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Introducing Your 2021-22 Jack Adams Winner: Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau has a history with teams like the Canucks. Can he turn their season around, or is it too late?

Bruce Boudreau has turned this team around before.

Okay, not this specific team. But the Vancouver Canucks are in the same situation as the 2007-08 Washington Capitals.

Boudreau took over the struggling Capitals 21 games into the season, at a time when they were nine points out of a playoff spot. The Canucks have hired him 25 games in, at a time when they were also nine points out of the playoffs.

The Capitals went on to make the playoffs that season, and Boudreau was crowned “Coach of the Year” with the Jack Adams Award.

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That Caps team was in a very similar situation to the one the Canucks are currently in. They finished second-last in the Eastern Conference the previous year, and had loads of young stars that couldn’t figure out how to win.

Boudreau is known for getting the most out of his players, especially the young, offensive ones. Under Boudreau, a 22-year-old Alex Ovechkin won the Hart, Art Ross, Rocket Richard, and Lester B. Pearson (now known as the Ted Lindsay Award).

Elias Pettersson is currently 23 years old, and has struggled immensely so far this season. If Boudreau can find a way to help Pettersson find his game again, the Canucks will be in a much better position. I’m not saying he’ll be Alex Ovechkin, but he can certainly be a true number one centre.

The Canucks hosted a press conference with Boudreau before the game on Monday, in which he made it clear that he believes the Canucks can make the playoffs this year. He emphasized the importance of short-term goals, rather than focusing on the big picture.

In Boudreau’s only game behind the Canucks’ bench so far, his team shut out their division rival Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Of course, it was the second game of a back-to-back series for the Kings, who had played in Edmonton the night before. However, we saw some great things in that game that point toward a potential comeback for the Canucks.

Firstly (and most noticeably), Boudreau had Pettersson and Bo Horvat killing penalties. In Boudreau’s press conference, he mentioned that a player asked him for a chance on the PK, and it’s now obvious that it was one of those two guys. The Canucks’ penalty kill has been one of the worst in the league all year, so it was refreshing to see them have a perfect run in that game.

Boudreau is advertised as the man who can bring back the old Brock Boeser. Boeser had a goal and an assist against the Kings, ending a 13-game goal drought. Boudreau is encouraging Boeser to shoot more, as he was once known for his lethal (dare I say Ovechkin-like?) shot.

The team is supported by the only outstanding Canuck this season, Thatcher Demko. If he’s between the pipes, the Canucks know they can win. 

Some of the loudest booing in recent memory filled Rogers Arena Monday night, but this time it was positive. It was “Booouuuu” for Boudreau, as the fans showed their appreciation for a new face and a new hope. They also chanted “Bruce there it is”.

I’m not saying it’s guaranteed. I’m not saying it’s even likely. But I’m saying there’s a chance. Bruce Boudreau could be the answer to Canucks fans’ prayers. He’s done it before, so who’s to say he can’t do it again?

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