In the summer of 2020, the Vancouver Canucks were the “flavor of the month.” Their return to the playoffs, after “only” four years of misery, proved to rebuilding teams that there was a fast track to success.
For the Canadian’s general manager, Marc Bergevin, the Canucks represented a role model. “I watch what happens in Vancouver. The youngsters picked them up in the repechage. This is where the core of a team should come from, absolutely. We see it in Vancouver. This is the progression the Montreal Canadiens are making right now. »
Thirty months later, what has become of the Canucks?
A bruised team. Torn. Adrift. The club is closer to the bottom position than the Canadian. The general sentiment among fans there is that we’ve wasted a golden generation, and we’ll be back in the basement for another decade.
Whose fault is it?
Certainly not recruiters. They found Bo Horvat (200 goals), Brock Boeser (130 goals), an elite defender (Quinn Hughes), their number one goalkeeper (Thatcher Demko) and the top scorer of the 2017 cohort, Elias Pettersson. In addition to Jared McCann, transferred too soon, who now shines with the Seattle Kraken. Five of his players have more points this season than Canadiens leading scorer Nick Suzuki.
To paraphrase Ding and Dong, the Canucks suck.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the club are not up to it. I have rarely seen such a dysfunctional management team. OK, maybe the Montreal Impact, in its snowflake period. Hmm… On second thought, no. The Canucks are worse.
You know when they say that a team is only as strong as its weakest link? Well, in Vancouver, the weakest link is the management team.
President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford recently set fire to the shack, publicly stating that he had met with several candidates for the head coaching job. The problem ? On-site head coach Bruce Boudreau was still on site. The poor man, who has been rolling his hump in professional hockey for 48 years, lived through the ordeal of gout for over a week, before finally being fired on Sunday.
The big class.
Let’s just say that we are far from the “most beautiful farewell in history” experienced by Joël Bouchard with the Anaheim Ducks school club. The management’s modus operandi caused discomfort in the locker room. “The guys are down,” defenseman Tyler Myers said. These are not easy times. There are many businesses going on…”
In fact, there is a lot going on. So much so that if Réjean Tremblay had packed all of the following plots into one season of throw and countwould have been accused of exaggeration.
The Canucks went to three head coaches in 13 months. All three are on your payroll. The three earn more than two million this season. Applause in slow motion.
The management of the Canucks is also in the crosshairs of the Players Association, which is investigating his management of a hand injury suffered by Tanner Pearson, in a game against the Canadian. Pearson had three surgeries. He didn’t go as planned. He will miss the rest of the season. “This situation has been mishandled,” young defender Quinn Hughes told local media. His statement unleashed a storm off the coast of British Columbia.
What else ?
Stories from the office involving members of the organization are making headlines. In September, the team’s owner, Francesco Aquilini, was sued by four of his children for physical and psychological abuse, accusations he denies. In November, the club and its assistant general manager, Émilie Castonguay, were the subject of a discrimination complaint filed by a former hockey operations employee. “I feel broken. I’m tired of hiding,” Rachel Doerrie wrote on Twitter. “Mr.to me Doerrie are absolutely false”, defended Émilie Castonguay.
Canucks officials also just awarded a seven-year contract extension to one of the team’s best players, JT Miller, who scored 99 points last season. No one will dispute his hockey skills. But does he have a good influence on the youth of the organization? I doubt it.
During a recent late game, goalkeeper Collin Delia was awaiting instructions from Bruce Boudreau to return to the bench, to be replaced by an additional striker. Miller grew impatient. He first yelled at Delia, before going back behind the net with the puck and hitting the horizontal bar with his stick, forcing Delia out of her semi-circle. A humiliating scene. For Delia. For Boudreau. For the organization. A counterproductive move.
In doing so, Miller arouses among his teammates the fear of making a mistake. No one wants to be the next player Miller ridicules on national television. Therefore, Canucks players tend to play more nervous. Miller’s reaction: “I don’t understand why people talk about it. »
It’s a problem.
The Canucks will take years to recover from the last five months. Captain Bo Horvat, who will become a free agent in the summer, has announced his desire to leave the organization. When his team leader openly wants a change of scenery, he doesn’t send a good message to other NHL hockey players. He thinks about the players who have no-trade clauses. Do you think they will allow a move to Vancouver anytime soon?
Neither do I.
Now imagine free agents.
The Canucks drafted well. They have several gifted youngsters. However, talent is only one component of success. To be successful, a team must also offer a quality training and work environment. This is where the Canucks failed.
To the other teams, now, not to repeat the same mistakes.
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