01/15/23: On Sportsnet’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast last night, Friedman issued another update on the situation with the Canucks and Tocchet. He said “I do believe it will be Rick Tocchet” when or if the Canucks do decide to make a coaching change.
While still not a definite confirmation on the Canucks’ plans behind the bench, this report is a more firm indication that the Canucks are targeting the current TNT analyst to be their next head coach.
01/14/23: Bruce Boudreau has basically been on the hot seat since before the season started. When the Canucks opted not to extend his contract last summer, it created a situation where he was entering his ‘lame duck’ year. With a management team in place that inherited the veteran bench boss instead of hiring him, it felt it was going to be a year of uncertainty for the 68-year-old.
That’s exactly how things have played out. Vancouver’s first half of the season was largely underwhelming with the team collecting just 37 points in their first 41 games and are well outside the playoff picture as things stand. Between that and a perceived desire for management to hire their own coach, there has been an expectation of change basically all season long.
To that end, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in a recent appearance on The Jeff Marek Show (audio link) that the team had discussions with several coaches earlier in the season including Rick Tocchet but obviously, nothing materialized. Friedman adds that the Canucks have since circled back and have re-engaged with Tocchet. However, he cautioned that even with this report, a change isn’t likely imminent.
There’s certainly familiarity between Vancouver’s management group – led by GM Patrik Allvin and president Jim Rutherford – dating back to Tocchet’s time with Pittsburgh when he served as an assistant coach for three seasons, two of which saw the Penguins take home the Stanley Cup.
Tocchet also has parts of six seasons head coaching experience between Tampa Bay and Arizona, sporting a .475 points percentage. That’s well below Boudreau’s career mark of .628 and even his points percentage with Vancouver which checks in at .566. However, whether it’s Tocchet or someone else, it sure seems like a coaching change is going to be on the horizon at some point; it’s not a matter of if but rather when and who it will be. Tocchet, currently an analyst for TNT, certainly appears to be garnering serious consideration for that spot whenever it’s made available.