Three years ago on this day, Bruce Boudreau ran his first practice as coach of the Washington Capitals and wondered if the team would even listen to him during drills.
Boudreau and the Capitals have undoubtedly come a long way since that day in November of 2007 when Washington held the worst record in the league at 6-14-1; and it's evidenced by where they stand entering tonight's game against the Devils. Washington owns the best record in the league at 14-5-2 and is looking not just to win any more, but fine tune the way they do so.
"I was a little more nervous three years ago -- just wondering if they would accept the drills that I'm going to offer them. Are they up to their standard?," Boudreau said this morning when asked what has changed since then. "You never know if you haven't done it. Are you going to be able to yell at 'X' player? ... Or give him crap if he's not doing the things you want to do. Those were the things that were going through my head then. Now I don't think about those things. You just do what you have to do."
The Capitals have gone 155-61-30 in the regular season under Boudreau's guidance and the biggest difference the coach noted when discussing the anniversary was simply that he feels he's a better coach now then he was when GM George McPhee called him to come to Washington that day.
"You gain more experience. I think I do video an awful lot better than I did," Boudreau said. "You learn little intricacies of the game better and it's like at anything. You think you're good at something and you do it for 10 years and then the next 10 years you do it, you're [thinking] I'm so much better now than I was 10 years ago."