Vancouver Canucks: Fans must be patient with Travis Green


New Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green is going to need time to steer this ship in the right direction, so it’s only fair that fans are patient with him.

Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault stood behind the bench for seven seasons, until he was fired after an ugly first round sweep in the 2013 playoffs.

Nobody could have expected that Vancouver would go on to have three head coaches in the following five years. Heck, the front office gave John Tortorella a five-year contract worth $10 million to replace Vigneault. He was fired after one year.

Previous head coach Willie Desjardins would last three years as the Canucks head coach. He took them to the playoffs in year one, but followed it up with 28th and 29th places in the league standings.

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Desjardins was subsequently fired and replaced with current head coach Travis Green, the bench boss of the Utica Comets (Vancouver’s AHL team).

As said earlier, Vigneault was the Canucks head coach for seven seasons. Vancouver will now have their fourth head coach over a six-season span. But for Green, it’s different.

Tortorella was brought in to somehow turn an aging Canucks core into a Stanley Cup winner.

Desjardins was brought in to work with a team mixed with kids and past-their-prime veterans. It didn’t work out for either ‘Torts’ or ‘Willie D’.

But Green has a fresh start and gets to run the team how he wants it. This is a Vancouver core that’s gotten younger, faster and more skilled — thanks to Benning having no choice but to ship out veterans for future assets.

So Green has finally been supplied with the type of players that most new head coaches would want in the NHL. Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Markus Granlund, Sven Baertschi and Troy Stecher are all excellent pieces for him to work with. But don’t expect to see major results over night. This is why Green deserves patience.

Rebuilding takes time

The Canucks may have some solid young players in the fold, but none of them have that Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews ability to carry a team from cellar dweller to the playoffs in the blink of an eye.

So it’s unrealistic to believe that Green will make Horvat a 70-80 point man in 2017-18. It’s not reasonable to see him turning Jake Virtanen into a bonafide scorer once and for all.

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Vancouver is filled with of B-level players right now (not superstars), and it takes a while to teach these kids how to play like a team and how to win a bunch of games in an instant. This is the way rebuilding works in hockey, and patience is required in these situations.

It could take two or three years for the Canucks to start contending for the playoffs under Green. All good things take time here, and Green is just going to need multiple seasons to make it all work — just look at Mike Babcock with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wait will be worth it

Green is the ideal fit for the Canucks as head coach, because he’s worked with many of their young players in Utica. He knows how to coach the kids and is able to get the most out of them on any given night. That’s the type of guy Benning wanted, and that’s the guy he got.

The idea of Green having the chance to implement his style of play with plenty of young speedters should excite fans. After all, today’s NHL is dominated by teams who have the most wheels and all-around skill.

To think the likes of Olli Juolevi, Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko and Jonathan Dahlen aren’t in the NHL yet, too. Green has a great deal of youthful players to coach and develop here. It’s hard to see him wasting all of these opportunities.

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So Canucks fans, just wait at least two more seasons. Green’s the right man to lead this squad, and he’ll show it by 2020 when Vancouver starts to contend again.