Canucks Fire Benning & Green, Bring In Boudreau & Walker

The inevitable has finally happened, the Vancouver Canucks have fired general manager (GM) Jim Benning, assistant GM John Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner. Replacing Green and Baumgartner will be Bruce Boudreau and Scott Walker. On an interim basis, Stan Smyl will take over as GM with Ryan Johnson, Chris Gear, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Doug Jarvis working in collaboration with him. Brad Shaw, Jason King and Chris Higgins appear to have survived the gallows and will live to fight another day alongside Boudreau.

The news came down the pipe late Sunday evening when Elliotte Friedman reported that Green was out as head coach and Boudreau was in. A little over an hour later, the rest of the dismissals were announced by multiple sources. Then, Owner Francesco Aquilini confirmed everything in a media release along with an announcement that a search for new leadership was underway.

The moves come after an embarrassing loss on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday where the Canucks lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were once again badly outshot and outplayed as Thatcher Demko was the only reason the score wasn’t worse than 4-1.

Related: Canucks Candidates to Replace Green Should Include Boudreau & Bylsma

While we don’t know what will come of the front office changes, the Canucks will likely have Boudreau and Walker behind the bench when they face Alex Edler and Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Smyl, Aquilini and Boudreau will meet the media in the afternoon before the game.

Boudreau Brings Experience and an Aggressive System

The Canucks currently sit last in the Pacific Division with a record of 8-15-2 partly because of Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser’s lack of production. They are both former 20-goal scorers and have yet to show any of their offensive talents this season. That may change with Boudreau coming in. He coaches a very high-tempo game with a lot of room for creativity for the star players. He also knows how to win as his teams have routinely made the playoffs during his tenure. In fact, he has only missed them twice in his career.

I am excited to add Bruce Boudreau as our new Head Coach, and Scott as Assistant. Bruce is one of the most experienced coaches in the NHL, with nearly 1,000 games behind the bench and a successful track record working with some of the game’s best talent. Scott is a young coach with an excellent reputation who will fit in very well with our group.

Francesco Aquilini
Bruce Boudreau Minnesota Wild
Bruce Boudreau, seen here with the Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Boudreau is also the most seasoned coach the Canucks have had since John Tortorella. Before his two-year contract is done in Vancouver, he will have coached 1,000 games in the NHL as he currently sits at 987. He also has 567 wins on his resume from stints with the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild.

Benning Out After Eight Years

Benning was hired way back in 2014 and eight years later, the Canucks are still not much better than they were back then. Yes, they have young talent in the form of Pettersson, Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander, but they also have salary cap problems from bad contracts signed by their now-former GM. From Loui Eriksson’s infamous $36 million contract in 2016 to Tucker Poolman’s $10 million contract this past offseason, he has created more problems than he has solved.

Jim Benning
Vancouver Canucks’ former-general manager Jim Benning (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The Canucks have had little to no success on the ice under his watch either. Since coming to Vancouver from the Boston Bruins, they have made the playoffs only once and have a very mediocre regular-season record of 242-257-61. Over the last few seasons, he has also taken a lot of heat from the fanbase, prompting “Fire Benning” banners in the sky, protests in front of Rogers Arena and endless discussion on social media. With the team losing on a very consistent basis this season and the final straw of a jersey being thrown on the ice on Saturday, the blade finally fell on the Benning era on Sunday.

Related: Canucks Have 5 Candidates to Replace Jim Benning if He is Fired

With almost a full sweep of the coaching staff and front office, it will be interesting to see if these changes translate to success in the future. The last few seasons have not been fun for the fanbase and the frustrations hit a boiling point on Saturday with boos and “Fire Benning” chants. It was almost a foregone conclusion that change was going to happen sooner rather than later.


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