Bruce Boudreau survived two front office shake-ups and probably squeezed about as much as could have been hoped out of this year's Wild just to get Minnesota on the fringe of the playoff race at the time of his dismissal Friday.

But those weren't the circumstances under which he was brought in four years ago, which leads to the one lingering question I'll always have about his tenure:

What might have been if the Wild had a Boudreau-esque coach at the start of its run of playoff contention instead of near the end.

Sure, Boudreau himself has had mighty struggles getting his very good regular-season teams over the playoff hump, including a ghastly 1-7 record in postseason Game 7s.

But could he have gotten more out of the Wild teams that Mike Yeo twice took to the second round of the playoffs?

Maybe it would have just meant more heartbreak. Maybe not.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.