Despite coming off an encouraging 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, it appears NHL fans still aren’t confident the Minnesota Wild won’t be the first team to make a coaching change this season.
Last week, we asked fans to vote for the current NHL head coach they think will be the first to get fired this season. By a landslide, Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau was voted No. 1, collecting over 37 percent of the votes.
From an outsider’s perspective, it’s not hard to see why so many expect Boudreau to be the first head coach getting the axe this season. Minnesota began the season 1-6-0, which was the Wild’s worst start to a season since the Todd Richards era. Minnesota ranks 27th in the league with 57 goals for, 24th in goals against with 70 and has managed to string multiple wins together just once this season. Not great!
Still, it appears Boudreau’s seat isn’t quite as hot as many seem to believe. Though his team just spent several days at the very bottom of the league standings, most of Minnesota’s issues don’t stem from poor coaching. Instead, the team’s struggles are mainly due to the circus act that was Minnesota’s 2019 offseason. Former general manager Paul Fenton made head-scratching move after head-scratching move in his short tenure as the Wild’s architect, and the club is paying for his shortcomings now.
Taking over for Fenton as GM, Bill Guerin has, to this point, come to the defense of his head coach on multiple occasions. Most recently, Guerin shined some light on the coaching situation earlier in November, which you can read more about in Michael Russo’s “State of the Wild” column for The Athletic.
“He’s our coach. I have a ton of respect for him and what he’s done in his career and what he’s doing right now and how we’re working together, I really like it. Just like the players, we’ll see where we are. But as of right now, everything is going really, really well with Bruce and I. I like Bruce.”
Certainly sounds like a vote of confidence, no?
Making the odds of a Boudreau firing even slimmer, the head coach’s contract ends at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. Unless the Wild embark on a 20-game losing streak at some point this season, would firing Boudreau really make that much of a positive impact on Minnesota’s immediate success?
Regardless of what takes place between now and the end of the season, one thing is for certain — changes do need to be made. A change at head coach, however, may not be the move that magically solves all of Minnesota’s problems.
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