Vancouver – Vancouver Canucks fans are not heard chanting the coach’s name during the game. But usually, when they want to fire him.
“Bruce, there it is!” It has become a kind of victory song at Rogers Arena since the arrival of Bruce Boudreau in December and has marked one of the most significant mid-season changes in franchise history. .
Boudreau initially said he didn’t like the song because it felt like the game was about the coach, when it was really about the players.
Even after his first game in Vancouver, a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on December 6, he joked that if the Canucks lost, the slogan would be “Bruce, there he goes.”
You wonder what fans might actually say when the company pulls out of its contract with a coach whose record improved to 26-13-8 with Canucks as the team decisively sweeps back-to-back games in Las Vegas and Arizona this week.
“Bruce, there it is!” A scale-down version of this! Canucks were clearly audible among fans at the T-Mobile Arena during Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. And the joyful support for Vancouver coaches on the road is unprecedented.
So far, Canucks general manager Patrick Alvin and president Jim Rutherford have not jumped on the bandwagon-mania when asked if, in essence, Boudreau is doing a good job and the head coach will be reviewing after the season.
The two-year contract signed by managing owner Francesco Aquilini with Boudreau in December offers Cancan an alternate-year – a few days before Rutherford’s appointment – and management is no longer under pressure to deal with Bodreau, say Jetty Miller, another C in the impact forward car deal. The rest is left.
But the undisclosed support for Boudreau, in a market where almost every accent is parsed and requested for interpretation, has contributed to a growing feeling that Rutherford and Alvin may think there will be someone else to coach the Canucks next year.
The issue has become such a regular topic of discussion on radio and social media that Boudreau was asked about it during a news conference last week.
“I think I did the right thing,” Boudreau said when asked if he wanted to extend the contract. “It’s a tough question. I mean, I want to be a coach forever, and I really like Vancouver. I guess that’s the answer to that kind of question.”
But the gratitude of Boudreau’s management is greater than it seems.
When asked about Boudreau in Las Vegas, Alvin told SportsNet that he was feeling bad that his coach was speculating that he might be replaced.
“I don’t know where it started,” Alvin said. “Bruce has done a good job at the moment. We’re still here and every game is important, and he’s preparing the team. I also like the communication with Bruce. “
What will be Boudreau’s future decision-making process?
“We’ll see after this (final) game, and then, obviously, we’ll evaluate,” Alvin said. “But for me, Bruce has done a great job since coming here to Vancouver.”
Asked if there was a real possibility that Boudreau would be the Canucks coach next season and beyond, Alvin said: “Of course. Absolutely. “
Yes, he said it twice.
On merit, Boudreau not only earned in the second year of his contract, but also qualified for an extension so he was not tied to the same drama that his predecessor, Travis Green, endured last season when he was in the final year of his contract and coached every game as if his livelihood was at stake. Fall.
Canucks’ .638 winning percentage since Boudreau Green has been replaced by fourth-best at the Western Conference, tied with Calgary Flames.
Coaches set a 1.3 goal-per-game turnaround: Goals for each game increased from 2.36 to 3.11, while goal-against games decreased from 3.16 to 2.60. Defending that team, by the way, Vancouver is fifth in the league since Boudreau took charge.
Powerplay ranks fourth in the NHL (26.7%), up from 22nd (17.4%), and punishment-murder has improved to a respectable 15M (79.8%) from an unpleasant 32nd (64.6).
As experienced winger Tanner Pearson recently put it: “Where we were when it all started, isn’t it? (Boudreau) turned the ship around and … helped us get another chance at the playoff mix.”
Objectively, there is no controversy about Boudreau’s performance.
But Alvin, who was appointed seven weeks after Boudreau, has the right to choose a coach even if the last Canucks general manager of his Benchman appointment was probably Dave Nunis in 2006, when he promoted Alain Vigniult from among the minors to replace Mark Crawford.
It is clear that Boudreau, who has been out of coaching for almost two years, wants to stay in Vancouver after Minnesota Wild sacked him in February 2020.
“When you’re not in it, and you’ve been in it all your life as long as you can remember, I think the biggest thing you miss is friendship – being at war with a team,” Boudreau said this week.
“Our players have done great. We had some hiccups, but I think for the most part, even when we lost, with the exception of a handful of games, we were really competitive. And that’s important. That means we’re really close. “
Boudreau declined to answer questions about his future, except to say he was “comfortable” with his contract.
“I’m happy to be able to do the job and I think I work hard,” he said. “I love doing it. Like I mean, I wake up in the morning and think about it all day long. And so it gives you purpose, you know? When you think I’ve been doing it professionally for 47 years, you just know. And you never want to stop. “
He still doesn’t have to. If it’s not in Vancouver, he’ll be coaching elsewhere next season. How good the last four months of Boudreau have been.