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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.
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) January 20, 2023
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.
I’ll say again… the fact Vancouver hasn’t fired Boudreau and is trotting him out there every day making him answer questions is a complete disgrace. Zero respect for a guy who has been in the game for 40 years pic.twitter.com/qFWdAO5h7q
— Ryan Whitney (@ryanwhitney6) January 20, 2023
Somewhat ironic that Bruce Boudreau, who is completely getting hung out to dry right now is doing his media availability in front of a Hockey Talks backdrop where the organization commits to positive mental health initiatives… You can’t write this stuff. #Canucks pic.twitter.com/9bXPsBVzp6
— Rob Fai (@RobFai) January 20, 2023
Two #Canucks thoughts on this unbelievable mess:
1) Where’s Allvin? He’s clearly not in charge of much here.
2) Treatment of Boudreau is pathetic, Rutherford should know better. Unprofessional doesn’t even scratch the surface. Hope we hear some “Bruce there it is” tonight.
— Brad Rihela (@BRihela) January 21, 2023
Full interview coming soon. pic.twitter.com/1U3W291GK3
— Donnie & Dhali (@DonnieandDhali) January 17, 2023
The way the Canucks are treating Bruce Boudreau right now is reprehensible. He deserves much better than being left to dangle like this.
— Andrew Paterson (@hustlerama) January 20, 2023
The team I grew up and fell in love with is embarrassing, the mistreatment and lack of respect for Boudreau are gross. Gone are the days when this franchise was respected and accountable. Pat Quinn would be disgusted. They need to tear it down, start over and free the damn skate!
— Peter (@Peteisneat) January 15, 2023
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.
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