The Vancouver Canucks game against the Colorado Avalanche eight days ago, win or lose, had a coaching change kind of feel to it. As in, “Bruce, there he goes.” I would apologize to Gabby for thinking that if the doldrums weren’t so palpable. Then again, no reason to apologize because most of this is on the players, much like it was last season.
To be honest, the turn of events that allowed Vancouver to win the game 4-2, came as a surprise. That’s because the Canucks generally aren’t the “little engine that could”, they’re the “little engine that doesn’t”.
Down 2-0 early in the second period, a comeback seemed a bit far fetched. The Canucks pulled it off. Nicely done, but irrelevant.
In a vacuum, the feeling of impending change that day was accurate, the problem being the fact that the Canucks organization had no interest in making a hurried change because they knew it wasn’t going to help.
In a typical hockey season around the NHL, a coach in that situation at that time with a team that management felt could still make a run, would have been shown the door.
Following the win, I dropped this little brainstorm and intuition behind. I was jolted back to the topic after seeing a tweet three days ago from Andrew Wallen, local hockey reporter and podcast host.
We spelled out some scenarios here last Monday,
One might viably suggest, “what’s the point to a coaching change?”
Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford knows full well this isn’t a playoff team, so why not ride it out and save the owner some money on a new coach midway through the season. As Seattle Hockey Insider suggested earlier in the week, the earlier you’re able to move good players and salaries out, the better your NHL Draft Lottery odds may become.
Would a new look coach help you or hurt you in that regard? No new guy wants to show up with part of a roster being flipped and when the overall sentiment is a desire not to get points. Then again, turning down an NHL gig isn’t easy.
Timing is everything. A little over a year ago, Canucks head coach Travis Green was fired after a loss on December 4th, as was general manager Jim Benning. The club made a run.
This time around, Rutherford knows, and has known for awhile, his team wasn’t going to get it done. No point to do anything yet.
There are toxic elements to the organization and that’s not the coach’s fault. Nor is it Jim’s. Some of it, shall we say, is environmental.
I’m not the only one who’s feeling it, that ugly, uh oh feeling.
— Speaking of complications, every time former KHLer Andrei Kuzmenko scores a goal, or a point for that matter, his price tag goes up. He’s playing on a one-year contract worth almost a million bucks. As we’ve stated, he and his agent Dan Milstein are thinking ‘ching-ching’, whether it’s with the Canucks or someone else. Kuzmenko has the leverage.