Wild add Hall of Famer Stevens as assistant coach
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens has returned to coaching as an assistant for the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild hired Stevens on Tuesday to join coach Bruce Boudreau’s staff, adding one of the game’s most feared players to the mix. The 52-year-old didn’t coach last season, working instead as an analyst for NHL Network.
Stevens was itching to get back into the NHL.
"I was disappointed I didn’t coach last year after coaching for a few years, but the network was great," Stevens said by phone. "I enjoy being close to the action and right there behind the bench. It’s as close as you can get (to) being a player."
Stevens previously served as a co-coach and assistant for the New Jersey Devils, the team he won the Stanley Cup with three times as a player. He was an assistant for two seasons and was a co-coach along with Adam Oates and Lou Lamoriello after Peter DeBoer was fired midway through the 2014-15 season.
With the Wild, Stevens is looking to add more dimensions to his coaching acumen and improve the blue line that features Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin.
"I like to teach … a lot of those subtle things, fundamentals for a defenseman," Stevens said. "Trying to help players reach their potential is something I like to do because it’s rewarding and I know how hard it is to play this game."
A conversation with Boudreau convinced Stevens that Minnesota was the right fit for him. They didn’t have a previous relationship, but Stevens said he has a ton of respect for Boudreau, who coached the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals before the Wild hired him.
"He’s coached at a lot of different levels with a lot of success," Stevens said. "He has a way of getting the best out of players and teams, and that’s intriguing to me. That’s something I would like to see how he does that. He finds ways to get the most out of players. Players like to play for him. There’s not a lot of coaches in the league that have that ability, and Bruce is one of those guys."
Stevens played 1,635 games with Washington, St. Louis and New Jersey, making 13 All-Star Games and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2000 as playoff MVP.