#2: The Boudreau bump
Bruce Boudreau brought new life to the Canucks when he took over as head coach in early December.
Once he arrived, the Canucks were more fun and energetic. They looked more fun to watch with his aggressive forechecking system. Players like Brock Boeser, Pettersson and Horvat were scoring again.
The special teams also improved. Before Boudreau was hired, the Canucks power play was 20th in the NHL at 17.4% and the penalty kill was dead last in the league at 64.6%. From Boudreau’s hiring on December 5 to the end of the season, the power play was second in the NHL at 26.7% and the penalty kill was 11th at 80.5%. The Canucks finished the year with the penalty kill at 30th in the league with 74.9% and the power play at ninth with 23.5%.
The team went on a seven-game win streak after Boudreau was hired. It started with a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings and ended with a 2-1 shootout loss in LA on December 30. The Canucks did not lose in regulation under Boudreau until January 11 as they lost 5-2 to the eventual President Trophy winners Florida Panthers in Sunrise.
Boudreau’s motivation and outgoing personality also brought new life to the locker room. He will be back for next season and here is hoping he can replicate his second-half success with the Canucks into a full season.
#1: Changes were made
December 5, 2021, was a big day in Canucks recent history.
No, they were not playing a game on that day but it was still a big day.
It was a day of long-overdue changes. Out were general manager Jim Benning, assistant general manager John Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner. In came Boudreau and Scott Walker (who won’t be back next season, unfortunately) and Jim Rutherford as president of hockey operations and Patrik Allvin came in later.
The firings came a day after the Canucks lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game in which “Fire Benning” chants were heard and a jersey was thrown onto the ice.
After Benning’s eight seasons, it was time for a change and it was about time. The team was doing very poorly with an 8-15-2 record after an aggressive Benning offseason.
Rutherford and Allvin came in with plans to make the team a Stanley Cup contender, not just a team that can sneak into the playoffs and their comments have been a breath of fresh air. Rutherford brought in some smart people for the front office. Derek Clancey, Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato were brought in as assistant GMs and Rachel Doerrie was brought in for the team’s analytics department.
With them, there is hope with the Canucks again. Can Rutherford and Allvin deliver this offseason? We shall see.
What were your favourite moments of the Canucks 2021-22 season? Let us know in the comments below, in the Facebook comments or on Twitter.