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Boudreau hopes final game with Canucks isn't his 'last hurrah'

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

Saturday's 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers was Bruce Boudreau's last game behind the Vancouver Canucks' bench, but he hopes it isn't his final opportunity in hockey.

"I don't think there's anybody that loves the game more than me and will miss the game when I'm out of it - and I hope I never get out of it," Boudreau said after the emotional contest.

He added, "I used to watch every game, I'm sure I'm gonna watch every game. I want to get back into it somehow, whether it's doing TV again or - I still got the passion to do this. I never missed a practice that wasn't an optional ... so hopefully something works out. I hope this isn't my last hurrah."

The Canucks fired Boudreau on Sunday and replaced him with Rick Tocchet, putting an end to a lengthy saga that Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn deemed "a roller coaster of emotions."

"Guys enjoy playing for Bruce. In this room, we feel like we let him down," Schenn told reporters postgame Saturday. "We wanted to continue to try to do better for him."

Connor McDavid opened the scoring less than two minutes into the clash, and the Canucks found themselves down 3-0 midway through the second period.

Vancouver would make it 3-2 thanks to Andrei Kuzmenko and J.T. Miller, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins iced the contest with an empty-netter.

"We're all talking amongst ourselves, 'Let's do whatever it takes.' ... The only thing you're thinking, really, win aside, is to get it for Bruce," Schenn said. "That’s what guys were fired up for, and we fell short again."

Boudreau received a touching send-off while time wound down on the contest as fans serenaded him with chants of "Bruce, there it is."

The Canucks' dressing room, however, was quieter.

"Guys were sitting around here and kind of almost speechless," Schenn said. "A lot of times after a game, a loss, guys are mad or ticked off or whatever about the way they played. But this was not even about the game. It was more the feeling for Bruce."

Fans and players alike have criticized the Canucks' handling of Boudreau's situation. The veteran bench boss quipped that he didn't know the "reasoning why (he's) still here" when his fate has been reported on for some time, but he once again expressed gratitude for the Canucks faithful.

"You'd certainly like to see the city of Vancouver get a playoff team," Boudreau said. "If we could've won these last two games, that would've put them a little bit closer. Maybe they could find lightning in a bottle with the next guy."

The Canucks sit in sixth place of the Pacific Division with an 18-25-3 record and are 14 points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

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