For the final time, Bruce Boudreau met with the media to discuss the 2021-22 season, his future with the Vancouver Canucks, and what is going to happen to the belt.
Boudreau came to a team that was in the dumpster and made them competitive all the way up until the final couple of games in the regular season. Though everything looked positive for Boudreau, this 32-15-10 stint that Boudreau was able to accomplish behind the bench was great for him to fall back in love with coaching after having his future questioned due to a bad taste in his mouth from his previous job.
“When I left Minnesota, it was really a bad taste in my mouth,” said Boudreau. “When you’re a year out and interview for a couple of jobs in the summer, and you don’t get them. You just wonder if people think that the time has passed.
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“Then coming back and having that kind of record and having the team play the way they did in a lot of different areas positively. It makes you believe that when you go home that you did well and that you still can do the job and the other thing is you know, you still have the fire in your belly and the desire to do the job and you can still handle the stress of the job and you wake up every morning can’t wait to get back to the job and that’s what I found. Once I started doing it again is that I couldn’t wait to get to work. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you love something until you don’t have it when you get it back and you realize it.”
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There were plenty of questions about Boudreau’s future in Vancouver and from the tone of his answers, it looks like steps are being taken towards getting a deal done from either side. Boudreau is excited about the young players that this organization has and spoke highly of building on the momentum that they gained this season.
“I told Patrik [Allvin] and Jim [Rutherford] that I wanted to coach here next year,” said Boudreau. “So I mean, we’re just talking right now. Hopefully, things get done. I think that they want me back and I know I want to be back. So I think it should work out.”
Even with Boudreau commenting on wanting to be back and saying that the management group wants him back, there are other situations that could make Boudreau check around with other teams. Boudreau has seen his stock rise with what he’s done in Vancouver this season. The Canucks should really look to lock down Boudreau with a contract that makes sense for both sides and do it quickly. You don’t want the perfect opening to come up for Boudreau and watch him walk away after the leadership he has shown behind the bench this season.
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When it came to Boudreau’s impact on the roster construction and what his hopes were for this team in the offseason, he didn’t have many. Boudreau said that it’s his job to coach the players that are given to him and he will help provide information on the players that he coached if asked but simply wants to be the coach and let management build the team. He joked and said that Connor McDavid would fit nicely with the group and he isn’t wrong — but he also said that’s not likely to happen.
The culture around this team saw a shift towards making winning become the most important thing under Boudreau. We saw young players find their voice in the room and leaders step up and be heard when the team needed a jolt. Boudreau said he didn’t know what it was like in the room before he got there but was pleased with how the culture developed under his tutelage.
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“The way I am is that I’m pretty positive and everything is about winning,” said Boudreau. “It didn’t take long for everybody to understand that. It didn’t matter what we did, it was about winning. I think that’s a great culture to have. It starts with practice. It starts with the will to win in every game, I think. If you take away four games there wasn’t a game where we weren’t in a battle to the end. Whether it was the best team in the league or a lesser team, we fought to win every game. At the end of the year, we came in expecting to win every game we played.”
Boudreau noted how the core players of this team are still very young. He mentioned having a top-tier goaltender, one of the best defencemen in the league, and three strong centres to be the backbone of this franchise.
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He showed a lot of excitement for what this team showed throughout the year and seemed to be very open about wanting to be back with the Canucks next season.
Additionally, Boudreau spoke about supporting Brock Boeser — who revealed on Sunday that his father Duke is struggling with dementia — over the course of the season.
“Over the course of the year, I would tell Brock that if he needs time, if he needs time away, if he has to go home, to let me know and we’ll make it happen,” said Boudreau. “Because I mean, the biggest thing, if you have like a core covenant for your team, the first thing is always family first, and I firmly believe in that.
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“This is a game. We all love the game, we all work for the game and get paid for it, but your family’s the most important thing and he knew that. Obviously, it was tough on him… It makes for a long, tough year and I think Brock will be great next year. And I hope everything goes well at home, but he knows that he has our support for anything he needs when he goes home.”
We now wait for Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford to meet with the media at 1:15 on Tuesday. You’d have to imagine that one of the first questions asked will be about the future of Boudreau as the Canucks’ bench boss. Boudreau has said his side of the situation and it seems like he’s more than willing to stay in Vancouver. The ball is now in management’s court to finalize a deal and keep Boudreau in Vancouver.
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Boudreau was able to raise the confidence of almost every Canucks’ player and found a way to unlock another level of production from some of the organization’s young stars.
It would be a mistake to not bring back Boudreau next season and he spoke about building on the momentum that they accumulated through the second half of the season. This team needs to continue to build off of that at training camp instead of starting all over with a different group of leaders behind the bench. We saw what players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Vasily Podkolzin and others were able to do under Boudreau — that’s what fans want to see more of.
Give the man his extension already.
Quads and I were at the rink yesterday and had a chat about Boudreau’s presser, along with some preliminary thoughts of what’s next for the Canucks’ offseason. You can watch that below.
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