Souhan: hired to repair Wild, Guerin starts repairs with two big moves


Last week, the Wild made two spectacular moves that are perfectly designed to irritate its fan base.

On Monday, the Wild traded in the popular and philanthropist Jason Zucker. On Friday, he dismissed popular coach and endearing Bruce Boudreau. The fans are angry. That's why fans should never be charged with franchises.

Each movement has a meaning in isolation, and in this context:

The Wild has been a lousy team for two seasons. Changes are needed and the most transformative staff moves possible - swapping Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - require player permission.

Bill Guerin was hired to repair the Wild. The question is not why he takes these steps; it’s if he waited too long.

Zucker has performed poorly, particularly with regard to the contract he won with a well-chosen season in search of money. He was the most logical Wild player to trade.

Boudreau should not be blamed for the current team's poor performance, but this is not the appropriate standard to judge a well-paid coach in his fourth season with his current team.

If the best line in your resume as a Wild coach is, "It's not entirely my fault," then you should probably go for it.

Boudreau has just completed his third stint as NHL head coach. He was fired before training five full seasons in Washington. He was fired before training five full seasons at Anaheim. For almost all NHL head coaches, the shelf life is productive and few extend beyond four or five years.

This year’s Wild team, despite having well-paid players and a preseason retirement, performed below reasonable expectations. Reaching the margins of the playoff race is not a feat to be proud of.

The Wild lost a two-goal lead in the third period to a mediocre home team on Thursday evening, losing to the Rangers in a shootout. These are the types of nights that get you fired when you find yourself working for a general manager who hasn't hired you.

We will miss Boudreau's personality. He's awfully disarming and honest. He should get another job as a head coach.

But he never was Guerin's coach, so the timing of his shot doesn't really matter, unless you are the only person in Minnesota who thinks this team is preparing for the playoffs.

Guerin is new to the position of general manager, but he has worked in management for nine years. Each person who has worked in sports management for a long time has developed a personal list of coach candidates. Boudreau has never been on this list.

Fans who seek an emotional connection with those they follow seem shocked by the movements of Zucker and Boudreau. My recommendation for targeted sympathy would be those who never get the big deal, like Zucker, or the 14 years of well-paid work behind the bench, which Boudreau appreciated.

Both are wealthy and work in the field of their choice.

Zucker plays in a big hockey city with a quality team and skates next to Sidney Crosby. It’s not a punishment. This is a dream.

Boudreau has beaten the odds in over three seasons with three franchises. And if you inject him with truth serum, he could tell you that he feels lucky not to coach this group of hockey players any more. They dropped him at the start of the season and were probably going to drop him again in the home stretch.

Because owner Craig Leipold is such a fan, the Wild has made many emotional decisions over the years, many of them counterproductive. The moves of Zucker and Boudreau are proof that Guerin has made it possible to make non-sentimental changes.

"If the players are hurt by this, then maybe those are the players we shouldn't have here," Guerin said on Friday. "This is the case. "

Guerin had a beautiful honeymoon during which he was to be only Paul Fenton. Now the clock is ticking on his GM career. If he had kept Zucker or Boudreau for sentimental reasons, he would be neglecting his duties and ending his own career.

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