- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
The Vancouver Canucks fired coach Travis Green on Sunday, a source told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski Sunday night, confirming an earlier report.
With the team stuck in last place, Bruce Boudreau has been hired to replace Green as the Canucks’ 20th coach.
Green was promoted to Vancouver’s bench on April 26, 2017, after coaching the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets. Despite an impressive run in the NHL playoff bubble of 2020, he was dismissed after 289 games, finishing with a 125-132-32 record.
Vancouver made the postseason only once in Green’s tenure, during the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 season, but that run was promising. The Canucks advanced to the second round in Edmonton that summer, eventually falling to the Vegas Golden Knights.
This season has been abysmal for Vancouver, and Green is the first casualty. The Canucks are 8-15-2, the second-worst record in the Western Conference. Last month, Green deflected questions about being on the hot seat amid the growing chorus of disgruntled fans calling for change.
“I don’t listen to the noise,” Green told reporters. “I only worry about coaching the team. I do understand when people get upset. But … it doesn’t have an effect on me one way or the other.”
Shortly after Green made those comments, Canucks general manager Jim Benning met with the media too, and didn’t give Green a vote of confidence.
“We’re looking at everything,” Benning said. “We’re trying to find solutions to our problems and Travis and his staff are working hard. Losing is wearing on them, like it’s wearing on all of us. This is something that I didn’t expect to happen after the moves we made this summer. But it’s happening and we have to deal with it.”
After a spring of headlines around his future, Green reached an agreement on a contract extension with the Canucks on May 21, adding two more years to his deal. But there’s been several issues for the Canucks this season, the most glaring of which is their lack of star power, and Green just wasn’t able to find the right mix.
Star center Elias Pettersson, who signed a three-year, $22 million contract in October, has been near invisible with just four goals in his first 25 games. Brock Boeser led Vancouver in points last season but has just 10 in 22 games thus far. Even captain Bo Horvat has struggled, producing just 13 points.
By late November, not even Canucks players were hiding their frustrations any longer. After a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh, marking Vancouver’s seventh defeat in eight games, J.T. Miller was asked if everyone in the dressing room was still buying in.
“I don’t know,” Miller said, sparking another tidal wave of criticism levied against the Canucks’ underperformance.
Ironically, it was another 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Saturday that seems to have been the final nail in Green’s coffin. For now, Benning remains in Vancouver. But the pressure to turn things around under Boudreau will be intense.
This opportunity with the Canucks will be Boudreau’s fourth stop as an NHL coach, after stints in Washington, Anaheim and Minnesota. He was working as an analyst for the NHL Network this season.
Boudreau was fired by the Wild in February 2020, after a 27-23-7 start to the 2019-20 season. In all, Boudreau has coached 984 NHL games, with a 567-302-115 record.
Sportsnet first reported news of the Canucks’ decision Sunday night.
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