Chicago @ Vancouver
Chicago +198 over Vancouver

Posted at 4:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +198 BET365 +190 SportsInteraction +197 888Sport +190

Chicago +198 over Vancouver

10:08 PM EST. OT included. The Canucks are at a franchise low when it comes to public perception in the wake of their handling of former coach Bruce Boudreau, whose firing was the worst-kept news in the business. The Canucks from the top down look really bad here, as they are now on to their third head coach in just 13 months. Canucks fans let their feelings be known on Saturday night, where the handling of Boudreau was the main topic of the day with Vancouver hosting the Oilers in the late game on Hockey Night in Canada. The higher you go in the hockey world, the smaller the circle gets, which is why the tomfoolery that went on in Boudreau’s last days was such a big story. Even in a world where people are hired to eventually get fired, his treatment stands out as particularly cruel.

We’ll shelf the Boudreau debacle for the moment because it’s almost old news, as the Canucks immediately named Rick Tocchet as their new head coach, which make the Canucks look like even more of a clown show

The last time Tocchet was a head coach in the league was his tenure in Arizona, which mutually ended after the 2020-21 season. Since then, Tocchet was a talking head, first in Philadelphia on the Flyers' regional coverage and then on TNT once they took over the national broadcast rights. We could write more on just that transition from the booth to behind the bench, but that’s not even remotely the most interesting thing to dissect when talking about Tocchet.

Tocchet’s rise up the coaching ranks points to how things work in the old boys club of high level NHL management. His first crack at the gig came after taking over for Wayne Gretzky with the Coyotes when “The Great One” went on leave to be with his sick mother. Less than two months later, Tocchet and Gretzky’s wife, Janet, were named as members of a New Jersey gambling ring. Today, we are bombarded with commercials from the official gambling sponsors of these pro leagues, but back in the day, it wasn’t like that. When the dust settled, Tocchet pleaded guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling, which came with two years probation. He was facing up to five years in federal prison.

Tocchet’s alleged partner said they were “50/50” partners in the betting ring, and he also cut a deal to help bring down the big names in the case. Former state trooper James Harney testified that he and Tocchet took millions of dollars worth of wagers and split the winnings down the middle, while Harney also admitted to rubbing elbows with NHL stars. That dude took the hit and was sentenced to five years of hard time. Meanwhile, Tocchet was back on the bench on February 7, 2008, two years after he was forced to take his leave of absence to deal with the gambling charges. Eventually, Tocchet won Stanley Cups as an assistant in Pittsburgh when Canucks president, Jim Rutherford, was general manager of the Penguins. The circle of hockey life continues. Personal relationships aside, this is the guy they found to replace Bruce Boudreau?

There are 8 billion people on planet earth and Rick Tocchet is the guy the Canucks had to have to replace the greatest junior player in hockey history, Bruce Boudreau. Here’s a guy who has dedicated his entire life to hockey, has overpaid his dues and has shown nothing but class for 40 plus years and he’s being replaced by a wannabe gangster, whose gambling ring was said to allegedly have ties to the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, which has a base of operations in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. What, one of the Gambino brothers was too busy to take the gig? 

Maybe the Canucks will get a spark from an old school meathead/numbskull like Tocchet, but we suspect once the players Google what the new coach is all about, they’ll be cracking jokes about him looking like a low level mob thug, who shakes people down on the dock for their gambling debts. Man, talk about distractions that prevent a team from playing their best and this Vancouver team is filled with them. We have no idea if the Canucks will be good, awful or somewhere in between but Rick Tocchet, a former goon, criminal and Mafia associate (allegedly) is probably not the right guy to turn this organization into something positive. The Canucks cannot be priced in this range right now.


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Our Pick

Chicago +198 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.96)

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