Patrick Reusse
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Jacques Demers coached three World Hockey Association teams as that league was fading away in the 1970s, then followed the Quebec Nordiques into the NHL for the 1979-80 season.

He was fired after that season, then would coach three seasons with St. Louis, four with Detroit, three-plus with Montreal and start two seasons with Tampa Bay. He won a Stanley Cup with goalie Patrick Roy in Montreal.

Demers was known for his tough approach to handling players — pointing out their flaws and overall effort with high-volume agitation.

Which caused Glen Sonmor, Minnesota's great NHL storyteller, to say: "Demers has a four-year contract and a two-year act."

Funny … but pretty much a job description for an NHL coach.

Nowhere in North America's four major men's sports can a coach find himself on the way out as suddenly as in the NHL.

Bill Guerin became the Wild's GM in 2019 and now has completed the exacta: He fired Bruce Boudreau with 25 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season, and he fired Dean Evason on Monday, with 19 games played in this regular season.

And, yes, Guerin did go quickly to the favored cliché for generations of NHL GMs: "You can't trade 23 players."

To his credit, Guerin did admit to that as an "old saying" as he was introducing new coach John Hynes — a rarity among NHL replacements in that he only has been fired twice previously as a head coach in the league.

Hynes is only 48, so give him time to work on his résumé.

Here's my theory on why midseason firings are so common in the NHL:

If you're playing basketball to 110 against a team that is 25% better, you're in trouble. If you're playing hockey to four at the same talent deficit and can coax a goal out of extra effort, you have a real shot to win.

Boudreau was asked about the validity of that premise on Tuesday.

"I don't think there are many players in today's NHL not giving a solid effort," Boudreau said. "I've done it a few times, and when you take over a team, you have to put your stamp on it right away.

"You can't say, 'Let's continue to do it the same way and effort will take care of it,' because what you were doing wasn't working. A different voice can't be saying, 'Do the same things.'

"I'm certain that Hynes is going to come in there and put his stamp on that team right away."

Boudreau turns 69 in January. His 16th season as an NHL coach ended last January, when he was fired by the Vancouver Canucks after 46 games. There was a protest from segments of Canucks fans because of the turnaround Boudreau had produced when taking over 25 games into the previous season.

So, Bruce, would you guess that Evason knew it was coming?

"Listen, there's not an NHL coach alive that doesn't sense they are getting ready to make a change," Boudreau said. "There were people on the outside that felt I was OK in Vancouver, but I knew it was coming.

"When we went from the bottom of the league when I got there to almost making the playoffs in 2022-23, and they weren't interested in a contract extension. I knew then I probably wouldn't make it through the second season."

The most NHL thing ever for Boudreau came during the 2011-12 season: He was fired 22 games (12-9-1) into the schedule in Washington, and five days later he was coaching the Anaheim Ducks in California.

"I got fired at 6:30 in the morning by George McPhee, a very close friend of mine, with the Capitals, and by 10 a.m., Bob Murray was on the phone offering me the Ducks job," he said.

Bruce and his wife Crystal live in Hershey, Pa., and own the Cubs, a junior team. "Crystal is the GM and we've won 10 in a row, so I'd say she's doing a great job," he said.

Boudreau started with the Wild for the 2016-17 season. Two seasons later, Paul Fenton was in his brief time as the Wild GM and informed Boudreau he had a new assistant in Evason.

Guerin replaced Fenton, and then he replaced Boudreau with Evason.

Another theory was offered to Boudreau by me: "I would imagine, after you get replaced a few times, you don't take it personally."

Brief pause, and then he said: "We take it very personally every time."

So, go ahead, Dean Evason:

Take it with clenched teeth. And then wait for the second chance (and maybe several more) to coach an NHL team that's sure to come when a team is desperate to make the playoffs.