By me, Dee
General Manager Mike Gillis announced the firing of Canucks head coach, Alain Vigneault Wednesday. After the news broke, Gillis opened his press conference stating, “after a thorough review of the past couple of seasons, we’ve come to the decision that we’re relieving Alain Vigneault of head coaching duties” (x). Gillis was quick to personally thank Vigneault and his assistant coaches for their dedication to the Canucks over the years. While the team failed to win a Cup with AV, his hard work is reflected in the Canucks having accumulated 6 North-West division titles, 2 President’s trophies, and a Western Conference championship, in his 7 seasons as head coach.
Despite how you may feel about Vigneault personally, it’s hard to overlook all that he’s accomplished while in Vancouver. His unconventional and unpredictable coaching style is what helped him become the Canucks’ most winningest coach in franchise history, and brought him within one win of claiming hockey’s greatest prize. Unfortunately for Vigneault, the Canucks’ 2011 run to the Cup final wasn’t enough for him to keep his job, because in this case, almost doesn’t count.
In his presser, Gillis specifically noted that the past two playoffs were extremely disappointing, having been eliminated in the first round both years, despite being the higher seeded team. Gillis put it bluntly, “we simply didn’t get the results that we expected and in this business, you have to get results” (x), so he now looks to the find someone who can actually deliver, a decision he will take his time making. He explains, “there’s a number of good candidates out there. We’re gonna speak to them, and we’ll go through a process” (x).
There’s no question that with Vigneault gone, Gillis will be under the microscope more than usual, with people eagerly wanting to know who will now rally the Canucks in their quest for a Stanley Cup. Fortunately, he is not one to be rattled by outsiders. When asked by the media Wednesday, who he is looking to replace Vigneault, Gillis nonchalantly replied, “actually, I was gonna pull someone out of this room and hire them, offer them the job right now” (x). He followed his sly remark by saying he didn’t have a time frame for when he’d hire a new coach, but assured that he would take his time in selecting the right candidate for the job. Gillis’ no nonsense attitude gives the impression that he doesn’t take the state of the Canucks lightly, and is not going to make decisions in haste, despite pressure from the media. He explains, “this is a market where expectations are extremely high, and you have to meet them” (x) no matter what changes may be required.
While changes are to be expected within the organization, Gillis feels that the team is not in need of a drastic overhaul: “We have a really good core group of players. Solid players. Solid people. And we need to surround them with some younger, skilled players that can contribute” (x). He went on to note that he’s excited for the future of the Canucks, and “looking forward to the next chapter of this organization” (x). So is all of Vancouver Mike. Let’s hope that the next chapter includes some post-season scoring, whoever the Canucks coach may be.
Also posted on We’ve Got Twins