Just over a week after the Canadiens made major changes to their front office, another Canadian hockey team has followed suit. The Canucks are parting ways with their top-ranked personnel and their top two coaches before their Monday night game against the Kings.
The Canucks announced in a statement that coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner have been relieved of their duties. General manager Jim Benning and assistant GM John Weisbrod are out as well.
These moves come just seven months after Green inked a two-year extension with Vancouver. He and his staff were set to be free agents, but the Canucks decided to retain him.
Evidently, he had a short leash. So did Benning. And while Benning will be replaced internally, the Canucks are hiring Bruce Boudreau to take over as coach. Boudreau, a veteran coach, had been working as a broadcaster since the Wild fired him during the 2020 NHL season.
Why did the Canucks make these moves? Here’s a look at what led to Vancouver’s decisions to change things up.
Why did the Canucks fire Travis Green and Jim Benning?
The Canucks have entirely failed to live up to expectations through nearly one-third of the 2021-22 NHL season. They have posted a record of 8-15-2 in 25 games with just 18 points, the fifth-lowest mark in the NHL and the lowest in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks finished last in the all-Canadian North Division during the 2020-21 season. They struggled with a COVID-19 outbreak and went 4-10-1 in their last 15 games, but the team showed some flashes of upside.
However, their young talent — including Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat — has not progressed as much this year. Despite their struggles, Green wasn’t willing to call them out even after his job hung in the balance following the Canucks’ 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Saturday.
“If you’re asking me to call out our top guys, I’m not going to do that,” Green said after the loss, per NHL.com. “It’s easy to say our top guys didn’t get points tonight, I get that. We’ve done a lot of talking about that as well. I’m not going to continue to do it on a night like tonight.
“With Brock, he’s a guy that has to produce for us. He knows that. He’s trying. He’s working. It hasn’t gone for him. He has to try to continue to work.”
So, with the team struggling and Green’s coaching coming under fire, Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini thought it was best to clean house and give the team a fresh start.
“These are difficult decisions, but we believed we would have a competitive group this year,” Aquilini said in a statement. “As a result, I’m extremely disappointed in how the team has performed so far. I’m making these changes because we want to build a team that competes for championships and it’s time for new leadership to help take us there.”
Why did the Canucks hire Bruce Boudreau?
The Canucks hired Boudreau for two primary reasons. He is an experienced coach and has had success during his NHL career.
“I am excited to add Bruce Boudreau as our new Head Coach, and Scott [Walker] as Assistant,” Aquilini said in a statement. “Bruce is one of the most experienced coaches in the NHL, with nearly 1,000 games behind the bench and a successful track record working with some of the game’s best talent. Scott is a young coach with an excellent reputation who will fit in very well with our group.”
Boudreau, 66, has spent his whole life working in or coaching hockey. He played at levels ranging from Juniors to the NHL from 1972 to 1992. After that, he became a successful coach at the AHL level and won the Calder Cup in 2006. He became the Capitals’ interim head coach in 2007 and continued to coach in the NHL through 2020.
During his career, Boudreau has a 567-302-115 record in 984 games. His teams have made the playoffs 10 times and missed the playoffs just twice under his guide. However, he has been fired in-season at two of his three coaching stops — with the Capitals in 2011 and the Wild in 2020 — and has never made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
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