Bruce Boudreau celebrates his 1000th career game as an NHL coach. At age 67, he becomes the 29th coach in NHL history to accomplish this feat.
Bruce Boudreau becomes 29th coach in NHL history to coach 1,000 games
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
February 14 is Valentine’s Day where happy couples will be celebrating the annual day of love by partaking in “make out” sessions. The Canucks, on the other hand, will be partaking in “make-up” sessions—as the team plays seven games in February that were postponed in December 2021. At the time of writing, the Canucks’ record is 18-19-5. They are ranked seventh in the Pacific Division with 41 points—five points out of a Wild Card playoff spot.
Vancouver has several players still in COVID-19 protocol: J.T. Miller, Conor Garland and Bo Horvat. On January 23, head coach Bruce Boudreau announced goaltender, Spencer Martin, was placed in COVID-19 protocol as reported by The Canadian Press. In addition, goalie Arturs Silovs, of the Abbotsford Canucks, had tested positive for COVID-19. As well, assistant coaches, Kyle Gustafson and Scott Walker were added to the protocol list. The current pandemic issues affecting Vancouver have posed a challenging scenario for its goaltenders. Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak are already in the protocol. Michael DiPietro started in goal against St. Louis on January 23 with UBC goaltender, Rylan Toth, recruited as an emergency backup.
Sportsnet reported on January 25, that J.T. Miller and Spencer Martin exited protocol and returned to the lineup against Edmonton. Martin’s COVID-19 test was later revealed to be a false positive. Unfortunately, forward Tanner Pearson did not play against the Oilers—as he was added to the protocol list. Pearson becomes the 17th Vancouver player in the last six weeks to enter the COVID-19 protocol. Edmonton defeated Vancouver in overtime by a score of three to two at Rogers Arena. The Canucks were leading 2-0 on goals by Elias Pettersson and Tyler Motte. Then the Oilers started a third-period comeback on goals by Ryan McLeod and Leon Draisaitl. Connor McDavid later scored the overtime winner with 23.4 seconds remaining—after converting a backhand pass from Darnell Nurse.
Two days before the Edmonton game, Vancouver lost to the St. Louis Blues by a score of three to one at Rogers Arena, despite the Canucks outshooting the Blues 39 to 17. Notably, the game was Bruce Boudreau’s 1000th career game as an NHL coach. At age 67, he becomes the 29th coach in NHL history to accomplish this feat. Boudreau spoke about his coaching milestone in an interview with NHL.com on January 23. “I think if anything it means acceptance, that I’m an NHL coach,” he said. “I don’t know if makes any sense to anybody else, but I mean I was 33 years basically in the minors (as a player and a coach). So to get this 1,000th game after not being in the NHL until you’re 53, I think is pretty cool that I finally feel like I’m accepted as a guy that’s been in the NHL for a while.” But Boudreau hopes he will achieve something that has eluded him as an NHL coach: winning a Stanley Cup: “The only thing left, to me, is winning a Stanley Cup and I can’t even imagine what that would feel like because I dream about it every day.”
Elias Pettersson spoke with the media on January 22 after the team’s optional skate. He said he feels more confident with his play and hopes to continue scoring and helping the team win more games. “I definitely feel more confident and more [like] me out there,” he said. “It’s been obviously a slow start. But I […] play the game that I want to play. I play with confidence. I’m making plays and I’m having more fun out there for sure.” At the time of writing, over the 42 games played this season, EP40 had 22 points (10 goals and 12 assists).
Vancouver has a seven-day break that coincides with the NHL All-Star Game being played in Las Vegas on February 5. The short respite could not arrive sooner for the Canucks. The team will use the brief time off to rest and hope players in the COVID-19 protocol are healthy enough to return to the lineup.
Off the ice, the Canucks have added two people to their front office. CBC News reported January 24, Émilie Castonguay is the new assistant general manager (the first female to hold the position in team history). In 2016, she became the first female NHLPA certified agent in Canada. Castonguay will be playing a lead role in player contracts and negotiations—while also managing the CBA (collective bargaining agreement). Sportsnet reported January 26, Patrik Allvin was hired as the new general manager (12th GM in team history). Allvin was previously with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization for 17 seasons (director of amateur scouting and assistant general manager).
Lastly, the Canucks’ home game versus the Florida Panthers on January 21, coincided with the annual “Hockey Talks” at Rogers Arena as reported by the Daily Hive. The initiative began in 2013, in honour of the late Rick Rypien. “Hockey Talks” focuses on engaging discussions about mental health and ridding stigma. Rypien was a fan favourite during his five years in a Canucks uniform (2005 to 2010). Rypien had a well-documented battle with depression before dying by suicide in August 2011. Rypien’s brother, Wes, and longtime friend, Kevin Bieksa, participated in a pre-game ceremony faceoff.
The Canucks for Kids Fund posted on Twitter in support of “Hockey Talks”: “In honour of #HockeyTalks, we will be making a $20,000 donation to @KidsHelpPhone. Just this year, Kids Help Phone has connected with over 1,100 young people every single day. Thank you Kids Help Phone for everything you do, we are proud to support such important work.”