Why are the odds stacked against a man who brought the Canucks to within one game of the ultimate prize, not to mention the club’s first ever President’s Trophy? He will soon become a victim of his own success:
• The Canucks traditionally have slow starts to the season. After last spring’s post season, there will be high expectations and low amounts of patience should the Canucks come out of the gates in their normal 0.500 fashion
• Teams will be paying special attention to the Canucks, given the team’s regular and post-season track records last year
By about the 20-game mark, in this hockey-crazed market, if the Canucks aren’t within the top eight seeds in their conference, Alain Vigneault will become extremely expendable by fans, media, and management.
While he has broken countless coaching records in his tenure with the club since his debut in 2006/07, Alain has also had his moments of controversy, that, when compiled over six years, gives more incentive to bring fresh perspectives behind the bench.
Reasons Alain’s departure will appeal to fans, media and management:
Rocky relationships: While Alain’s personality has blended in a complimentary fashion with several Canucks, he has also created tension among a select few who would benefit under a new head coach. In particular, Keith Ballard, who has the potential to be a cornerstone of the Canucks’ defence, has yet to have the confidence instilled in him by his head coach. Cody Hodgson is another potential franchise player who has been used so sparingly when called up that he no doubt questions the coach’s confidence in his abilities.
New approaches: We’ve seen several Canucks blossom into stars during Vigneault’s term, in large part to how he has afforded them opportunities to grow. But some may say he has also stifled key players in the particular roles he lays out for them. For instance, if the referees call a one-sided game against the Canucks, the Sedins ride the pine for too long. A new coach would mean a new approach using existing players.
Addressing overprized favourites: Aaron Rome. Do I really need to say more on that?
The Linden factor: While he would never admit it, Trevor Linden is not interested in having a role with the Canucks organization while Alain Vigneault is associated with the club. Trevor will speak highly of Alain when asked about his coaching abilities, but resentment persists in Trevor towards a coach who refused to play him for any length of time, despite his proven worth and continued ability to play a strong role on the team. Below the surface of his class and dignity, his dissatisfaction with the coach ultimately led him to retire two seasons before he wanted to – and he only announced his retirement once he was sure Alain wasn’t being fired, in June, 2008, well after the Canucks finished their season, a season that saw Trevor as a healthy scratch for 24 games. If Alain is terminated, it opens up new windows of opportunity in having Trevor Linden a member of the organization, in some capacity.
My prediction: look for Alain Vigneault’s departure by the last week of November. Not that I didn’t think he did a great job in many aspects, but I have a feeling his end with the Canucks is much closer than most think.
Edited by Slegr, 26 July 2011 - 10:00 PM.