When it comes to the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season, General Manager Chuck Fletcher said there was a buy-in amiss, not a character issue, or a chemistry problem.
In Bruce Boudreau, Fletcher said he feels he has the right salesman for the job.
On Tuesday, Boudreau was formally introduced to the media by Fletcher for the first time since Boudreau accepted the Wild's head coaching job on Saturday, becoming the fifth man to hold the position in the franchise's history.
"Bruce has that ability to convince the players, to get the players, to encourage the players, to prod the players to execute on a consistent basis," Fletcher said. "If we do that, we're a good hockey team, and can even become very good."
His comments echoed that of what Boudreau, who has been at the helm of eight division championship-winning teams, said in his self-assessment of the kind of leader he is.
“I think of myself as the complete average man, so if it works on me, it will work on somebody else," Boudreau said. "They see that I’m pretty passionate. My passion will show through. I love the game so much. We’ll be doing a lot of sayings, and quotes on boards, and video pump-up tapes and stuff like that. I just like looking at those things, and it works."
Fletcher said that is exactly what the Wild needs right now. Having made the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past four seasons, advancing out of the first round twice, the goal is to expand that ceiling and continue to build toward a championship.
"The way he communicates will be tremendous for our group coming off the season we had," Fletcher said. "And that's no disrespect to [Mike Yeo] or [John Torchetti], he's just coming at it a little bit differently and with a lot of wins behind him, and at this time, this is what we need for our team."
The communication and mutual respect will be key, in both Fletcher and Boudreau's eyes, in establishing a consistency that has been missing in both the wins-and-losses column and the on-ice product that has afflicted the Wild, particularly last season.
"You just push them and you keep pushing them and you make them believe that that’s a goal and it’s a common goal of everybody," Boudreau said. "I’ve found out in certain years that players, they want to win more than the personal glory. And once we start establishing that, and winning becomes the most important thing on the agenda, usually success follows and you don’t have any big droughts of wins and losses."
It's all part of an adaptability that Boudreau said is paramount to success in today's NHL. The league is ripe with parity. Having the flexibility and malleability to change schemes and game plans comes with avoiding long losing stretches.
"You have to assess what you have and work the best with the group you have to have them play what is best for them," Boudreau said. "You have to put them in good situations.
"The people that manage people the best usually get them to work the hardest. That’s one of the things that we want to do. Strategy, the players have to believe in what you’re doing, and if they don’t believe in what you’re doing then they have a hard time doing it.
"So it’s good strategy and putting it together and explaining it in the proper form and making them almost sit back and say, ‘You know what? That’s going to work.’ And then you go on the ice and you practice it and you show them that it works and usually then they buy into it an awful lot quicker."