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Bruce Boudreau hiring is damage control, Canucks need vision

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After wholesale changes to the Canucks front office and behind the bench, the Zone Time crew gather to discuss the departure of Jim Benning and Travis Green, as well as the hiring of Bruce Boudreau as new head coach. Are these the right moves? Could Marc Bergevin really replace Benning? Should the Sedin twins takeover?

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Video Transcript

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I wanted to talk about the Canucks because a lot of crazy shit has happened with the Vancouver Canucks over the last little while. Jim Benning is gone. Travis Greene is gone. A few other management pieces are gone too. Bruce Boudreau is in as head coach. We'll figure out who the GM is a little later.

I just wanted to get your initial thoughts on the curtain kind of coming down on Jim Benning and Travis Greene finally for the Vancouver Canucks. It took a jersey being thrown onto the ice for all of this change to happen.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: So my issue is-- sorry, go ahead, Rahef.

RAHEF ISSA: Go ahead, go ahead.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: So my issue is not necessarily with Boudreau named head coach. But the way the news broke, it broke in reverse. And my issue with it is the process involved, where Elliot Freeman came out and reported that Bruce Boudreau had been named the next coach of the Vancouver Canucks before Travis Greene had been formally dismissed.

Obviously, you can draw from context clues that Greene was getting the axe. But to me, it makes it impossible for there to be new voices in hockey. It seems like the same 60 guys are getting recycled.

And to be clear, Boudreau is certainly qualified. He has a career 63.5% winning percentage. He wins a ton of games. He's generally well-liked in league circles. And I don't want to qualify him as a monster. He absolutely is well suited for the job. And I don't mean to be ageist here.

But the fact that this guy can moonwalk into his fourth NHL head coaching job at age 67 seems like an odd fit for a younger team that needs some motivation, to say the least.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Never thought of it that way.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: If not, some more talent. But a lot of people who are saying they want to change hockey culture or make the game a better place or at least have some innovative voices, people will say representation matters. And it certainly does, but that has to be in lockstep with policy too.

So I found it sort of disappointing that the Canucks, who knew that they were going to get rid of Travis Greene, the way things were trending for the last month, to say nothing of the last two years, really, that they already had Boudreau already in place. I would like to see just a better process, first of all, for gender and racial representation, but just also to dip into a better pool of candidates overall.

I just thought that it seemed preemptive. And while he certainly has the on-ice resume. And he seems like a good guy and we all love his press conferences. They are a breath of fresh air. That's what I found a little bit alarming.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Rahef, what did you think?

RAHEF ISSA: Yeah, you make a really good point. And I was actually going to come at it from a different angle, because my understanding of Travis Greene as a coach is that he's really into the X's and O's. And he's a very good systems, process guy.

And just from what's been going on with the Canucks, I found the move to bring in Boudreau, who's kind of well-- he's established himself almost as a player's coach, was pointed, in that the players on the Canucks team, they need a new voice. And they need someone who is--

You hear players talk about what's one thing you can talk about your time with Bruce Boudreau as your coach. And a lot of times, they say things like easygoing. So I feel like it was kind of pointed, maybe, that they brought in a coach like Boudreau.

And like you said, I, for a long time, actually wanted him as the Leafs head coach. He's an excellent coach. But I get 100% what you're saying. It always feels like it's the same 30-40 guys just being constantly recycled over and over and over and over again. And you hear that even with what happened with the Flyers. It's like, who's going to be-- it's just the same people over and over again. So I do get what you're saying.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I apologize if my point here is a bit scattered, because ever since Arun said that Boudreau was moonwalking into his fourth job, I have this picture of Bruce Boudreau moonwalking in my head.

But I actually don't think this is time for a rookie, to be honest. I want to see new people get an honest chance. And this doesn't seem like an honest chance to me. In fact, it seems like something that's very self-serving from the ownership standpoint with the Vancouver Canucks, because Boudreau is a guy who's supposed to come in and fix problems and make things look a bit better than they are, to make them a little shinier than they really are.

And I don't think that's what the Canucks need. I don't think they need their issues sort of concealed or shrouded or hidden away or whatever. I think they need them laid bare. And I think if there's one thing that Boudreau could do, it's sort of relay the information and what really ails this team.

But I also think he's going to get good performances out of this team. And this season's already gone. That leaves him next season on this current contract. Then I think they're going to just move on, probably without Boudreau, under a new regime and a tear-down.

So I don't know. I mean, I get it for Boudreau. You want to coach. You want to make the money that you make as an NHL coach. I just don't think this is the best final stop for him. And I don't think this is the best move for the Canucks because I just think they're setting themselves up to handle PR with this, rather than to really pinpoint the issues at play.

I guess the GM is going to be in charge of all that. But this feels more like a self-serving move just to prevent jerseys from hitting the ice and more people from adding Francesco McEleney on Twitter.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, you bet, yeah. And I'll say this with Boudreau. It feels as if, as toxic as the situation has been in Vancouver, they could have put almost anybody as a head coach right now. And they probably would have seen it as an upgrade on Travis Greene. I understand he has the qualifications that he has. And he's tried as best as he could with this roster. And you can even make the argument that sometimes he's been kind of propped out there to handle different media situations that maybe Jim Benning or others in the organization should be handling.

But I think, just with the way that the Canucks have just looked over the last few years, a change had to come. I mean, when you have JT Miller yelling out, we have no clue what we're doing in the middle of a practice, that's not a great sign for any coach to have to deal with. And the writing was essentially on the wall for Travis Greene here.

It sucks for him. But at the same time, they needed to make a change. I'm also just curious who's going to take over the GM position now for the Vancouver Canucks. On the topic of same candidates and coaching, I wonder what it's going to be like for general managers as well, because a guy who was just out of a job in Montreal in Marc Bergevin is now being linked to the Vancouver Canucks job. And he might even bring over his AGM from Montreal as well in Scott Mellanby.

So it's not even if it's just a coaching issue or just an issue that pertains to coaches in terms of the same guys who are being revolved around. This could also pertain to management and front office jobs as well. If Marc Bergevin ends up in Vancouver, just really, I'd be surprised, first of all, because you go from one high-pressure market to another.

My eyes have really been opened to how wild this Vancouver market has been. I don't know if Bergevin would even want to put himself through that. But I think it also speaks to Arun's original point that it'd be nice to see some other new candidates for some of these new positions. I just don't know if the Aquilinis are even interested in doing that right now.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: No. But you spoke about public relations. And just quickly on that, I mean, hiring Marc Bergevin after the summer he had would be a public relations disaster.




ARUN SRINIVASAN: So one, I guess, could conceivably make the argument that a team that he largely constructed achieved above expectations and won the Stanley Cup Final. But you can't, in any capacity, hire Marc Bergevin.

And of course, there are plenty of candidates, whether having experience through traditional circles, National Hockey League, or whether it being an assistant general manager for teams that have drafted well, there are so many guys that I would just see ahead of Marc Bergevin. And his off-the-ice record is eminently disqualifying.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: By the way, before I just let either Rahef or Justin finish their point, I know Sam's not here, and she's our resident Canucks anything on this show. She would not be down if Marc Bergevin was GM. I'm just going to put that out there now. I'm not going to say exactly what she said, but she would not be happy if Marc Bergevin was GM. But I'm sure she feels some relief at the idea that Jim Benning is finally gone from the Vancouver Canucks.

And if you listen to his entire track record as GM with some of the moves being made, the Jay Beagle signing and Louis Eriksson trade and all the other Erik Gudbranson moves, it's a bit of a doozy.

People say with Marc Bergevin, you know what? Some of his trades were good in isolation. What's Jim Benning's good move? Drafting Elias Pettersson?

RAHEF ISSA: I was going to say, yeah, that's it, I think.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: But all of us would have done that.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: The JT Miller trade was decent.


JUSTIN CUTHBERT: There are a couple in there. But I guess, on the topic of Bergevin, if there is one redeeming quality, it's that he can make hockey trades, right? And I think, clearly, something that Vancouver has to do is make trades here. They could step into a tear-down, but the tear-down is going to require you to actually get some value in return for a lot of assets.

I'm not looking at their cap friendly right now. But I'm assuming that they've got quite a few players who have some term. And they're going to have to be dealt here, if they are indeed heading toward there. They've got to be dealt regardless, because change obviously has to be made.

So I think if there's one thing with Bergevin, it's that. But this is where I'd like to see new blood. I would like to see someone new come in and bring their ideas to a hockey team and to be in charge of potentially either tweaking or building from the bottom up with the Vancouver Canucks. I think that's where we're missing this injection of new ideas. And of course, Bergevin is sort of the definition of old ideas.

And Julian, you can speak to this. But he's not going to bring anything innovative. Maybe he comes in and makes a few deals that he wins. But that's about it. And I don't think you want to go through the entire 10-year grind with Marc Bergevin, who's had a decade to prove that he can build a Stanley Cup championship team in Montreal and hasn't really done so.

So that's not an investment I would be willing to make. If he wants to come in for a year and a half while you groom someone to make some trades, maybe. I don't think that's the best way to go though. And certainly the PR thing, yeah, maybe jives with Boudreau. It certainly doesn't with Marc Bergevin.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What about the Sedins?

RAHEF ISSA: I mean, it's really interesting because after all this was announced, another part of the news was that Henrik and Daniel Sedin would be more involved in the day-to-day operations. I mean, whatever that really means.

But I mean, hasn't this always been rumored? And hasn't the answer from Henrik and Daniel always been that they're not really interested or that they're not looking to take that on? They just seem like they're quiet. And I don't know if maybe the GM, like you said, of the Vancouver Canucks would be a perfect match there.

Yeah, and the other thing I was thinking about is the Canucks have been drafted in the first round now-- really, what is it, two years in a row that they've been without a first round pick? So I mean, whoever takes over the GM job is going to have their work certainly cut out with them, especially if they're going to tear down the team and build it back up from the bottom, because when you come in and you want to build your team back up, what do teams covet?

It's draft picks. And they just haven't had first round draft picks in the last few years. So that's another thing. It'll be super-interesting.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Quickly on the--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh, go ahead, Justin.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I was just going to say just quickly on the Sedin piece, I mean, why threaten your legacy if you're them? Do not get too involved. I mean, if there's a boardroom, enter the boardroom. Do not enter anywhere close to hockey operations if I'm the Sedins. I don't think they will.

But if they drift into that area, that puts them up for inspection, I guess, for a lack of a better term. And they're going to be grinded by the fans and by the media if they do a poor job. And I just don't think these two are-- well, they could be. But just my intuition, I don't believe they're cut out for that.

I don't think that's what they got into this for. I think they're into it for front-facing, stay busy, Mario Lemieux-esque type of role, not the daily grind and the criticism that'll come from the Vancouver market.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Arun, do you want last word on this one?

ARUN SRINIVASAN: Yeah, I mean, at the risk of contradicting some of my earlier points, I find the Sedins to sort of be a fascinating case. I agree with Cuthbert that walking into an unstable hockey operations isn't necessary the best move for the Sedins.

But I look to soccer as sort of a parallel, where you're seeing-- Michael Carrick has been taking over Manchester United. And Chavi has been taking over Barcelona. And a few years ago, Zenidine Zedin was back at Real Madrid. There's this idea that club legends coming in to save the day for the team where they were so beloved.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Well, I mean, with Lampard out, Chelsea has been the best team in soccer since. But anyway, not the sport, not the show for that.

I do sort of find that phenomenally interesting because it has sort of mixed results. There is something to be said for having someone who really cares about a team but. But to Cuthbert's point, taking over a hockey operations job for the first time with a team that is arguably the most unstable from an on-ice perspective in the league may not be the best move.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I guess that's fair. I just would like it. It would be fun to see the Sedins as GMs, only just to see maybe if one of them shows up at a board of governors meeting. And the entire time, everyone's trying to figure out which twin is which. That would just be a very small joy.

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