WASHINGTON -- Bruce Boudreau became the Washington Capitals'
coach Wednesday when the team dropped the "interim" tag from his
The announcement came hours before the Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to improve to 8-5-3 under Boudreau, who took over
for the fired Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving Day.
"The goal when you take the job is to be here a long time,"
Boudreau said before the game. "My job is to win and then
reevaluate everything at the end of the year. Until further notice,
Boudreau was promoted from the club's American Hockey League
affiliate, the Hershey Bears. At that point, the Capitals were last
in the NHL with a 6-14-1 record, their worst 21-game start to a
season since 1981-82.
Washington general manager George McPhee said he liked
Boudreau's style -- immediately.
"It was actually the first practice and the first game,"
McPhee said. "We just wanted the opportunity to watch him at this
McPhee declined to reveal the length of Boudreau's contract.
"We just thought it was about time that we let the players
know," McPhee said. "There was something about it that seemed to
look right and feel right."
Washington's mark of 14-19-4 still left it last in the Eastern
Conference and 29th in the 30-team league. But the team has
flourished under Boudreau, who has grown increasingly secure in his
"I got a little more comfortable in the situation. I didn't
know what to expect when you come to the NHL," Boudreau said.
"Everything that I thought has pretty much come true."
Under Boudreau, the Capitals are averaging three goals a game,
up from 2.2 under Hanlon.
"We've had confidence in him from the moment he came in,"
Washington defenseman Brian Pothier said. "We're looking forward
to the rest of the season and getting better every night."
Boudreau coached more than 1,000 games in the minor leagues and
never was an assistant coach in the NHL before getting the chance
to lead the Capitals on an interim basis. He played in parts of
eight NHL seasons with Toronto and Chicago.