Before Tuesday, Bruce Boudreau said, he hadn’t had any conversations with Wild management regarding his future as coach. On the day the team said its goodbyes for the summer, Boudreau finally got the endorsement he wanted.
General Manager Paul Fenton said Tuesday that Boudreau will return next season, adding that he has “total confidence’’ in his leadership. With Boudreau entering the final year of his contract — and no discussion about an extension — his status had been uncertain. He said the first confirmation he got that he would be back came when Fenton fielded a question at a season-ending news conference.
“Bruce is my coach next year,’’ Fenton said. “I have total confidence in him. You look at his track record, for the number of years he’s been an NHL coach, it’s amazing.
“Right now, Bruce is my coach, and he’s going to be the guy that is going to lead this team back to where we want to go.’’
Boudreau signed a four-year deal with the Wild on May 7, 2016. Former GM Chuck Fletcher, who hired Boudreau, was replaced by Fenton last summer, raising questions about whether Fenton would want to choose his own coach.
Tuesday, Boudreau joked that he was glad a reporter asked about his status, because he was “pretty interested’’ in finding out whether he would be staying on.
“I knew I had another year left on my contract,’’ he said. “And my job is to coach until I’m told not to coach anymore. I come in every day, and I work as hard as I can. And when they don’t want me to work anymore, they will tell me.’’
In his first three seasons with the Wild, Boudreau is 131-87-28 in the regular season and 2-8 in two playoff appearances.
Time to heal
At the end of a season, players often reveal the hidden injuries that bothered them but did not keep them out of the lineup. Zach Parise said Tuesday he had been playing with “a little fracture’’ in his right foot since Feb. 26, and goalie Devan Dubnyk disclosed that he experienced neck and upper-back pain after a November collision.
Parise broke his foot when he blocked a shot in a victory over Winnipeg. He also missed six of the final seven games because of a knee injury. The foot injury wasn’t terribly painful, Parise said, and it’s expected to heal on its own.
Dubnyk said he had “lingering issues’’ after Washington’s Tom Wilson barreled into him on Nov. 13. Though Boudreau called that a turning point in the season — saying the Wild’s mini-slump over the next 3 ½ weeks was “the start of us being very .500-ish’’—Dubnyk doesn’t believe the pain compromised his play.
“It was manageable. It wasn’t like I couldn’t sleep at night,’’ Dubnyk said. “But I did make sure I got the right people to come in and take care of it. We got it fixed up, and it’s all good now.’’
Defenseman Matt Dumba, who missed 43 games after surgery for a ruptured pectoral muscle, said he will “for sure’’ be ready for the start of training camp. Forward Mikko Koivu, who sat out the final 22 games because of torn knee ligaments, called his progress “as good as it could be.’’ He expects to resume skating in about a month and is hopeful he will be fully recovered when camp begins.
• The Wild assigned forwards Jordan Greenway, Luke Kunin and Ryan Donato to the American Hockey League to help Iowa’s postseason bid. With three games remaining, Iowa is fifth in the Central Division with 81 points — same as the fourth-place Manitoba Moose. The top four teams in the division advance.
• Fenton called it “an internal issue” when asked about repercussions of the arrest of forward J.T. Brown last Saturday in Dallas “an internal issue.” Brown was cited on suspicion of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. “J.T. made the mistake,” Fenton said. “It’s been handled.”