Mr. Boudreau goes to Washington

Hershey Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau has been named the interim head coach of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee made the announcement today.

Boudreau replaces Glen Hanlon, who has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Hershey assistant coach Bob Woods has been named interim head coach of the Bears.

Boudreau, 52, was in his third season as head coach of the Bears. He led the team to the AHL’s Eastern Conference championship in each of his first two seasons in Hershey, winning the Calder Cup in 2006 and falling to Hamilton in the Finals in 2007. Seven current members of the Capitals played for Boudreau with the Bears.

Boudreau compiled a record of 340-254-61 (.566) in the AHL as head coach of the Bears (2005-07), Manchester Monarchs (2001-05) and Lowell Lock Monsters (1999-2001). He becomes the 14th coach in Capitals history.

Boudreau was an AHL star during his playing days as well, ranking 11th in league history with 799 points (316 goals, 483 assists) in 634 games. He led the league in scoring in 1987-88 and is one of only four AHL players ever to record three career 100-point seasons.

No timetable has been set for naming a head coach beyond Boudreau’s interim status. The rest of the Capitals coaching staff will remain in place.

Woods, 39, becomes the 22nd head coach in Bears history, and the first to take over mid-season since Bill Barber in 1995. Woods, who was in his third season as the Bears’ assistant coach, has won two Calder Cups with Hershey — one as an assistant in 2006 and one as a defenseman in 1997.

Coincidentally, Boudreau and Woods will make their respective debuts in the same arena on Friday. Washington takes on the Philadelphia Flyers in a matinee at the Wachovia Center, followed by an AHL battle between Hershey and the Philadelphia Phantoms that evening.

Boudreau becomes the seventh current NHL head coach to have won a Calder Cup as an AHL coach, joining Philadelphia’s John Stevens, Ottawa’s John Paddock, Carolina’s Peter Laviolette, Tampa Bay’s John Tortorella, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Calgary’s Mike Keenan.