Vancouver Canucks, Bruce Boudreau

Canucks AM Skate: Boudreau’s Optimism; HFC Digest

Canucks Happy Gabby

Following Vancouver’s 5-1 victory over the Golden Knights in Vegas on Saturday night, Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau had reason to be somewhat optimistic about the progress his Canucks hockey club has made lately.

“I knew this team could play better than it was playing,” Boudreau said. “We’ve kept the line-ups, having the ability to keep the line-ups the same has really helped too. You could see that we were getting better in spots but never complete. The Colorado game and this game was more complete, even the last Vegas game, if it wasn’t for the last ten minutes, would have been a pretty complete game.”

The big difference Saturday night was the Canucks power play going 3-for-6 while the Vancouver penalty kill held the Golden Knights to 0-for-3.

“You’ve got a bunch of athletes that want to succeed,” Boudreau added, “they don’t like being at the bottom of anything, so they’ve paid a lot of attention to it and consequently, we’re starting to get better at it. We’re not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, but you can definitely see trends in the right direction.

The Canucks PK is next-to-last in the NHL with a 67.1% kill rate.

The Canucks wrap up their three-game road trip Sunday evening in San Jose before coming home to play the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

Until game time …

Let’s Skate !

Coach Lindy Ruff likely didn’t expect the milestone to come about so quickly, but then again, who would have predicted his New Jersey Devils would start the season 18-and-4. Ruff became the fifth NHL head coach in history to reach 800 wins when his demons defeated defeated the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday night.

The 62-year-old Ruff joins Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Barry Trotz and Ken Hitchcock on the list of men who have reached the mark. None of the other four are presently active, although there’s a strong feeling we’ll eventually see “Coach Q” and Trotz back behind a bench as some point.

Of his 22 seasons as a head coach, fifteen were spent with the Buffalo Sabres and four with the Dallas Stars. He won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2006 with Buffalo.

Hockey Fights Cancer

As Hockey Fights Cancer month winds down, we circle back one last time to’s HFC Digest. A very worthy stop.

The Detroit Red Wings honored local high school senior Sean DeWitt:

The 18-year-old is finishing treatments for Leukemia. He was welcomed into the Red Wings dressing room to read the starting lineup to the team before walking to center ice at Little Caesars Arena to ring the bell signifying the end to his treatments and drop the ceremonial first puck.

The Philadelphia Flyers did something similar, giving their special recipient a media credential.

The Philadelphia Flyers gave 11-year-old Cameron Wakeley a special kind of press pass for their game against the Calgary Flames on Monday, when the Flyers held their Hockey Fights Cancer night at Wells Fargo Center. Cameron was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.

The month may end and the attention from the hockey world may wane a bit, but the battle goes on.

Enjoy the Hockey Action !!

Let’s Skate !

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.