Boudreau gets emotional on bench in final game with Canucks

Jan 22 2023, 1:51 pm

Bruce Boudreau, at least on paper, remains the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks for a few more hours.

But it doesn’t take much digging to realize that Saturday night at Rogers Arena was, barring a miracle, Boudreau’s final game as coach with Vancouver.

In the waning moments of a 4-2 Canucks loss to the Edmonton Oilers, a teary-eyed Boudreau gave applause to the Vancouver crowd who had been chanting “Bruce, there it is!” throughout the contest.

Several reports have indicated that Boudreau’s departure will be made official on Monday, with former Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet to be made his replacement.

Boudreau himself confirmed as much postgame, per The Province’s Patrick Johnston, though he’s yet to be officially let go.

And just like much of the rest of the media and the fanbase, he was as confused as anyone as to why he still was in charge for Vancouver’s last stretch of games after the news of his expected firing had already leaked for over a week.

“I don’t know the reasoning why I’m still here,” Boudreau candidly told reporters after the game. “But maybe because the next games are Chicago, Seattle & Columbus. For the new group, good luck.”

Boudreau’s all-time NHL record 617-341-128 in 1,086 games with the Canucks, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals.

After 141 games as a player in the NHL, as well as numerous stints in a series of minor leagues, Boudreau began his foray into coaching as a player assistant of the Fort Wayne Komets of the now-defunct International Hockey League in the 1990-91 season.

His first head coaching gig came in the Colonial Hockey League with the Muskegon Fury, barking on nearly two decades in the minor leagues before he first stepped behind an NHL bench as head coach in 2007-08 with the Capitals.

“When you’ve been at it almost 50 years, I mean, the majority of your life and if it’s the end… I had to stay out there and just look at the crowd and just try to say: ‘Okay, remember this moment,'” Boudreau said of waiting for the crowd following the game. “I just wanted to savour looking at the stands because who knows if I’m ever going to get this chance again. And just keep that in my mind in the memory. . . let it burn there forever.”

Tocchet’s first game with the Canucks is expected to be Tuesday, when Vancouver hosts Chicago at 7 pm PT.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

+ Offside
+ Hockey
+ Canucks