Welcome Matt: Canucks finally seem to have everyone in charge on the same page
It was a bloody mess getting there, and there is still an interventionist owner who could change matters at the drop of a dime, but the Vancouver Canucks have finally achieved alignment in their organization.
For the moment (and we boldface/underline that phrase) it appears that the owner has his guy in Jim Rutherford, that Rutherford has his guy in Patrik Allvin, and that Allvin has his guy in head coach Rick Tocchet.
You may remember last year at this time when it became clear that Bruce Boudreau (hired by chairman Francesco Aquilini) was not the choice of Rutherford or Allvin. The president of hockey operations continued to run Bruce down in media interviews, whereas the GM was more subtle with jabs about practice habits.
How that disconnect was allowed to last into January of this season is a matter of Aquilini’s wallet and ego. Didn’t want to pay another coach, didn’t want to admit the mistake of hiring Boudreau before he hired the front office.
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Allvin tried to cover for that Monday, saying Boudreau deserved a chance given his exemplary record last season. He said that their best players were trending the wrong way, that the energy at the rink was bad and that trust was lacking.
But keeping Boudreau to the point where the entirety of British Columbia knew he was dead-man walking was an example of how not to run an organization, delivering a new low for a franchise that has had plenty of them over the last decade.
But after listening to Allvin Monday in a command performance at the season-ending press conference, it sounds like the Canucks have some — and I hesitate to use the word here — stability.
Rutherford is zipping it and letting Allvin run the show. Tocchet is very much simpatico with how management wants the team to practice and play. Both men understand that players need to take ownership of the process, and they are in the midst of creating that culture and empowering their best players.
And, hopefully, Francesco is distracted by another renovation of Rogers Arena to stay far away from hockey operations. It’s Rutherford job to make that so, let his hand-picked GM do the job without interference from an ownership group that has got it wrong in just about every instance where it has involved itself.
It’s taken several years and many good people tossed aside to arrive at this alignment, for the sake of a fan base that deserves so much better, let’s hope it’s lasting.