The Vancouver Canucks announced Bruce Boudreau as the new head coach on Dec. 6, 2021. This is his fourth time behind an NHL bench, and he hopes some playoff success will follow this time. Here are five interesting facts about the former Jack Adams Winner.
Boudreau One of the Best Regular Season Coaches of All-Time
One thing Boudreau has mastered is winning in the regular season. Before being hired by the Canucks, he collected 567 wins, ranking him 22nd on the all-time coaching list. He was also ranked third in points percentage amongst coaches who have coached at least 400 regular-season games.
In short, the Canucks are bringing in a coach who has shown time and time again he can turn around a team and succeed in the regular season. Boudreau has collected eight division titles in his coaching career and made the playoffs 10 times. For reference, since 2007, when he got his first job as a head coach, the Canucks have only made the playoffs seven times. The hope is he can bring his winning ways to Vancouver and bring some stability and consistency to a franchise that has been missing it for the last eight years.
Boudreau Has Always Finished Above .500
No matter what team Boudreau has coached in the NHL, they have finished above .500 when it comes to points percentage. He has also never had more regulation losses than wins in his 14 seasons behind the bench. Yes, he has been replaced midseason twice, but even then, his point percentage was above .500.
For comparison, during the Jim Benning era, which lasted from 2013-14 to this season, the Canucks only had a points percentage higher than .500 three times. Travis Green did it once, Willie Desjardins once, and John Tortorella in his only season with the franchise. As mentioned, this franchise needs some form of consistency, and amongst NHL coaches, Boudreau is one of the most consistent of all time.
Players Flourish Under Boudreau in the Regular Season
When Boudreau jumps behind the bench, NHL stars flourish. During his first season in Washington, Alex Ovechkin won the Hart, Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Ted Lindsay Trophies after putting up a career-best 65 goals and 112 points. That season, he also helped develop a young Nicklas Bäckström into a star as his 69 points in 82 games ranked second in the league amongst rookies, trailing only Patrick Kane.
In Anaheim, some players did not see big jumps right away, but by years two and three, they were having career years. Players like Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino, Hamphus Lindholm and Frederik Andersen all benefited from Boudreau’s coaching style. Although most did not win league awards, they all reached new peaks in their career under his guidance and became better players when he was around.
The same thing happened in Minnesota, where players like Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle all had career years while Boudreau was in charge. Even just one game into his career coaching Vancouver, Brock Boeser broke out of his scoring slump, Elias Petterson looked rejuvenated, and Juho Lammikko finally scored his first as a Canuck. It is early, but if history is any indication, he could be the coach to turn around some of the Canucks star player’s seasons.
A Star on the Ice and on the Screen
The movie Slap Slot is one of the most iconic hockey movies in history. This movie became an instant classic from the Hanson Brothers beating up everything that could move to Ned Braden stripping in front of the arena instead of participating in a line brawl. For Boudreau, the movie holds a special place in his heart as he was actually in it.
Before he made the jump to the NHL as a player, Boudreau was playing in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. This was the same city that the movie was filming in, and they were looking for hockey players to be extras. Not only did he get picked as an extra and make the final cut, his apartment at the time was used in the movie. Although his acting career never took off, minus a few commercials on local TV stations, this is one of those fun stories he can tell people about for the rest of his life.
Boudreau Loves Wrestling
During an interview with Jackie Redmond of NHL Network, Boudreau discussed his love of wrestling. He has always been a fan of the sport, according to an article done by The Washington Post in 2009. Some of his favorite wrestlers included Jake the Snake, Mick Foley, Bam Bam Bigelow and Bret Hart. (from “Bruce Boudreau and Pro Wrestling”, The Washington Post, 2/10/09) Now, since he is behind the bench again, he will have less time to watch some of his new favorites like Becky Lynch and Kevin Owens.
Luckily for Boudreau, the wrestling fandom in Vancouver is strong. There is a new organization called Nation Extreme Wrestling that put on wrestling events in Vancouver while bringing in some of the best independent wrestlers from across the Pacific Northwest. Who knows, maybe Canuck fans will run into the coach at one of these events, or even better, witness him as a guest referee showing his enthusiasm for the sport he enjoys.
The Right Coach for the Canucks Right Now
Boudreau was the right hire based on where the Canucks are right now. Some may say that the job should have gone to a younger coach rather than a “recycled” one, but if the last seven seasons are any indication, the team needed a veteran coach who knows how to win rather than another first-timer. In the end, this is a results-based industry, and the Canucks now have one of the best in history behind the bench. So far, the results have been positive, so hopefully, they will continue into the future.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.