Why it’s a positive sign that the Canucks’ new management isn’t jumping the gun on Bruce Boudreau’s contract
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
You didn’t need to watch the end-of-season availability session between general manager Patrik Allvin and president Jim Rutherford to hear through the grapevine that a contract extension for head coach Bruce Boudreau is not yet in the making.
Heck, even media members themselves were quick to ask clarifying questions. The revelation caught many people by surprise. Why wait to lock down Boudreau when he has taken the team leaps and bounds in half a season? Simple, you don’t put the cart before the horse.
“We would be willing to have him back under the contract he agreed to when he came here,” said Rutherford about Boudreau’s future. “That’s certainly not to say that at the end of next year we wouldn’t want him back.”
Albeit an impressive season turnaround, Boudreau has yet to hold the reins for an entire year, and as we can imagine, a lot can change in a few months’ time. Fans have seen what Boudreau can make from a back-half of a season, but where can he take a team he started with from training camp? He deserves the opportunity to prove what he can do with a full season under his belt.
It also isn’t typical for Rutherford to extend the contract of his coaches prematurely. During his availability, Rutherford made reference to Mike Sullivan’s contract which he didn’t extend until Sullivan’s final year, despite leading Pittsburgh to back-to-back Stanley Cups. So, certainly, this isn’t a performance-related reflection.
With that in mind, the last thing people should be doing is racing to get up in arms about an extension, especially after it didn’t go the organization’s way last time around. Former head coach Travis Green only lasted seven months into his brand-new two-year extension, and with a whole year remaining, management is being cautious, as Rutherford mentioned, and not forcing themselves into any decision quite yet.
Perhaps most importantly, Rutherford added that thus far, he hasn’t had to “manage up” and that he and owner Francesco Aquilini talk every couple of weeks, but added that if you hire multiple coaches who ownership has to pay at the same time, it may become more difficult not to have to manage up.
Remember, ownership still has to pay Travis Green for all of next season, and would certainly love for next season to be the last one in which they pay multiple head coaches at the same time.
Boudreau’s impressive 32-15-10 record with the team, amounting to a 106-point pace in a full 82 game season, gives management something to sit back on. It’s an impressive record, but it’s still just an early indicator. However, there is no question this team is a better squad with Boudreau around. “He’s a player’s coach, he motivates, and he got as much out of players as he could get. I like the job he has done,” said Rutherford on the impact Boudreau has had since day one.
But with the conclusion of the regular season, now all these stats stand as a benchmark to beat next season. After everything was said and done, the team didn’t make the playoffs.
There is work still to be done, especially with the structure of the team.
Boudreau may not be getting an extension, but that certainly doesn’t mean there won’t be a tabled discussion if things continue to progress in the right direction next year. Rutherford did mention that having discussions sooner than later would be best.
What truly matters is that Boudreau returns next year, and gives fans and management the opportunity to see him run his first training camp for the Canucks. As you read yesterday, Boudreau has until June 1st to make a decision and exercise the option in his contract to return behind the Canucks’ bench next season.
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