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Who Coaches What? Canucks Boudreau to Finalize Slots at NHL Draft

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Vancouver Canucks, Mike Yeo
Vancouver Canucks assistant coach Mike Yeo during his time as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.

Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau says his new coaching staff will nail down their roles during meetings at the NHL Draft this week. Aside from personally sharing power play planning with Jason King once again, ‘Gabby’ said the penalty kill and bench responsibilities will be finalized when the group gets together in Montreal.

“We’ll be getting together starting on the 5th, I’ve already written out all of their roles and I won’t say it until I get there, but I mean the plan is to have Trent (Cull) run the defence to replace Brad (Shaw), and all of these other things we’ll figure out as we go,” Boudreau told VHN.

With the departure of Shaw to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cull, the Canucks AHL head coach the last five seasons, was added to the Vancouver staff with Mike Yeo.

Gabby suggested not to make assumptions regarding all of the coaching staff roles, including with the penalty kill.

“That’s one thing we’ll talk about,” Boudreau said. “Mike has run the defence before, also as an assistant in the American League, he’s run penalty killing, he’s run power plays, he’s pretty well done everything, so we’re gonna use his wealth of knowledge and we’re going to talk about it and we’re going to get a good fit and we’re gonna do it.”

Boudreau was the key catalyst in the hiring of Yeo, a former NHL head coach in St. Louis and Minnesota and the recent interim head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Coincidentally, Yeo took over that role following the firing of Alain Vigneault on the same day Boudreau started in Vancouver, December 6th. After the season, instead of retaining Yeo permanently, the Flyers last month hired John Tortorella to run the team.

“He was dealt a pretty tough hand in Philadelphia,” Boudreau pointed out. “Here’s a guy who coached to the end, he never complained, never said anything negative, he was always on board with what they were trying to do, and that’s what we want, we want people that want to be in Vancouver, are enthusiastic and are ready for the challenge next season. Both Mike Yeo and Trent Cull checked those boxes for me.”

Boudreau and Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin did extensive due diligence and considered a number of possibilities, but Yeo always remained at the head of the list.

“I knew Mike from Minnesota,” Gabby said. “We went to a lot of events in the summer when he was still there and we talked hockey quite often. I talked to a lot of people, but I always kept coming back to Mike and was thinking, ‘man, this would be a good fit’. Personality wise he’s a lot like Scott (Stevens, an assistant with Boudreau for a season in Minnesota) and what a lot of people he worked with said was that his communication skills were really good. That’s one of the things we want, the ability to run practices and just his knowledge of hockey.”

Besides preceding Boudreau as head coach of the Wild, Yeo began his coaching career with a decade in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, overlapping with Allvin’s time there.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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