Canucks Clean House, Fire Coaching Staff
After a brutal first round sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks have fired head coach Alain Vigneault, associate coach Rick Bowness, and assistant coach Newell Brown.
Vigneault coached the Canucks since the 2006-07 season. As head coach, he compiled a 313-170-57 record and won the Jack Adams Award (NHL coach of the year) in 2007 and was a finalist in 2011. Under Vigneault, the Canucks won six Northwest Division titles and back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy awards (NHL team with the best regular season record).
Despite that success, the Canucks were never able to win the Stanley Cup. In Vigneault’s first year on the job, the team lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks in the conference semifinals. After missing the playoffs in 2007-08 and then suffering consecutive second round exits at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, Vigneault and the Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. Vancouver lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins.
This season, Vigneault was tasked with coaching his team through the controversial goaltending situation in which the Canucks platooned two starting goalies, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, despite Luongo’s NHL-high 12-year/$64 million contract. Luongo was constantly in rumors for trades, but because of the terms of his contract and his propensity for choking in the playoffs, he was a difficult player to find a team for.
Vigneault departs as the winningest coach in franchise history with 313 wins. With the way the NHL’s coaching carousel operates, Vigneault will not be unemployed for long. As far as Vancouver goes, it remains to be seen if a coaching staff purge can really solve their franchise’s playoff woes.