There it is, Vancouver: Boudreau will be back to coach Canucks

Bruce Boudreau is excited to be back as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midseason replacement.

Speaking Friday afternoon after completing a “rough round” of golf, the 67-year-old Boudreau said “we have some unfinished business in Vancouver and I want to complete the task.”

Boudreau took over behind the bench on Dec. 5, after the Canucks cleaned house following a disastrous 8-15-2 start to the season, resulting in the dismissal of head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.

Boudreau’s hiring made an immediate impact as he became just the third coach in NHL history to win his first seven games with a new team.

The Canucks went 32-15-10 the remainder of the season and went from last place in the Pacific Division to finish five points out of a playoff berth.

Boudreau coached his 1,000th regular-season game on Jan. 23, and is one victory shy of the 600-win milestone.

“We just ran out of time this season,” said Boudreau, who admitted he had a sleepless night Thursday after reaching a “family decision” to honour his two-year deal with the Canucks.

“I was really nervous and I didn’t like to keep the Canucks waiting for my decision. I believed we were a playoff team for the last 56 games of the season, and I am really excited to see what we can do next season with this group.”

The coach couldn’t comment on the status of his staff saying “everyone and everything is still under review” and that he had been “out of the loop” for the past two weeks. He did add that he wants the Canucks to be “the best conditioned team in the league” next season.

“We are pleased to see Bruce’s commitment to return to the Canucks next season,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said in a team release. “He has done a great job since arriving in Vancouver and we are eager to see the team continue to perform under his leadership as they did during the second half of the season.”

Boudreau has a career coaching record of 599-317-125 in 1,024 regular-season games with the Canucks, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks.

The Toronto native won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 2008.