How long will Bruce Boudreau get from Canucks management now?
It is a sad situation that we are under surveillance again in October.
Less than a year after firing Travis Green following an 8-15-2 start, Bruce Boudreau’s seat is hot with his 0-5-2 start.
That said, for many reasons, it’s different this year.
For one, the Canucks are already paying Green for not coaching, so switching to Boudreau means compensating two coaches for not coaching. It’s the easy conclusion with a group of owners who have already absorbed a lot of sunk costs and surely don’t appreciate more.
Alas, the Canucks could just promote assistant Mike Yeo to avoid three head coaching salaries, and admittedly there are two internal options to replace Boudreau if they move: Yeo and the head coach of ‘Abbotsford Jeremy Colliton, a former NHL head coach in Chicago.
But switching to Boudreau means embarrassing the owner, which is why I think he may have to wear this season until things get worse.
As you remember, president Francesco Aquilini hired Boudreau before hiring president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford last December. In other words, upside down.
This week, Rutherford distanced himself from Boudreau’s hiring, saying he didn’t know Bruce had an option for this season until he took over.
A story that flew under the radar of last night’s After Hours: Before Rutherford joined the #Canuckshe felt like Bruce Boudreau’s contract only lasted the rest of 2021-22.
He didn’t find out about the second-year option until after he accepted the job. pic.twitter.com/PdUCl8MMe6
— Lachlan Irvine (@LachInTheCrease) October 23, 2022
It’s a whim for Canucks fans. If true, that doesn’t speak well of Rutherford’s due diligence and further exposes process errors when performing last year’s house cleaning.
The other reason I expect Boudreau to hang on to is that management probably doesn’t want to expose their hand-picked coach to the worst of this market and this situation. Why put the new guy through the misery of playing rope for months, when you can give him a fresh start next September?
Speaking of next year – and it’s criminal that we’re talking about next year on October 25 – Barry Trotz will be available and others from the NHL coaching carousel will be too.
I don’t know if New Jersey’s assistant Andrew Brunette has a chance to move up to a head coaching position mid-season, but the Canucks have been eyeing him for an assistant role this year, I suspect it would be interesting this summer. Same as Rick Tocchet.
Rutherford is known as a patient man, and if there is a way back in the pursuit of the playoffs this season, it is just as likely (if not more) to happen with Boudreau than an alternative. Boudreau led an Anaheim team 1-7-2 in the playoffs and had six-game and seven-game winning streaks with the Canucks last year. They are capable of streaking and playing .650 hockey under Bruce.
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Plus, firing the coach means knocking down two bench bosses in less than a year — a horrible look for the franchise. It would be the second case this decade after the transition from Alain Vigneault to John Tortorella to Willie Desjardins, all in the space of 13 months.
So until this season or the coach becomes untenable, I suspect Boudreau will get his long-awaited 600th win and be the scapegoat closer to April than December.