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Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau yells to his team during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Nam Y. Huh/AP

In late November, Bruce Boudreau became the Anaheim Ducks eighth coach in franchise history.

On Thursday, the team announced he'll be sticking around for a while.

Boudreau originally signed a deal only for the end of this past season and one more year, but Ducks GM Bob Murray was so happy with the job the man known as Gabby did, they've tacked another two years on the contract to lock him up until 2014-15.

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"Since joining the organization, Bruce has done an outstanding job with the team," Murray said in a statement. "He's committed to us and determined to lead us back to the playoffs."

"I'm really happy about this," Boudreau said. "I'm convinced we have a great core of players and a bright future, and I'm excited to be part of it."

The Ducks were in the Western Conference basement with a 7-13-4 record when Randy Carlyle was fired and Boudreau brought in, and the turnaround in Anaheim was far from immediate.

They won just three games in an ugly December (3-8-2) to basically kill their playoff chances, but finally began to turn a corner in the New Year.

From Jan. 6 on, Anaheim went 24-14-6 under Boudreau, climbing from only one point up on last place Columbus to a more respectable 80-point finish.

"We both have the same vision and are on the same page," Boudreau said of working with Murray. "It seemed like a really good idea. For me, I just think this team is just starting where we want to go.

"I look at the playoffs this year. If we had started a little bit earlier, anything could have happened. We competed with all the teams that are in it, tooth and nail. It would have been interesting and it will be interesting come next year."

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The new two-year deal, however, is quite a commitment given the team's overall record under their new coach was relatively mediocre. With many teams playing a more defensive style in the West, Boudreau doesn't appear to be the best fit, especially on a team that hasn't spent to the cap in recent years.

The Ducks have had financial and ownership issues since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 and their attendance is down to just 14,760 fans a game.

They also had the fifth oldest team in the league this season and could lose Teemu Selanne to retirement. They have some flexibility with only $49-million committed under the cap next season and could use more depth up front given they were one of the lower scoring teams in the league.

"You're going in knowing you have a little bit of security," Boudreau said. "As a coach, that doesn't necessarily mean a lot because you put enough pressure on yourself to win all the time.

"At the same time, the players know that this guy isn't in here as just a lame duck. He has time here and they believe in him. We better pay attention to this guy. It's not him who is going to be the scapegoat this time. It's always great that the GM and the ownership have that much faith in you. It's my job to justify it."

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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