Between A Vancouver Rock and Hard Place: Bruce Boudreau Overcome With Emotion in Morning Skate Press Conference As Coaching Change Rumors Swirl Around Canucks

Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

While longtime NHL head coach Bruce Boudreau has struggled to reach the pinnacle of a Stanley Cup victory, his resume as a bench boss is undisputedly impressive. Tied with former NHL bench boss Jacques Lemaire as the 20th-winningest coaches in NHL history with 617 wins, he is a proven winner wherever he has gone. However, the situation he now finds himself in Vancouver as the Canucks’ Head Coach is anything but positive.

Hired by the Canucks 25 games into the 2021-22 season after a 8-15-2 start under previous bench boss Travis Green, Boudreau guided Vancouver to a 32-15-10 finish to the regular season, and an overall record of 40-30-12. Retained for the 2022-23 season, Boudreau’s Canucks have struggled, currently sitting sixth in the Pacific Division with an 18-23-3 record.

While the Canucks’ struggles have understandably put a spotlight on Boudreau, a poorly-constructed roster and lack of a vote of confidence by the front office (namely former General Manager Jim Benning, current GM Patrik Allvin, and Team President Jim Rutherford) has also contributed to the team’s inability to play a winning brand of hockey.

Early in the week, Rutherford addressed the team’s struggles and the rumors around a change behind the bench, although his comments were anything but encouraging:

“All I can say is that Bruce is our coach right now. But with that, I’m calling and talking, but don’t know that we’re making a change and don’t know that we want to make a change.”

Earlier today, following Vancouver’s morning skate, Boudreau addressed the cloud hanging over his head, and it was clear that the gravity of the situation was on the veteran bench boss’ mind, saying, “I’d be a fool to say I don’t know what’s going on. But like I’ve said before, you come to work, and you realize how great the game is..”, before pausing and proceeding to end the press conference after becoming overcome with emotion when asked on what it means to be an NHL Head Coach.

The man known affectionately as “Gabby” has gone 50-38-13 (.559 Points Percentage) in 101 Games behind the Canucks’ bench and following his morning skate press conference, fans, former players, pundits, and others took to social media to defend Boudreau, who is widely respected around the hockey world, and his situation in Vancouver.

The Canucks host the Colorado Avalanche in Vancouver tonight and play the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks in the following two days. The 68-year old Boudreau has made previous stops in Minnesota and Anaheim, after starting his career in Washington for four seasons, guiding the Caps to a Southeast Division title and playoff berth in his first season after taking over from predecessor Glen Hanlon (for which he won the Jacks Adam Award as the NHL’s best coach); additionally, he captured the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 2006.

By Michael Fleetwood

More Reading:
The Renaissance Run: Bruce Boudreau Named 14th Head Coach in Franchise History On This Day 15 Years Ago
Bruce Boudreau Reflects On 9/11 And How A Last-Minute Flight Change Saved His Life
Bruce, There It Is! Former Capitals’ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau Coaches in 1,000th Career NHL Game
Canucks To Fire Bench Boss Travis Green, Hire Former Capitals’ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau As Replacement

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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14 Responses to Between A Vancouver Rock and Hard Place: Bruce Boudreau Overcome With Emotion in Morning Skate Press Conference As Coaching Change Rumors Swirl Around Canucks

  1. As someone who has always wanted to see Bruce win a Stanley Cup (and many of his Capitals teams providing me with some of my memorable games), it is obviously not his fault he has been given a team incapable of contending. Really hate seeing a truly great ambassador of the sport be treated in this way.

    • KimRB says:

      Lordy, that Caps team under Boudreau was so much fun to watch. Ovi in his prime (well, in his primer, the man is ageless), Young Backy, Semin, Green, Fedorov, all the weapons we had then. Good memories…..well, except for the playoff losses.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    What a complete 💩 show. Vancouver (and Rutherford) are an embarrassment. 😡 Get out of there, Gabby.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a mess of an organization some players want out but are stuck there and the coach wants to stay but they want to force him out. They need to crater and rebuild even though their core is relatively young.
    Bruce deserves better

  4. KimRB says:

    OK here’s a whacky idea: Todd Nelson becomes Capitals next HC. Boudreau takes over the Bears. Huh, huh, am I right? Brilliant, I know!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Ha! I had that exact thought this afternoon. 😁 Gabby still has his main home in Hershey, always returns there in off-season. Owns the Junior club “Hershey Cubs”. He’ll return to coach Hershey at some point

      • racingmoose says:

        As someone who has be lucky enough to have see 75% or more of all Bears games over the last 40 years, that would be great to see. His up tempo style of game he coaches and his interaction with the media, players, and fans is exciting.

  5. KimRB says:

    “Where’s Allvin? He’s clearly not in charge of much here”


  6. Diane Doyle says:

    Someone held up up a “We Stand With Bruce” sign. This tweet was spread by Samantha of the Caps.

  7. Scottlew73 says:

    My uncle lives on Vancouver Island,& has made me aware of “REAL PROBLEM”!
    Team owner while saying he’s staying out of day to day operation of team has been constantly sticking his nose where it shouldn’t be.
    Bruce is good coach you don’t win 600 + games if you are not! Owner clearly wants “yes men/ minions “ in positions in management or they wouldn’t have been hired!
    If “new coach” doesn’t see the lack of respect shown to Bruce and think he won’t be treated the same he’s a moron!

  8. novafyre says:

    Gabby loves hockey. Before he took the Vancouver job I was looking forward to NBCSW making more use of him. And don’t forget that he is part owner and the face of the Hershey Cubs USPHL juniors team. Hockey owes him more than the Canucks management is willing to.

    I don’t watch hockey teams for them to win a Stanley Cup. I watch to be entertained. I would rather get 82 highly entertaining games and miss the playoffs to 82 dull and boring games and make them. Gabby brought life to the Caps. To me, the Rock the Red era began with Ovi and Nicky, red uniforms, and Gabby as coach. He made DC hockey fun. A large part of my unhappiness with Lavi as coach is that too often his teams aren’t fun. I have enjoyed watching the Stingrays more this year.

    • horn73 says:

      Bruce is one classy guy and he’d improve the power play wherever he is!

      They should keep him, but I hope they let him go sooner than later – shameful how Vancouver has handled.

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