The Vancouver Canucks are unlikely to make the playoffs as their 18-23-3 record has them 12 points out of a playoff spot and eight points from the cellar of the Pacific Division.
For a team that was expected to be involved in the playoff conversation, the Canucks’ performance has been as surprising as it’s been dismal. Big changes are likely coming. And one of those changes appears to be happening in slow motion with head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau’s future firing has seemingly already been decided by the team, but they are keeping him in limbo as their bench boss for the time being. Boudreau spoke about that strange process in an emotional press conference with the media on Friday.
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The veteran NHL head coach was first asked if he’ll be savoring the Canucks next two games which come at home in back-to-back fashion against the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers.
“I don’t know yet,” Boudreau said a bit teary-eyed. “I’d be a fool not to say that I don’t know what’s going on. You come to work and you realize how great the game is.”
The Canucks held their morning skate earlier on Friday as they prepare to take on Colorado. Notably, Boudreau was not on the ice for the skate.
Boudreau’s absence came as reports dropped Thursday that current TNT studio analyst and former Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes head coach, Rick Tocchet, is lined up to take Boudreau’s spot in Vancouver. Due to that, Boudreau’s absence got the attention of reporters and Boudreau’s wife Crystal.
“There’s a lot of media here,” Boudreau said. “I’ve got my wife phoning me saying, ‘You’re not on the ice! Is everything okay?’ So, you guys are getting it out all over the country. It’s tough not to feel it. Look, you love it, you wanna go do it. That’s the way I shut it out is basically just realizing how much you care about the game and the players.”
When asked what he told his wife, Boudreau chuckled and said he said, “I’m still here! I just don’t go on the ice all the time.”
The presser then wrapped up with a reporter noticing that Boudreau had gotten a little emotional answering the earlier question about savoring his time in charge of the Canucks. Gabby was asked what it means to him to coach in the NHL.
He immediately became verklempt and replied with a simple, “I’ll talk later” and ended his availability.
Canucks general manager Jim Rutherford was asked about Boudreau’s situation in a press conference last Monday.
“All I can say is that Bruce is our coach right now,” Rutherford said. “But with that, I’m calling and talking, but don’t know that we’re making a change and don’t want to make a change.”
Boudreau is in the second year of a two-year contract he signed with Vancouver in December of 2021. Prior to his time there, he spent four years with the Minnesota Wild, five years with the Anaheim Ducks, and five years with the Washington Capitals. His teams have not made a playoff appearance since 2018.
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