You almost never heard a player in the National Hockey League openly criticize a member of their respective organizations. In fact usually if a player expresses some issues with a member of his team publicly it will happen after the player and the team have already moved on from one another, but that was not the case this week.
In what was a very surprising move from a well established veteran player in the NHL, Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker had some rather choice comments for Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. The player not only made it clear that he felt his coach was not doing a good enough job but he specifically named Boudreau while speaking to the media, an almost unprecedented situation in the National Hockey League.
"I think more than (a meeting's) going to have to jumpstart us to be honest with you. It’s going to be each individual guy from Bruce on down. Bruce has got to be better. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better. That’s it," saisd Zucker earlier this week.
It was clear that the players in the Minnesota Wild locker room were not happy and the comments came off the heels of a closed door meeting between the coach and his core group of players. Zucker also made it clear that a simple meeting would not be enough to get the team back on track, but whatever has happened between those comments and now have seemingly softened Zucker a little on the issue. The veteran forward spoke to Mike Russo of The Athletic on Saturday and it sounded a lot like Zucker was trying to walk his statement back.
"There was no reason for me to use his name in that quote in any way. That’s completely on me. My intention w the quote was to state that everybody needs to be better, to do more ... . 99.9% of that is on the players."
It is not clear at this time if this had led to a fracture between Boudreau and Zucker, however Russo did explicitly state that Zucker apologized to Boudreau again today after having previously done so on the team plane earlier this week. Zucker was previously the subject of trade speculation under general manager Paul Fenton, and this current situation is very unlikely to help his case in that regard,