Bruce is back, baby!
After conflicting reports surfaced to suggest otherwise over the past few weeks, the Vancouver Canucks shut down all speculation by announcing on Friday that Bruce Boudreau will indeed return as the team's head coach for the 2022-23 season.
It's the logical choice, really.
Boudreau came to the Canucks at a time of great turmoil, helping steady a ship that was slowly taking on water and headed towards disaster. In 57 games behind the bench, Boudreau led the Canucks to a 32-15-10 record, a stark contrast to their dismal 8-15-2 record to begin the season under Travis Green, allowing the team's skilled offensive players to flourish to the best of their abilities.
Under Boudreau, stars like JT Miller, Bo Horvat, and Quinn Hughes went on to set personal bests in a number of offensive categories, with Miller nearly finishing with 100 points, Horvat putting together his first 30-goal season, and Hughes setting the franchise record for most points scored in a single season by a defenseman with 68.
While the Canucks ultimately missed the playoffs after their improbable late-season push fell short, Boudreau gave this previously listless team an identity, and seemed to breathe new life into an environment that was bordering on toxic prior to his arrival.
There was never any doubt, really. Boudreau is the right coach for the Canucks at this moment, with the team's players seeming to openly enjoy playing for him. Whether he returns beyond next season remains to be seen, given Boudreau's age and contract.
But for now, Canucks fans can rest easy knowing their team is in good hands.