The Canucks should fire Vigneault. Here’s why.
Mike Gillis is set to meet with Canucks ownership today, and word is they’ll be discussing the future of head coach Alain Vigneault.
After being somewhat surprised by the Vigneault supporters — Iain MacIntyre, Pass It To Bulis — I have an argument of my own.
Vigneault should be fired.
I say this not because the team needs a fresh voice and coach’s have a short shelf life. Hell, any team with Mike Babcock or Barry Trotz should keep its coach forever.
Vigneault should be let go because his decisions caused a strong team to underperform. It happened this year and it’s happened many times before, and the team could’ve done better with someone else at the helm.
Exhibit A: Mason Raymond started the playoffs on the Canucks’ top line.
As many of you know, I’m no Raymond hater. I’ve preached patience and I enjoyed how Vigneault coddled him through the season with excessive ice time despite a lack of performance. I do believe he can return to form in the future and the press box is no place to add confidence.
But starting him on the team’s number 1 scoring line in the playoffs? We knew Maxim Lapierre had chemistry with Henrik Sedin, yet Raymond, who had underperformed all season long, got the call in games that mattered.
Exhibit B: Once Daniel Sedin was back, Vigneault put David Booth with the Sedins
Perhaps even worse — after watching Booth struggle with them, he stubbornly stuck with the trio. Any one of Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen or Maxim Lapierre would have made more sense to any sane person.
Two examples? That’s all? No, it’s not. I can go on and on. Think back to the 2010 playoffs when the Canucks were playing the Blackhawks. Willie Mitchell, Alex Edler, and Sami Salo were all injured prior to Game 6, yet Vigneault chose to dress only 6 defensemen, two of them being Salo and Edler. The team struggled with 4 defensemen for most of the game and it was the main reason they lost that night.
I can continue with more examples, but I don’t think I need to after these. These coaching decisions were pure insanity. No amount of Presidents Trophies make up for them nor can past wins explain them.
In his column, MacIntyre argues that if Vigneault is let go, everyone will know it was the owners’ will. I’m not so sure.
In the team’s year-end press conference, Gillis did defend his head coach, saying,
“This guy’s the winningest coach in this team’s history. We just won two Presidents Trophies, (and) lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.”
But what about this:
“I felt this team collectively was better situated than our team last year going into the playoffs.”
There’s the out Gillis planned for himself. The team underperformed. Simple.
Today, the owners will have their say — they may have a strong opinion or they may not. But as Gillis and Vigneault have often discussed starting goaltenders with AV having the final call, at the end of the day, Gillis will call the shots on the coach.
One more thing: many fans of Vigneault trumpet the fact that he uses advanced stats. It’s true he does, but this is something that started when Mike Gillis came on board. Statheads, you can rest assured as long as Gillis is the GM of the Canucks, advanced stats will be used.