are players you miss.
Francois Beauchemin is playing some of the best hockey of his career. What do you think has been the key for him? Well, he was hurt a lot last year and now he’s completely healthy. I think the lockout did him wonders in that respect. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and the team is playing well. Those are things that, you add them up together, it means success. He’s a good player, but we’re in Anaheim, so people don’t hear about him a lot. When he went to Toronto, he didn’t have as much success as he would have liked. When he was traded from Columbus to Anaheim (in 2005) he was supposedly a throw-in in that deal. He has always flown under the radar, and now we’re having a little success and people are taking notice of him. And rightfully so, because he’s a good player.
Specifically, he’s not throwing pucks up the middle and making mistakes. He’s managing his ice time better. He’s being a real leader. He’s 32 years old and coming into his own at this age. Defensemen take longer to develop, and now that we’re counting on him, he’s come to the forefront and responded.
What’s the latest on Palmieri (upper body) and Bonino (flu)? I think Kyle he’ll be on the road trip at some point for sure. I think he’ll be coming up tomorrow. Nick is still not doing well. I don’t know if you have ever had this, but it knocks the [stuff] out of you. Hopefully he’s coming on the road trip when he gets better, but we don’t want him around the players until he does get better.
Both Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth are playing well right now. Is there a certain approach toward which goalie plays when? With four games a week, we’re just trying to pick the right teams to play them against. In certain situations, it’s going to be, What’s his record when he plays in this building or against this team? It’s kind of like baseball with lefties vs. righties, pinch hitters coming off the bench, does he hit fastballs or breaking balls? It’s a little bit of that, and then there is gut feeling. It’s a tough one tomorrow because Hilly played great in Minnesota last year when we won 2-1. And then Viktor’s won the last two games against Minnesota and played well. I’ll make the decision for that game later on today.
The team is 18-3-3 at the halfway point, but is there an area where they need improvement? We need a little more consistency for 60 minutes, rather than playing 50 or 40 and expecting to win games. As the season goes on, teams are going to get better. The playoffs are going to make things more scrutinized. You have to play for 60 minutes and not think you can win in a 20-minute span.
Is the top spot in the West still in your mindset, or is winning the division the focus? I want everything. I never once thought that Chicago was out of range. Everybody else thinks they are, but I don’t. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got half our season left. You don’t win anything in half a season. You can lose it, but you don’t win anything. Consistency and staying healthy are going to be our keys. You look at our schedule now, Minnesota is playing well and so are St. Louis and Dallas. They’re not easy games. Even when we get home from this trip, it’s San Jose, Chicago, Detroit, Detroit, San Jose. It’s not an easy thing. We’re focusing on being as good as we can be. We’d love to win everything, but we want to be as good as we can be on a consistent basis.