There’s no sugarcoating it — everything about the Brock Boeser situation this weekend was messy.
On Saturday morning, it became public knowledge that Boeser was going to be a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season — on “Hockey Fights Cancer Night” at Rogers Arena, no less.
“It hurt...it hurt a lot,” an emotional Boeser told reporters after the game on Saturday.
When Boudreau was asked about sitting Boeser on a night that clearly meant a lot to him, Boudreau told the media he “had no idea” that it was Hockey Fights Cancer night.
After that grab bag of emotions for Boeser, later in the day, Dakota Joshua woke up from a nap and “wasn’t feeling right,” according to Bruce Boudreau.
Apparently, Joshua came in early to meet with team doctors, who deemed he wasn’t ready to go.
Boeser then confirmed to reporters that he got a call from Boudreau at 3:00 pm, saying he was in the lineup.
Of course, the 25-year-old went on to score the game-tying goal after a third-period promotion to Elias Pettersson’s wing.
He nearly scored in overtime after that as well.
On top of all that, earlier in the day, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, had been given permission to seek a trade for his client.
That’s a move that usually happens only if the team has tried to trade a player and has been unsuccessful in doing so.
All of this noise led to some conspiracy theories, with the biggest eyebrow-raising one coming from the Canucks former assistant general manager, Chris Gear.
I wish Dakota Joshua a speedy recovery from the hangnail keeping him out of this game. I could be wrong but smells to me like Bruce made his choice, Brock’s agent called JR, trade attempt was agreed upon and Boes got back in the lineup. Never dull.— Chris Gear (@vangearman) December 4, 2022
What does it all mean for Boeser and the Canucks?
First off, while it would be easy to rip Boudreau for scratching Boeser on Hockey Fights Cancer night, you have to consider that most coaches aren’t paying close attention to what is being celebrated on any given night at the rink.
The Canucks are celebrating something for almost every home day. It’s not entirely fair to expect the coaching staff to be following along with which night is Hockey Fights Cancer vs. Military night vs. construction workers night, etc.
It’s also still fair to say that it wasn’t a great look for the team in general.
I mean, of any night to scratch Brock, it really had to be THAT night?
Still, the bigger story at hand was the report of his agent being given permission to seek a trade.
You have to feel for Boeser, who was asked postgame about the trade rumours after giving an emotional answer about what this night meant for him in terms of scoring and wearing a warm-up jersey with his father’s name on it.
I mean, if I was Boeser, maybe I’d want out of town as well.
Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal did report on Sunday that the story about Boeser’s agent seeking a trade and the healthy scratch were merely a coincidence.
However, they also confirmed that the team looked at trading Boeser last season around the time when they were negotiating Boeser’s latest deal — a three-year contract worth $6.65 million per season.
The issue is, you can expect much in return for Boeser at this point. He’s been below his top form for nearly 100 games, he’s expensive, and he’s primarily a goal scorer who has four tallies in 19 games.
If he were to be traded, this could be one of those “addition by subtraction deals,” clearing cap space for the Canucks to do something else down the road.
It would be a sad, frustrating way for Boeser’s tenure to end in Vancouver, considering that his value was once much higher, and so was the promise that he’d be a top-line, goal-scoring winger on this team for a decade-plus.
However, this whole season has been sad and frustrating for fans, and it’s clear that a shake-up of some kind is needed.