ARIZONA COYOTES

Ex-Coyotes’ Rick Tocchet named head coach of Vancouver Canucks

Jan 22, 2023, 12:01 PM
Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes watches from the bench during the third period of th...
Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes watches from the bench during the third period of the NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Gila River Arena on February 22, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Lightning 7-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bruce Boudreau has been fired as coach of the Vancouver Canucks, who are again on track to miss the playoffs with another underachieving season.

The team announced the change Sunday, less than a week since president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said “major surgery” was needed to fix the Canucks, who have only made the playoffs once in the past eight years. Rick Tocchet was hired as Boudreau’s replacement for a Vancouver team that has lost 28 of 46 games this season.

“This was not an easy decision to make but one that we felt was necessary for this franchise,” general manager Patrik Allvin said in a statement.

Boudreau is the second coach Vancouver has fired in under 14 months. He took over in December 2021 when previous coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning were let go 25 games into last season.

Adam Foote was named as an assistant and Sergei Gonchar a defensive development coach on Tocchet’s staff.

Tocchet previously coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for parts of two seasons from 2008-10 and the Arizona Coyotes for four years from 2017-21. He won the Stanley Cup as a player with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then twice as an assistant for them.

“Rick Tocchet brings a wealth of knowledge to this team from both a coach and player perspective,” Allvin said. “He has had more than two decades of coaching experience, guiding teams of various styles.”

The Canucks have missed the playoffs the past two seasons since reaching the second round in the COVID-19 bubble in 2020.

The Coyotes made playoff pushes in Tocchet’s first two seasons and got into the postseason in 2020 when the NHL expanded the field in the pandemic “bubble” environment.

Arizona was hit hard by injuries during Tocchet’s tenure, particularly by goalies Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta, and repeatedly came up just short of the playoffs.

Tocchet went 125-131-34 at Arizona. The Coyotes will face the Canucks twice more this season.

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