Just after 9 a.m. outside the visitors’ locker room at United Center, “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen played as the Anaheim Ducks‘ equipment managers sharpened skates for the morning skate. Nearby, coach Bruce Boudreau and his staff prepared for their upcoming game against the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks.
If there’s one thing Boudreau does well, it’s prepare his players for games.
“The amount of time that he puts into meetings and preparing for games and stuff like that is way beyond anything that we do,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “It’s comforting to know that he’s well-prepared and he’s going to have us prepared, and it’s up to us.”
Now years and thousands of miles removed from his glory days with the Washington Capitals, all Boudreau can do sometimes is prepare and hope. He has Anaheim in the playoffs in his second year behind the bench, but he knows a regular-season turnaround like the one he helmed in Washington isn’t enough.

After four trips to the playoffs with the Caps and just as many disappointing exits, Boudreau doesn’t want to be remembered as a coach whose teams choke when it matters most.
“You know what, I feel that there is a little bit of pressure because I don’t want to get a reputation and keep that reputation,” he said. “I’d be foolish not to think that. That would eat at me.”
As someone who won a championship in the American Hockey League and ECHL and captured the Jack Adams Award at the NHL level, it’s not too late. Beginning next week, Boudreau will embark on another playoff opportunity with the Ducks, another one fraught with expectations.