Canucks apologize to Bruce Boudreau, name Rick Tocchet head coach

The Vancouver Canucks fired head coach Bruce Boudreau and named Rick Tocchet as his replacement on Sunday.

Boudreau, who was in his second season as coach, saw the Canucks (18-25-3, 39 points) lose 10 of their last 12 games to plummet into sixth place in the Pacific Division. Vancouver is hemorrhaging an NHL second-worst 3.96 goals per game and is last on the penalty kill (65.9 percent) heading into Sunday’s action.

The Canucks also fired assistant Trent Cull and named Adam Foote as his replacement. Sergei Gonchar was named as the team’s defensive development coach on Sunday.

During the press conference, President Jim Rutherford apologized to Bruce Boudreau regarding comments he made during the season.

“In my interviews over the course of the season, I’m too direct and too honest,” Rutherford explained. “This goes back to my comments about the team playing with more structure… I’m sorry I did that and I’ve learned from it.”

Canucks hire Rich Tocchet

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Mar 8, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet during the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Bruce and Trent for their contributions to this organization,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said. “We appreciate their dedication and wish them nothing but the best moving forward. This was not an easy decision to make, but one that we felt was necessary for this franchise.

“Rick Tocchet brings a wealth of knowledge to this team from both a coach and player perspective. He has had more than two decades of coaching experience, guiding teams of various styles. As a player, he displayed a high level of character, grit and intensity, while recording impressive offensive numbers.”

Boudreau, a former Jack Adams Award recipient as NHL coach of the year in 2008, appeared to see the writing on the wall following the Canucks’ 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Boudreau stayed on the bench as fans chanted “Bruce, there it is” before addressing the elephant in the room during his post-game press conference.

“You never know if it’s the end,” Boudreau said. “So when you’ve been in it for almost 50 years, you know, the majority of your life, and now if it’s the end, I had to stay out there and look at the crowd and just try to say, ‘OK, try to remember this moment type of thing.’

“I just wanted to savor looking at the stands, because who knows if I’m ever going to get this chance again.

“I don’t think I lost the room, just lost games. I just had 15 (players) come up to me, we’re all crying together, which is silly for us men to do sometimes, but I think they would have went through a wall for me and, as a coach, that’s all you can ask for, quite frankly.”

Boudreau, 68, replaced Travis Green as the Canucks’ head coach on Dec. 5, 2021. He posted a 50-40-13 record in 103 games with Vancouver.

Overall, Boudreau sports a 617-342-128 record in 1,087 games with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and Canucks.

Tocchet, 58, will leave his television analyst position at Turner Sports and be behind the bench when the Canucks host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Tocchet posted a 53-69-26 record as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-10. He also won the Stanley Cup on two occasions as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) before totaling a 125-131-34 record in four seasons as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2017-21.

–Field Level Media

–The Daily Goal Horn contributed to this article