Horvat: Canucks 'continue to battle' for Boudreau amid firing rumors
Canucks captain Bo Horvat said his team hasn't given up on head coach Bruce Boudreau as rumors continue to fly about the veteran bench boss' future in Vancouver.
"Obviously everybody hears it," Horvat said following the Canucks' 4-3 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. "It can't be easy - it's not easy on us in here, I'm sure it's not easy on (Boudreau), hearing that kind of stuff.
"We continue to battle for him. He's a really good person and a good coach. Everybody wants to play for him so we're going to continue to do that."
That's the message the Canucks sent during their comeback win against the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes. Vancouver was down 3-2 after Sebastian Aho scored with just under three minutes remaining in regulation, but Brock Boeser forced overtime with an equalizer in the final 17 seconds of the third period.
Elias Pettersson netted the shootout winner to officially end the Canucks' four-game winless streak, their longest skid since opening the campaign with a seven-game slump.
Boudreau said he appreciates the effort he's getting from his players.
"They're a good group, they want to win. I've been saying this all along," he told reporters postgame, per Sportsnet. "It doesn't work all the time, but they come to play and they come to win. I'm happy and proud that they work hard for me, so it's great."
Boudreau signed a two-year deal with the Canucks after replacing Travis Green in December 2021. The club went 32-15-10 under Boudreau and came within five points of making the playoffs after starting the season 8-15-2 with Green at the helm.
In May, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said the team wasn't ready to commit to Boudreau beyond the 2022-23 campaign despite Vancouver's promising on-ice results.
Rutherford noted that there was a possibility the organization would be ready to talk about an extension partway through the season, but that no longer seems to be the case. The Canucks have recently been linked to former NHL head coach and current TNT analyst Rick Tocchet as a replacement for Boudreau.
Rutherford confirmed Monday that he has reached out to external coaching candidates - dating back months - but he didn't name anyone specifically, and he added that the position still belongs to Boudreau.
"All I can say is that Bruce is our coach right now," Rutherford told reporters, per TSN. "But with that (said) I'm calling and talking, but don't know that we're making a change and don't want to make a change."
Boudreau was asked about the speculation surrounding his job following the Canucks' 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
"I just wake up every day and go to work until they tell me not to," he said.
Vancouver's season has not been short on drama. Horvat's status remains up in the air as a pending unrestricted free agent, while defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was a healthy scratch Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The organization also launched an internal review of its handling of Tanner Pearson's season-ending injury. Pearson was originally expected to miss four-to-six weeks recovering from a surgical procedure on his hand in November, but he needed two more surgeries and was eventually ruled out for the campaign.
The Canucks are sixth in the Pacific Division with a record of 18-22-3.
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