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Stevens Excited To Get Back Into Coaching Role

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Scott Stevens and Bruce Boudreau had never met before Boudreau reached out to Stevens a few weeks ago.

Boudreau, the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild, approached Stevens about the possibility of joining his staff. He traveled to Stevens' home, and the Hall of Fame defenseman and new Wild bench boss met for two hours.

"It was kind of neat; it was one of those moments where you meet somebody for the first time and after about 10 minutes you feel like you have known them for 20 years," Stevens said. "That was the feeling with Bruce. It's very important obviously who you work with, and Bruce, he's a real person.

"It was two hours, and it felt like we were talking hockey for 30 minutes. It was a great meeting."

It got Stevens, who spent the last year working as an analyst for NHL Network, excited about getting back into coaching and joining Boudreau's staff. On Tuesday, the position became official when the Wild named Stevens to an assistant coaching role. 

"I really enjoy teaching, and helping players, and helping them try to reach their potential and become consistent players," Stevens said. "That's what I enjoy doing."

His last coaching position was as a co-coach for the New Jersey Devils during the 2014-15 season.

From there, he transitioned to NHL Network, but said that passion for teaching always made getting back into coaching a logical next step.

"It was a way to stay engaged with hockey, break some video down, and kept my foot in the door," Steven said of his time at NHL Network. "Some opportunities came about, and the Minnesota Wild, I'm intrigued with."

Stevens will inherit a group of Wild defensemen that has him eager to get right to work, knowing the talent is already in place.

"That team has a lot of potential in it," Stevens said. "I really have admired watching Ryan Suter his whole career, and this year was one of his better years as an all-around defenseman. That's what I like about Ryan. He can play big minutes. I'm very excited to have him."

Stevens cited the likes of Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, and Mike Reilly among the young Wild defensemen he said he thinks he can help mold.

Having played 13 seasons in the NHL, winning three Stanley Cups, and seven times finishing in the top five for the Norris Trophy, Stevens has seen about everything and anything an NHL defenseman can face.

"That's what I hope to bring to the Wild; all this knowledge I've learned over the years, and experiences — if I can relate those to a lot of young players, and even the older players," Stevens said. "I was in the league for 13 years, and I learned the most in my 14th year in the league from some great coaches in Larry Robinson and Jacques Lemaire. You never stop learning, and as a player, you want to keep getting better."

It's not just the defensemen that excite Stevens though. He said the Wild, top-to-bottom, is a great fit.

"I loved coming to play in Minnesota," Stevens said. "It gives you that feeling of being in Canada, and the passionate fans, so a lot of boxes checked off with Bruce, and with the organization right from Mr. Leipold, and Chuck Fletcher. It's very important to have good ownership and a great GM."

Of the Wild players Stevens is most familiar with, at the top of the list might be Zach Parise.

Though the former Devils never played on the same team, Stevens coached Parise in New Jersey as an assistant on the Devils' staff.

"He's one-of-a-kind," Stevens said. "There's no one who forechecks as hard and works as hard as Zach Parise. I'm very excited.

"We missed him dearly when he left New Jersey, and I'm very excited to have that type of player that leads by example. I believe it's so important to lead by example, and Zach does that with his play. That's how you become the best leader, is by leading my example.

"He does that in games, and in practice, along with Ryan Suter, and Mikko Koivu. The core leadership group is pretty strong there, and I'm excited to work with those guys."

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