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Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer Hardcover – October 1, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An old-time straight-shooting coach who has won everywhere, Boudreau is one of sport's most honest, blunt, and entertaining coaches. Yet, despite his accomplishments, never too big for his britches. Except for the night you'll read about in Bridgeport." --Mike "Doc" Emrick, NHL play-by-play commentator, NBC, New Jersey Devils TV, and Versus

"When Bruce Boudreau was a scoring star for the junior Toronto Marlboros, I was in the stands at Maple Leaf Gardens cheering him on and now that he's an NHL coach he's still one of my favorite hockey people. Gabby is one of the great people in the game and his story is one of a love affair with the game of hockey; all levels of hockey, not just the NHL. Gabby's story is a must-read, because it's every bit as funny and quirky and nice as the man himself." --Bob McKenzie, TSN Hockey Insider

"Bruce Boudreau is hockey's Everyman, a droll and loquacious fellow who has been everywhere there is ice and who knows everyone who ever has strapped on a pair of skates. Now the Washington Capitals coach takes you on the rollicking, inspiring ride with him. Make sure you demand frequent Greyhound points." --Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated

"As Don Cherry, who wrote a foreword for this book, said: `I know you'll enjoy it.'" --www.hockeyjournal.com, December 5, 2009

"A great tale of perseverance and positive thinking. After reading it, you can't help but root for the `Columbo' of the NHL." --www.faceoff.com, December 10, 2009

About the Author

Bruce Boudreau is head coach of the Washington Capitals. The former head coach of numerous championship teams, Boudreau is the eleventh all-time scorer in the American Hockey League. Boudreau played parts of eight seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, recording 70 points in 141 career NHL games. He won two Memorial Cups with the Toronto Marlboros and set a Canadian Hockey League single-season scoring record that stood until Wayne Gretzky broke it.

Tim Leone is an award-winning sports columnist and reporter for the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he covers the Hershey Bears and the NFL. Formerly with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune he also has written for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and The Hockey News. Leone is the author of The Hershey Bears: Sweet Seasons (Arcadia, 2003).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597974358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597974356
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #642,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a long suffering Washington Capitals fan, I have seen a series of managers ranging from the mediocre (Glen Hanlon, "Butch" Cassidy, etc.) to the good (Brian and Terry Murray). But none are what noted business author, Jim Collins, would refer to as a "Level 5" manager -- the one who generates extraordinary results by winning both with this team ("the workplace") and the fans ("the marketplace").

Until now.

Gabby is a light, pleasant read -- no heavy hockey philosophy here. But it reveals genius through simplicity and passion. Bruce Boudreau's success is spelled out beautifully in this book through a series of stories about his less-than-stellar playing career, lessons learned from minor league coaching, and becoming one of the NHL's most successful coaches.

This book is an idea read for the following: A rabid Washington Capitals fan; a youth hockey coach; high school and up hockey players; and young business professionals looking to glean secrets and tips for being a successful leader. I see a lot of my own company's president (highly successful and a joy to work for) in Bruce Boudreau.

Gabby talks about his experiences, both on and off the ice, in an entertaining way, but if you're not careful, you'll miss the many life-lessons he's trying to convey, such as the one trait, evident on almost every page, that underlies his strength and success -- genuine humility.

There's a few things I thought he glossed over a bit much, such as his divorce from his first wife (but it took some courage to even talk about it), a bit more about some of the players he's coached for, especially some of today's stars on his and other NHL teams, and perhaps a bit more about his own personal background and how he developed his passion for hockey.
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Format: Hardcover
What a great, fun book. As a Capitals fan, I've enjoyed having Bruce Boudreau as the head coach. He's a very open, very talkative guy -- hence the nickname of Gabby. And unlike most coaches, he speaks his mind. He'll tell jokes, he'll be blunt, he'll be honest. It's refreshing to see in sports.

The book is also very refreshing in its openness and honesty. He pulls no punches, spreading praise and asking blunt questions. He doesn't just shine the light on others, questioning his own approach to the game as a player and coming to the conclusion that he can use himself as an example of how NOT to play the game. He admits that he didn't do what he could to be the player he could (even though he's been inducted to the AHL Hall of Fame, he didn't reach his potential in the NHL). That kind of honesty isn't seen much, and lends a nice air to the book.

Boudreau covers his playing and early coaching career in some depth, too, talking up the up-and-down career he had with multiple teams in multiple leagues, admitting when perhaps he made a wrong decision in his contracts, and pointing out a few instances when he could have gotten off track but for one minor choice. He also gives readers a great look at the evolution of his coaching style and background, talking about who he coached, for, with, and against, and what he learned from each of them. It wasn't all peaches and cream, and he bluntly discusses why -- even when it was due to his own actions or decisions.

But where the book is really fun for Caps fans is when Boudreau is promoted on Thanksgiving Day 2007 and takes the worst team in the league on a magic carpet ride to the playoffs, making DC one of the new Hockey Towns in the league.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Living near Buffalo, I'm a lifelong Sabres fan, but there is something about Bruce Boudreau that appeals to me, so I bought the book. Maybe I just like an honest coach who doesn't give cliche answers and one who wears his heart on his sleeve, or one who paid his dues more than most to make it to the NHL Whatever it is, it's not hard to root for him.

The book is a lot lower-key than I thought it might be - not that much humor or controversy - but I still had no trouble reading it. It's an easy read, which is a compliment. I wish it had more on last season and a detailed report on the exciting playoff series against the Penguins. Instead, it's kind of an afterthought at the end of the book. I assume most of this was written before the 2008-2009 season. The book, however, gives you a good feel of what it's like to coach in the minors.

You just have to be a fan of hockey and you'll enjoy reading this autobiography about an underdog who made good.
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Format: Hardcover
Bruce Boudreau's energetic and magnetic personality comes shining through in his autobiography, "Gabby:" Confessions of a Hockey Lifer". I'd highly recommend this book to any fan of the Washington Capitals or hockey in general.

Nicknamed "Gabby" during his years in junior hockey, the chatty coach of the NHL's Caps puts his almost child-like love of the game on display in this snappy fast read. Boudreau runs through stories faster than an Ovechkin charge up-ice, and he covers more years and hockey experiences than the Caps have had wins in the last two seasons.

Gabby reveals how many of his early hockey career destinations were due to misguided and bad decisions. His agent encouraged him to stay in minor league Johnstown where he snagged some time with Paul Newman and shows up in the movie "Slapshot". He chose to go the World Hockey Association for a little more pay rather than grab NHL offer.

Along the way, it becomes clear that Gabby was the 'little engine that could'. In spite of himself, and his self-admitted lackadaisical approach to taking the game seriously, Boudreau was successful on an individual basis (he's been named to the AHL Hall of Fame), at the team level (he won the Memorial Cup in junior hockey), and as a coach (winning ECHL and AHL Championships).

Boudreau also provides insights into his time with the Caps, heart-breaking Game 7 playoff losses, managing All-Star talent, and his strategic and tactical approaches to coaching one of the highest scoring teams in the league.

The book is fun and funny, and is a veritable who's-who in the world of hockey. The book is a quick read for adults and perfectly appropriate for any students of the game 4th grade and up.
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