Vigneault out as Canucks coach
“Well it was bound to happen and one night it did.” What was once a line from country legend Garth Brooks’ 1992 song “Papa Loved Mama” the same can be said for the firing of Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. According to both NHL.com and the team’s website, the Canucks did just that on Wednesday, firing Vigneault and two assistants: Rick Bowness and Newell Brown.
The firing comes after the Canucks were swept in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, after being two years removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. After a fifth straight division title, the Canucks planned their golfing trips and off-season workouts earlier than expected for the second year in a row. Last year’s team was beaten in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, an 8th seed, in five games.
Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said that the decision was “very difficult” and that “Alain, Rick and Newell worked tirelessly to lead this team to great on-ice success. I am personally grateful to each of them and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and the city of Vancouver and wish them continued success in future.”
So what’s next for the Canucks? Gillis wants to get younger and bigger.
“Five years ago we came in here and reset this organization and it’s time to do it again,” Gillis said earlier this month.
“When I took this job we decided on a style of play that resulted in great success, and clearly the landscape has changed and we have to address those changes. We don’t have a choice. It’s not something I necessarily principally agree in, but that’s what we face, that’s what we have to do. We have to make changes and adjustments necessary to compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s my intention to do it.”
It’s going to take some time though. Both the Sedin twins are getting up there in age (they’re both 32. Yeah I know only 32, but soon 32 turns to 33 and so on and so forth) and let’s not forget that big Albatross around their neck in the from of Roberto Louongo’s contract (9 years….enough said).
Since the team is looking to get bigger, look for forwards Mason Raymond and Derek Roy (both Free Agents) to not be resigned. Also names that could be on the move should they waive their no-trade clauses are the “Alex Twins” Alex Edler and Alex Burrows.
The shakeup is coming Canucks fans. This may hurt for a few years and you may start to experience feelings of regret involving the rebuilding process (just look at your Division rival Calgary Flames and their fans*) but with guys like Patrick White in ’07, Cody Hodgson in ’08 and a traded first round pick in ’10 out of the system, and Jordan Schroeder still in the minors, is it soon time to shake up the front office as well? While it seemed like the White trade was going to work when he was shipped to San Jose for Christian Erhoff, it seemed to backfire when Erhoff fled to Buffalo after he and the Canucks could not reach a deal.
All in all I saw this move coming. However, don’t be surprised if Alain gets a job with another NHL team this off season (hey Dallas, this means you!!!!).
*Dear Flames fans,
The Flames comment made above was in no way a slight against you or your organization. As a fan I respect your rich hockey tradition and the fact that you’re responsible for Lanny McDonald! I feel bad for you and your team.
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