By Howard Fendrich
The Associated Press
A few decades ago, Bruce Boudreau was in the right place at the right time and wound up as a hockey-playing extra in the movie “Slap Shot.”
Who knew so much time would pass before his next moment in the spotlight?
After years of shuttling between the NHL and minor leagues as a player, followed by years of climbing the rungs of the minors as a successful coach, including his seasons with the Mississippi Sea Wolves, Boudreau finally is getting a chance he long thought he deserved.
Sure, when Boudreau was brought up from the minors to take over as the Washington Capitals’ coach a week ago, it was only on an interim basis. He has no idea how long it will last. And let’s not forget, he is in charge of the team with the league’s worst record.
Still, what matters is this: Bruce Boudreau, the unassuming guy everybody calls “Gabby” because he’s quite a talker, is back in the NHL – as a head coach, no less.
“When you think about what it’s going to be like, you never actually think of what it’s going to be like,” Boudreau said this week during an interview in his office at the Capitals’ practice facility. “You think about the Cinderella story of what it’s like, you know?… You think, ‘Oh, man, the NHL.’ ”