In the latest edition of Bruce Bites, Wild.com's Dan Myers sits down with coach Bruce Boudreau to talk about a potential playoff series in Winnipeg, watching the scoreboard and going a bit stir crazy:
Dan Myers: There's still a lot of hockey left in this season, but if it ended today, the Wild would be in and it'd be facing the Winnipeg Jets in Round 1. You coached in a playoff series with Anaheim up there in 2015. What do you expect it would be like to head back there if that's indeed how it shakes out over the final couple of weeks of the season?
Bruce Boudreau: They will be into it because they haven't been into the playoffs all that often since moving back. It's a hockey-mad atmosphere because it's the playoffs and it's Canada. It would be exciting because it's everywhere up there.
DM: You've admitted that you are a guy who watches the scoreboard to see what's going on around the conference and the division. What time of the season do you start to really pay attention to that?
BB: I notice it from day one. And people that say they don't look at it in the coaching department, they're lying. It's their job to know what everybody else does and there's not a coach around that doesn't watch the games and I think the players, if they're interested in their jobs, they're watching what other teams are doing too. They know what the situation is. There's not too many players I could come up to and say, 'Hey do you know where we stand in the playoffs right now?' and they wouldn't know what we're doing.
DM: You've been asked about this odd break in the schedule in late March and what it could mean for the playoffs. How are you dealing with it? Do you go a little stir crazy?
BB: Yeah, I'm losing it a little bit. I'm really restless at this point. But the one thing is, you get to study a team. We're playing Nashville twice in the next three games, so we've got four or five days to go over what they're doing, which is much more than when you're playing during the regular season, when you're playing back-to-backs. You can watch the games back, but once it's over, you've really gotta move on to the next team. Right now, there's been no 'next team,' so we've been studying Nashville quite a bit.
DM: You're in your second year coaching with John Anderson, someone you've known for 40 years but got a chance to coach with for the first time last year. You've got Bob Woods, who you've coached with a couple times before, on staff this season. For you personally, how enjoyable has it been to share the bench with two men you know so well?
BB: It's been fun. It's more than fun because we can argue like brothers, and know the next moment, you're OK. There are never any long-lasting ill-effects about either one of them. [Assistant coaches] Darby [Hendrickson] and [Bob Mason] are in the same category. Our coaching staff gets along really well and that's important, that's great. We all don't agree about everything we talk about, and I think that's important too. I don't want people in there just agreeing with me. We have meetings every morning and I want them to challenge me. I'll give them my ideas, and I'm pretty headstrong in those, but I want all their ideas and if they have an idea that's different than mine, I ask them to tell me why. And if that explanation is good, I'll buy into it all the time. But if it's not, then I'll stay with what I've got.
DM: The Blue Ox season just ended. Now that it's in the books, what was your first season of hockey ownership like?
BB: For me, it was everything I was hoping it would be. I think we've got a little bit of a following in Coon Rapids and maybe even beyond that. But the amount of people, when I would come to the game, that thanked me for bringing this level to the area, was really fabulous. I think it's really cool that [son] Brady's version of our hockey school, we're bringing to Coon Rapids in August. Brady has been around hockey schools his whole life, and he's gonna be in charge. But we're gonna get my other sons, who run their own hockey schools, coming in. I'm sure we'll get some NHL players from here in it, and we'll run the same kind of camp that we've had in St. Catharines, [Ontario] for the last 35 years. Hopefully everything grows in that area as far as the Blue Ox and the camp is concerned.