The number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 when Travis Green was hired as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks was Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You”. The top movie at the box office that week was the eighth incarnation of the Fast & Furious franchise.
In short, it wasn’t that long ago. April 26, 2017, to be exact. But since then, the NHL’s teams have rifled through coaches fast and furiously (sorry not sorry), to the point where Green is now the NHL’s 10th longest-tenured head coach.
He hit that mark this morning, when it was announced that Vegas Golden Knights boss Gerard Gallant would be released from his duties after a fourth straight loss by his team. Gallant was hired less than two weeks before Green.
Of course, some coaches (Calgary's ex-boss Bill Peters and Jim Montgomery, formerly of the Dallas Stars) were dismissed for non-performance reasons.
In his own division, the Pacific, Green is now the longest-tenured coach.
So while it still seems like Green, who is in his first NHL head coaching job, is still somewhat um, green, in his role, relatively that’s not the case at all.
There were calls earlier this season for the Canucks to join the hordes of teams releasing their coaches, but that was in the midst of a tough November-December stretch. These days, after going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, that talk has quieted down.
There is, however, some wondering who might eventually go first: Green or general manager Jim Benning. It’s long been thought the Canucks would make a change in the GM role if the team misses the playoffs this year. That race looks like it’ll be quite close down the stretch (at least right now it does). But if Benning is given one more chance, there’s the possibility that he plays the last card he has and fires the coach.
Again, for now, it doesn’t look like that.
In fact, if we were placing bets, there are a couple coaches hired before Green that look more likely to be canned before him. We’re talking about men like Claude Julien of the Montreal Canadiens for example, who had playoffs on the agenda for this season (though they have been hit hard by injuries), Minnesota’s Bruce Boudreau and the Detroit Red Wings’ Jeff Blashill, who almost certainly isn’t in the club’s long-term plans.
Just last night, Green went head-to-head against Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets, who has been in his job longer than every coach except Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper. Maurice came out on top, but that was largely due to an inhuman goaltending performance from Connor Hellebuyck. (We must mention that Green made a brilliant offside challenge to keep the game 1-0 in the early going.)
Still, Maurice is a solid example of what it takes to keep your job. The Jets defence was completely decimated in the offseason and many pundits predicted the team to fall off the face of the earth.
Instead, Winnipeg has defied the odds and remains firmly in the playoff hunt with a 25-18-4 record—the exact same record as the Canucks, who many are applauding.
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