I woke up this morning feeling like I do before I go a first date. I have those butterflies that are a mix of excitement and nervousness. Tonight is new Coach Bruce Boudreau and company's first game behind the Anaheim bench. Coach Boudreau has had one practice and one morning skate with his new charges. I've never played hockey, but I am hearing that his system is simple: cycle less and score off the rush more. That means no more dump and chase! A system that releases our scary snipers can make this team lethal. Just keep in mind how little time the team has had to really learn Boudreau's philosophy, it's not going to be a completely smooth transition right away.
Since we're still kind of popular with the mainstream hockey media, I've been doing a lot of reading. Many different sources are reporting the reception Boudreau is receiving inside the locker room been pretty positive. I love looking at the pictures of practice and seeing smiles on the faces of the guys. Taking over a team a quarter of the way into the season puts the coach in a different position than he would be had he taken over in the summer. He must assume the role of Politician and win the hearts and minds of the Ducks and those fans not yet convinced it was a good move.
Like usual, the Hockey Gods made this new beginning difficult by having the Ducks face off against a Chris Pronger-less Flyers. Did you know that Chris Pronger has played against his former team but never in Anaheim? Here's another fun fact that's floating around: when Bruce took over the Caps, his very first game, and incidentally, very first win, was again a Pronger-less Flyers (he was on our team). Sure they're a considerably different franchise now with 407 year old Jaromir Jagr and former Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov; however, Boudreau has faced these guys more than the Ducks have. The system may not be down pat but the strategy will be there. I can't wait for this to get started.