March 20, 2023
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Canucks President Jim Rutherford shreds the team on Sportsnet 650 radio

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Jim Rutherford has been pretty outspoken since being named Vancouver Canucks’ president of hockey operations.

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And on Monday, it didn’t come as a huge surprise to hear him speak candidly about his team. They start the season 3-6-3 and will embark on a crucial five-game road trip that will likely determine the fate of their season.

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They need at least three wins, and anything else will see them fall further behind in an already long playoff chase.

Speaking to Sportsnet 650 on Monday afternoon, Rutherford once again expressed his displeasure with how his team has started the season, the way the team’s system is set up and the players’ own work ethic.

“I didn’t like our training camp. And we continued in the first half of the season just like we did in our training camp,” he said.

The modern NHL is designed for high-octane games. Comebacks will happen, he said.

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“But the fact that it’s happened as often as it has with the Canucks in that short period of time is a big issue and something needs to be addressed,” he added.

When asked by Postmedia after his performance to explain a bit more about his “poor camp” comments, something he’d mentioned earlier, Rutherford didn’t spare any punches.

“You saw the games and the training. Not enough extra drive and pace to set up for a five-game road trip. And have a structure that makes it easier for players to play in all situations,” he replied.

Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau on the bench against the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena in February.
Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau on the bench against the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena in February. Photo by Bob Frid /USA TODAY sports

Rutherford admitted earlier this season that when he was hired by Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini last season, he assumed head coach Bruce Boudreau’s contract only lasted until the end of last season. The deal turned out to come with a mutual option year that Boudreau didn’t want to cancel, and the Canucks decided to stick with it, too.

But Rutherford once again resisted any opportunity to give the coach an endorsement.

He said the looseness with which Boudreau’s Canucks played last year was unsustainable and reiterated that given the size of the squad, the team needed to play with more structure.

He gave credit to Thatcher Demko’s game for helping the offense-focused Canucks nearly make the playoffs in 2021-22.

When asked bluntly by 650 host Satiar Shah if Boudreau was the right coach for this imaginary structure, he didn’t answer yes.

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Ultimate responsibility for setting up the lineup rests with Boudreau, he said.

He also called for players to take more responsibility themselves.

“We need to hold players more accountable,” he said. “We have to take the necessary steps to try and get the players’ attention.”

He said they tried making a number of trades over the summer but always got ahead of them by cap space or the prices paid by other teams.


“We are still trying to find a site for a practice facility,” Rutherford admitted to 650. The team finding a permanent practice base is something he’s talked about since last season.

A practice track has long been a priority, at least for previous management regimes, as well as Mike Gillis and Trevor Linden, and there was a deal for Canucks Sports and Entertainment to manage the community ice facility to be built across from Rogers Arena on the redesigned plaza of Nations, but that deal was thrown out in early 2020 for reasons no one on the record will discuss.

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