Bruce Boudreau hits the town with The Great One in Vancouver



You could say Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau had a great time Monday night in Vancouver.

It turns out The Great One Wayne Gretzky was also in town and wanted to meet up with him.

“It blew me away,” Boudreau told the Orange County Register. “I got a call from Sergey (Kocharov). who’s the PR guy in Washington (where Boudreau used to coach). And he said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, I gave Wayne your number. He was looking for it.’ And I was, ‘Whoa. What’s that all about?’ I’ve met him once. I’ve idolized him for 100 years.

“So he called and said, ’Hey, it’s Wayne. I’m just across the street. You want to go for a drink?’ And I hemmed and hawed. He says, ‘C’mon, for a beer.’ And I’m like, I can’t diss Wayne Gretzky. I was like a kid in a candy store, just wide-eyed and listening to him.

“He’s everything as a person that I thought he would be when I envision stuff. It was very neat.”

It turns out Gretzky became a fan when Boudreau’s Toronto Marlboros played in Gretzky’s hometown of Brantford, Ont.

No backing in for Panthers

The Florida Panthers needed only a single point against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night to clinch the Southeast Division title and accompanying playoff berth.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen assured the South Florida Sun Sentinel before the game, however, that they wouldn’t retreat into a defensive shell to guarantee a loser point.

“One point? That’s not in our DNA,” Dineen told the newspaper. “All year long, we’ve been an entertaining team to watch, sometimes that leaves some lapses in our game. We are a team that goes out there and pushes hard both ways. We take pride in the way we move the puck on offence and I think it’s balanced by the amount of pride and feedback the guys get when they show that defensive effort prowess as well.

“So playing for a tie isn’t in the mix for me, that’s just not the way we play, we play hard and we play to win every night.”

Power’s out in Dallas

If the Dallas Stars don’t qualify for the post-season, they can heap some blame on their power play.

Entering Thursday night’s game versus the Nashville Predators, the Stars had the worst power play in the league, sitting dead last in goals scored (33) and in success rate (14.0 per cent).

They are also on the verge of finishing with the most unproductive power play in franchise history.

“I am stunned by the numbers,” head coach Glen Gulutzan told the Dallas Morning News. “There are things you can look at, like our inability to draw many power plays (Dallas ranks 29th at 236), but the bottom line is we have to be better than that.”

Tavares aims high

John Tavares had a chance Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets to become the first New York Islanders player to reach the 80-point plateau since Ziggy Palffy in the 1997-98 season.

Tavares, with 31 goals and 48 assists, has increased his production in each of the last two season. He had 54 points in his rookie season and increased to 67 last season.

“I do feel like I’ve taken a lot of strides this year, and I’m happy to see that the things I worked hard on last summer have paid off in some ways,” Tavares told “When this season is over, I’ll see some more things I want to improve on and try to get to that next level.”

Carter out as Kings try to clinch

If the Los Angeles Kings are to clinch a playoff berth Thursday night, they’ll have to do it without centre Jeff Carter in the lineup.

When Kings took on the San Jose Sharks, Carter missed his fourth straight game due to a deep bone bruise to his ankle, reported

The Kings, who face the Sharks again Saturday in their regular-season finale, can clinch a post-season berth if they earn one point against the Sharks or if the Nashville Predators beat the Dallas Stars.

He said it:

“We still gotta chance. Hopefully things can work out in our favour. The season isn’t done yet.” — Colorado Avalanche winger Peter Mueller to the Denver Post prior to Thursday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Avs have to win both of their remaining games and hope for help from other teams in order to make the playoffs.

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