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Bruce Boudreau fired by Ducks after early playoff exit

Less than 48 hours after the Anaheim Ducks were eliminated in Game 7 by the Nashville Predators, the team announced the firing of head coach Bruce Boudreau.

"I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication to the franchise,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision to make. Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

In four and a half seasons in Anaheim, Boudreau posted a 208-104-40 record and led the team to four straight Pacific Division titles. The regular-season success, however, didn’t translate into the postseason as his Ducks teams only advanced beyond the second-round once, in 2015, before they blew a 3-2 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. 

After a slow start to the 2015-16 season, Boudreau survived the hot seat despite the team sitting in last place in the Western Conference at Christmas. The numbers showed it was only was only a matter of time before Anaheim turned things around; and before long they were back to being the Ducks we expected and finished the regular-season tied for the fifth-best record in the NHL.

We detailed why Boudreau’s teams lacked success in Game 7s and Lambert pleaded the case against firing him. But Murray apparently feels there’s a coach out there that can put the Ducks over the postseason hump. 

Trent Yawney and Paul MacLean are still listed as assistants. Dallas Eakins is coaching Anaheim’s AHL squad in San Diego. Those are the in-house candidates. But is there someone outside of the Ducks’ bubble that will do a better job than what Boudreau did? 

The 2015-16 Ducks were the league’s best power play (23.1 percent), best penalty kill (87.2 percent), best defense (2.29 goals allowed per game) and a top-five possession team (53.2 percent score-adjusted Fenwick). What unemployed head coach or currently employed assistant has a system that can match that success?

When Boudreau was fired by the Washington Capitals in 2011 he was out of work for for less than three days. Will the wait be even shorter this time around? And have Ottawa’s Pierre Dorion and Eugene Melnyk already picked up the phone? 

Finally, the Jack Adams Award finalists will be announced on May 5. Given the turnaround Boudreau helped lead this season, it definitely wouldn’t be a shock to see him make the top three. It would, however, be a tad awkward if he’s accepting the award while head coach of a different NHL team.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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