According to multiple reports, Travis Green is out as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Bruce Boudreau is in. Apparently the 4-1 loss at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night was the last straw for a Canucks team that has started off the season well below expectations.
Boudreau, a.k.a. “Gabby”, comes in a season-and-a-quarter after being relieved of his duties by the Minnesota Wild after the 2019-’20 season. He previously coached the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals.
Oddly fitting that just yesterday, in a pregame interview with Vancouver Hockey Now, two-time Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, a close friend of Green’s, talked about the ups and downs of coaching in the NHL, being held responsible for things out of your control, and learning along the way.
“When you get involved in coaching in the NHL you sign up for certain things,” Sully said. “And the reality is, when teams under-perform or don’t live up to expectations, that change is inevitable and the coach is on the front lines. That’s something we sign up for, I understand it, and I wlll tell that was not an easy experience (getting fired as head coach in Boston), but it was a great learning experience.”
So ironically, a-day-and-a-half later, his former teammate, a player he actually coached, and his longtime hockey confidant Green, gets fired. One night after Green’s team lost to Sullivan’s. Such is the business. Sullivan also brought up his firing here in Vancouver as an assistant, although after just one season, when he and John Tortorella were let go by the Canucks in 2014.
“We would have liked to have won more games but once again it’s one of those things when expectations aren’t met and change is inevitable and as I said before the coaches are on the front lines of that,” Sullivan said.
Particularly poignant given the timing. The expectations for the Canucks were definitely not being met.
Green departs in his fifth season running the bench in Vancouver for the Canucks. His club made the playoffs once, in the “bubble” in 2020, and he leaves with a current season record of 8-15-and-2.