The moment that a majority of Vancouver Canucks fans have been hoping for finally came late Sunday afternoon as head coach Travis Green, general manager Jim Benning, assistant general manager John Weisbrod, and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner were all relieved of their duties.
In what has been an extremely disappointing start to the season for the Canucks, all of these moves were inevitable. Vancouver is currently sitting in last place in the Pacific Division with an 8-15-2 record while falling short of all preseason expectations.
For most of the season, chants of “Fire Benning” have been heard echoing throughout Rogers Arena with banners and shirts seen with the same phrase on them. The fans protest of the Canucks front office was capped off by a fan throwing a retro alternate jersey on the ice at the end of Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Penguins. That moment will be remembered as the closing seconds of the Jim Benning and Travis Green era in Vancouver.
Canucks fans have been ready for a big personnel change for a while and they were finally granted their wish late Sunday afternoon.
Almost immediately after the news of Travis Green being fired hit social media, it was revealed that the Canucks had hired Bruce Boudreau to take over as head coach.
Bruce Boudreau brings experience and a high-tempo system to the Canucks, which is exactly what this team needs given their recent offensive struggles. Boudreau has coached 987 NHL games, winning 567 of those, and has remarkably only missed the playoffs twice as a head coach.
The former Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, and Minnesota Wild coach will look to turn things around in Vancouver with a roster loaded with young talent. Boudreau knows what it takes to make a system work that is scattered with superstars and will look to implement it with the Canucks.
To go along with the news of Bruce Boudreau taking the reigns behind the bench for Vancouver, it was also announced that Stan Smyl will take over as interim general manager with the help of Ryan Johnson, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Chris Gear, and Doug Jarvis.
After eight long and tough years full of mismanagement in the Canucks organization, the hammer was finally dropped on Jim Benning. While Benning has stacked the roster with young talent in Vancouver, bad contracts and salary cap problems will be his remembered legacy with the organization.
After the 2019-20 season, that saw the Vancouver Canucks make their deepest playoff run since the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Final, hopes were high in Vancouver of a bright future. All the pieces of a potential great team were there but due to salary cap issues, the team lost a couple key players that offseason and never got back to that level.
In a last hurrah-type effort to try and bring out this team’s full potential and save his job, Benning had one of the most active offseasons in Canucks history this past year, but ultimately things never came together.