Teemu Selanne: “I’d still be playing” if Bruce Boudreau wasn’t Ducks coach
Essentially – and despite calling Boudreau a “nice man” – Selanne threw his former coach in Anaheim under the bus, drove over him with it, backed up, and repeated the process seven or eight times. In the most shocking statement, Selanne said he’d have returned to the NHL for a 22nd season if Boudreau wasn’t still the Ducks’ coach.
But he said much more than that. Here’s the now-retired Selanne describing his experience in the 2014 playoffs, when Boudreau made him a healthy scratch prior to Anaheim’s first round, Game 4 showdown against Dallas:
“I waited after everyone else had left the ice and skated to Boudreau,” Selanne writes. “I yelled him right to his face what I was thinking. I ask what he has against me. I told him that since he became our coach, he has not respected me one bit. You never put me on ice when we play 5-on-3 of 4-on-4 or when we are one goal behind in the end of the game. Be honest for one time and answer! He just stammered that decisions we not his alone and it was a group decision.
“I ask which group and he said GM and scouts. I yelled him ‘wow, what kind of a coach you are if you don’t even decide lineup!’ He tried to skate away but I just yelled I wasn’t finish(ed). I told Boudreau if you ever want to win something in a playoffs you’re going to need me. Nobody else wants to win as much as me. It felt really good.”
Undoubtedly, Boudreau won’t be feeling really good when he wakes up in California to see Selanne’s comments just as he and his Ducks players are beginning training camp. He already was under pressure to improve on Anaheim’s second-round playoff exit from last season, but this new controversy will only add to the focus on him and his relationship with the team. In fairness to Boudreau, Selanne’s opinion of himselfand his on-ice capabilities at age 44 seems more than a little overinflated, but the optics of the internal strife between a coach and his highest-profile players doesn’t reflect well – especially considering Boudreau also had some issues with another star who wore No. 8 during his five-plus years behind the Washington Capitals’ bench.
Selanne is now out of the picture in Anaheim, but his words will linger all season long. Is that unfair to Boudreau, who still guided them to a league-best 54 wins in 2013-14? Sure it is. But fairness isn’t something coaches can expect in their line of work. They’re tasked with doing the best with the hand dealt them. And we’ll see how Boudreau deals with the nine of diamonds Selanne just put in his hands.
UPDATE: THN’s Ken Campbell reached out to Boudreau to see if he wanted to comment on what Selanne said. Boudreau simply responded: “No thanks.”
Looks like Princess Teemu is whining again.