BRUCE BOUDREAU

It’s difficult to imagine that Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau can have any superstitions worthy of his time or effort. After all, it took him seventeen years in the minors as a coach to reach the NHL after a playing career similarly mired by the minor leagues. That is, Boudreau spent seventeen years on skates during which time he appeared in just 141 NHL games, mostly with Toronto. He was deemed too small for the ever-growing league and was called up time and again for brief stints as a fill-in for various injured players.

Despite a lack of NHL success, Boudreau had a tremendous career in the AHL, IHL, and CHL, however, and always found a team to play for. When he retired in 1992, he turned to coaching and was just as successful in the minors, of course. As a player might, he worked his way up through the chain of leagues that connect, eventually, to the NHL. He started in the IHL with Fort Wayne, down to Mississippi of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), and then established himself in the AHL with Lowell. Boudreau remained in the AHL for the better part of nine years before being called up to coach the Capitals after the team fired Glen Hanlon in 2007. There has been no looking back since, and Boudreau does his superstitious part to make sure he remains in the top league.

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When he gets to the arena, he’ll eat the meal provided in the media room if it brings him good luck. If he has eaten the meal at that particular arena previously and lost the game, no meal for him. When the team is winning, he’ll keep wearing the same suit. If he talks to someone on the phone before what turns out to be a win, he’ll call that person before every game until the team loses.

In one instance, he asked Viktor Kozlov how he was doing before a game. The team won, so Boudreau made a point of asking Kozlov how he was before the next several games, resulting in a winning streak. When you make it to the NHL full-time at age fifty-three, you’ll do whatever you can to stay there.

BRUCE BOUDREAU

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