Vancouver Canucks fire coach Bruce Boudreau, hires Rick Tocchet as replacement | TBEN Sports

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Bruce Boudreau has been fired as coach of the Vancouver Canucks, who are once again on track to miss the playoffs with another underperforming season.

The team announced the change Sunday, less than a week after president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said “major surgery” was needed to fix the Canucks, who have made the playoffs just once in the past eight years. Rick Tocchet was hired as Boudreau’s replacement for a Vancouver team that has lost 28 of 46 games this season.

“This was not an easy decision to make, but we felt it was necessary for this franchise,” said general manager Patrik Allvin in a statement thanking Boudreau for his contributions.

Boudreau waved to the crowd after the Canucks’ final loss Saturday night, their third in the past four games. Chants of “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)” echoed through the arena in tribute to the revered 68-year-old hockey lifer who ranks among the best regular season coaches in NHL history.

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LOOK | Boudreau greets Vancouver audience in last game with Canucks:

Emotional end to the game for Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau hours before he was fired

Bruce Boudreau appeared briefly on the Canucks bench Saturday night following his team’s 4-2 loss to Edmonton. It would be his last game after being fired by the team hours later.

He is the second coach Vancouver has fired in less than 14 months. Boudreau took over in December 2021 when previous coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning had to play 25 games last season.

Assistant Trent Cull has also been relieved of his duties, the team announced on Sunday. Adam Foote was appointed assistant and Sergei Gonchar defensive development coach on Tocchet’s staff.

‘rich in knowledge’

Tocchet previously coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for parts of two seasons from 2008-10 and the Arizona Coyotes for four years from 2017-21. He won the Stanley Cup while playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then twice as an assistant for them.

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“Rick Tocchet brings a wealth of knowledge to this team from both a coach’s perspective and a player’s perspective,” said Allvin. “He has more than two decades of experience coaching and guiding teams of different styles.”

The Canucks have missed the playoffs for the past two seasons since reaching the second round in the COVID-19 bubble in 2020.

Boudreau was with his fourth NHL organization after stints with Washington, Anaheim and Minnesota. He won the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year in 2007–08 when he was elevated from the minors to coach the Capitals on Thanksgiving and took them to the playoffs.

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Teams coached by Boudreau for a full season have made the playoffs nine times out of ten. His .626 point percentage ranks fourth among coaches with at least 500 games behind the bench, and his 617 wins are tied for 20th in league history.

But a Canucks team in disarray didn’t give him much of a chance to keep that success going. Rutherford said at a press conference on Monday that big changes were coming in the off-season, citing a need for the team to get younger.

They could happen sooner, especially with captain Bo Horvat unsigned after this season and drawing attention before the March 3 trade TBEN.