It was a somber time for Bruce Boudreau as he met with the press after his final game coaching in Vancouver last night. The Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced today that the club has made multiple changes to its coaching staff. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and Assistant Coach Trent Cull have been relieved of their duties. Rick Tocchet has been hired as the 21st Head Coach in franchise history. Adam Foote has been named Assistant Coach and Sergei Gonchar has been hired as a Defensive Development Coach.
Official: Bruce Boudreau and assistant coach Trent Cull out.
Rick Tocchet takes over, joined by Adam Foote and Sergei Gonchar’s official title is “defensive development coach.” https://t.co/sQRjNgJk3w
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 22, 2023
Rick Tocchet Has a Head Coaching Job Again
After thanking Bruce Boudreau for his time with the Canucks, GM Patrik Allvin had this to say about Tocchet.
“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.”
Most recently Tocchet has coached the Arizona Coyotes from the 2017-18 season to the 2020-21 pandemic-laced season. He was able to get the playoff-hungry Coyotes to the postseason for the first time in eight seasons. While it was in a special qualifying round of the playoffs, the Yotes eliminated a tough Nashville Predators team in four games. Of course, their next opponent was the Colorado Avalanche and they fell short in five games to the powerful Avs.
Tocchet’s NHL career coaching stats don’t hold light to Bruce Boudreau’s. Tocchet has a 178-200-60 record, holding a .475 points percentage. Boudreau has a 617-342-28 record which amounts to a .626 percentage. For whatever reason, Boudreau just could not get the Canucks going this season. They are currently 18-25-3 for 39 points placing them sixth in the Pacific Division and 27th in the entire NHL. Playoffs are not considered to be possible unless Tocchet and his new staff can work miracles.
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The Canucks Are a Team in Trouble
They expected better this season, and since it hasn’t happened, the coaching change was inevitable. The team is currently trying to trade their best player and captain Bo Horvat before the trade deadline. Brock Boeser, Conor Garland and even Oliver Ekman-Larsson have been involved in trade rumors. That may stop when Elias Pettersson‘s name gets mentioned, but nobody really knows what direction this team is headed towards. In other words, Tocchet may have wanted to get into coaching, but he may change his mind when he attempts to address all the issues this team seems to have.
Tocchet does have some skills with younger players and he of course is very familiar with OEL and Garland. One problem that this writer envisions immediately is with the way Tocchet played (or didn’t play) OEL. Ekman-Larsson was averaging over 23 minutes of ice time and in the 2020-21 season, his ice time decreased significantly down to almost 21 minutes. Both OEL and Garland will be re-united with Toccket, so we shall see how that works out.
It seems that when a coaching change is made the players tend to rally around the new coach. That may be difficult for the Canucks as they seemed very close to Boudreau. Tocchet being a former player should be able to relate to those feelings and hopefully get more out of the team than Boudreau was able to do.
The Canucks will be very busy at the trade deadline and Tocchet will have some new players to coach. Whether that means he will attain success is yet to be determined. This club has a long way to go. Tocchet doesn’t have much time to reset the Canucks. He was given a contract good through the 2024-25 season. That could be a show-me-what-you-can-do type of contract with little wiggle room for Tocchet to expect more time for results.
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