This Vancouver Canucks’ season is beginning to look like a mash-up of Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and Daniel Poweder’s “Bad Day”.
The bad days have started coming and they won’t stop coming.
On a weekend where the hockey world focused in on the Canucks’ handling of Bruce Boudreau, they ended up officially making the decision to move on from the loveable coach on Sunday morning. Boudreau entered Rogers Arena at 9:25 and the team sent out an official release just seven minutes later. They announced that Rick Tocchet would be meeting with the media at 1:00 pm and we were off.
The bad days won’t stop coming.
It’s not to say that Rick Tocchet is a bad coach. I’m guessing he’s actually one of the best coaching minds in the world — maybe not top-10 but absolutely in the top 50. That’s good!
In his introductory media availability, Tocchet spoke about various topics, including addressing this team’s league-worst penalty kill, cleaning up their bottom-five goals against numbers at five-on-five, and something about not being able to swallow a whole elephant in one bite.
Clearly, Tocchet has a mountain of work to get done and when asked about accomplishing one thing this season, he spoke about wanting to see improvement from each individual. He wants to see players improve on things like skating, working hard, and decision-making. This is a good plan. There are obviously a lot of players in that room that need to improve on those skills. Tocchet may end up being a coach who can get more wins out of this group than Boudreau was able to. But asking Tocchet to turn this current roster into a contender is not going to be an easy job.
Everything needs to bounce in the direction of the Canucks for them to make the playoffs with this current roster and unfortunately for them, this season, the bad days won’t stop coming.
This organization needs to take a serious look at its charted path and wonder if it is seriously feasible to contend. Not only if they get all the bounces, all the goaltending, all the 26 and under players who haven’t worked out on their entry-level contracts, or all the Elias Pettersson magic. This team needs to plan for how they manage bumps in the road.
Because as of late, this organization has set itself up for failure and if they continue down this path — you guessed it — the bad days won’t stop coming.
Jim Rutherford now has his staff.
The General Manager is his guy. The assistants are his people. And now, with Tocchet in town, the coach is his guy as well.
It’s a clean slate from here on out for the Canucks to deliver on their plan to retool in less than three years.
Playoffs are great but as Patrik Allvin said twice on Sunday, “I haven’t seen a banner” hanging in Rogers Arena. The cup is the goal and we know the Canucks plan to get there.
I hope that they can do it. I want to write about and cover this team when they are in the conversation for a cup. It just feels like they are way more than two years away from being in the mix. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I am SO DAMN WRONG about this. Because this fanbase deserves it.
This fanbase deserves an organization that they can cheer for, not against.
But more importantly, the province of British Columbia and the fans all around the world deserve a Canucks organization that they can be proud of.
And I hope I am dead wrong. But I don’t know if this current path is the right course to take to be a cup contender.
Please prove me wrong.
With that being said, let’s see what the people of Canucks Twitter had to ask this week and unfortunately, I’m going to have to skip the numerous questions that include profanity or asking “what’s the point?”
No more wasted words, let’s hit the mailbag.
Nothing concrete yet but the latest I’ve heard is that though the hit looked really bad on February 16th, Jack Rathbone is doing well with recovery. I’ll have an update soon on a timeline but just haven’t had as much time to connect with the folks in Abbotsford with what’s been going on here in Vancouver.
It’s not as long-term as it may have looked when he was lying motionless on the ice and required a stretcher for the second time in 11 months.
Jack is one of the best people in the organization and we wish him a speedy recovery. We will certainly hope to report some good news soon.
In the beginning, it was all about Boudreau. And I believe it should have been.
It was probably pretty awkward for Rick Tocchet, but he was there to talk about coaching this team and honestly, he said some pretty good things about wanting to fix some problems on this team. The talk of taking Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes off of the penalty kill was surely something that raised some eyebrows as those two players have been great for the Canucks while shorthanded this season.
But overall, Tocchet spoke about leaning on his staff and the vibe from him was pretty good. There were a lot of words from Allvin and less from Rutherford as he joked at one point and said that he’s decided that he needs to, “zip it”.
A public apology to Boudreau was certainly something that was surprising, but hearing Rutherford say that he felt really bad about the situation was something that should be looked at as a positive for the organization.
I would expect to see NHL games from Christian Wolanin, Phil Di Giuseppe, and potentially Linus Karlsson.
It’s also very likely that Nils Aman, Nils Höglander, and Vasily Podkolzin get a chance as well.
As for Arturs Silovs, I wouldn’t bring him up this season. I’d like to see him be the man for an AHL playoff run. He’s been given the starter’s role at just 21 years old and he is absolutely running with it.
Jack Rathbone could get a look if he gets back to playing shape soon.
Justin Dowling or Noah Juulsen may get a chance if there are injuries to the NHL team.
Any other name that I didn’t mention would come as a serious shocker.
He is the man for Rutherford and Allvin, so I’d bet he lasts through his current deal which Irfaan Gaffar of The Fourth Period has reported runs through the 2024-25 season.
This trio has looked great together and each of Aman, Höglander, and Karlsson look like they should get NHL games in the coming seasons.
They would be a trio that could show as a new-age fourth line if they can make the necessary adjustments in their game to have success in the NHL. For now, they are working on more than just chemistry in the AHL and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them together at next season’s training camp.
If I remember correctly, (and I do, I just looked it up) the trio was together throughout training camp this year!
If done correctly, my guess is 3-5 years before they are a legitimate cup contender.
If done incorrectly, 7-10 years.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s no-move clause would make this near impossible and you’d likely still have to add with Horvat to get anyone to take this deal.
No team would be able to take on both of their salaries as well.
This just wouldn’t be possible.
But like I said earlier
I would love to be wrong!
Thanks for all the questions this week, though many weren’t able to be included because of the reasons we mentioned earlier about profanity. As always, thank you very much to the great folks who sent in a question this week, and we will see you all next Monday for another mailbag here at CanucksArmy.