20 potential replacements if Alain Vigneault gets fired

This may sound surprising, but it’s entirely possible that Mike Gillis doesn’t fire Alain Vigneault after the Canucks’ second straight first round exit. While it makes more sense than ever (and perhaps for the first time ever) to let Vigneault go, Gillis has had opportunities to fire him and bring in his own choice for head coach in the past and chose to keep him around.

There’s one argument against firing Vigneault that you’re going to hear a lot in the coming days: who do you replace him with? Why bother firing the head coach if there’s no one out there who’s as good or better? It’s an argument that has been made in the past as well, even by myself. It’s also completely bogus.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch was the latest to bring up this chestnut, even suggesting that Mike Gillis thinks the coaching market is thin.

 

It doesn’t hold any water. There are a vast number of viable NHL head coaches out there, either unemployed or working as assistant coaches in the NHL or head coaches in the AHL or major junior. Not all of them are good options for the Canucks, but the sheer number available puts to lie the idea that there is no one out there who could replace Vigneault if he was let go.

The argument was no more viable in the past. If Gillis had chosen to fire Vigneault before this season, coaches like Bob Hartley, Ken Hitchcock, Bruce Boudreau, Michel Therrien, and Kirk Muller were all available, and those were just the former NHL head coaches. Who really knew who Paul Maclean was before the Senators hired him as their head coach? Maclean had been a coach for years and was an assistant in Detroit, and has been a superb head coach in Ottawa.

I’m not saying that Vigneault should be fired, by any means. He has been a fantastic coach for the Canucks, guiding the team through some of the most successful seasons in franchise history. But the idea that there would be no one to replace him is fundamentally flawed.

The following coaches just scratch the surface of available candidates for an NHL head coaching job.

Free Agents

Guy Boucher: After tremendous success in Major Junior and the AHL, Boucher was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010 and led the team to a 46-25-11 record and the Eastern Conference Finals. He was praised for his tactical acumen and had many surprised that he didn’t receive more votes for the Jack Adams award. Then the Lightning failed to make the playoffs and got off to a poor start this season and he was fired. I, for one, would like to see how he would do coaching a team with decent goaltending.

Lindy Ruff: Ruff was the head coach in Buffalo for a whopping 14 seasons, but was fired in his 15th after a 6-10-1 start. He coached the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 1999 and to the Conference Finals three other times. In his last five seasons, however, the Sabres failed to make the playoffs in three of them and lost in the first round in the other two. He has never coached a team that spends to the salary cap, however, and has a sterling reputation.

Guy Carbonneau: In his first season as head coach of the Canadiens in 2006-07, they missed the playoffs. The next season, Carbonneau coached them to a division title, then lost in the second round of the playoffs. Carbonneau was the runner-up for the Jack Adams award to Bruce Boudreau. The next season, he was fired, even as the Canadiens eventually made the playoffs.

Andy Murray: Currently coaching college hockey at Western Michigan, Murray previously coached the Kings and the Blues. He was a runner-up for the Jack Adams award in 2009 after guiding the Blues from 15th in the conference at the All-Star break to the playoffs, where they promptly got swept by the Canucks.

Ron Wilson: Wilson is a hard coach to judge. He coached the 1997-98 Capitals to the Cup Finals and was behind the bench for some of the Sharks’ best regular seasons, even as they never made it to the Finals. Then he got hired in Toronto to coach the Maple Leafs and got fired partway through a fourth straight unsuccessful season. Do you judge him for his failure in Toronto where he had very little to work with? How much credit do you give him for USA’s silver medal in the 2010 Olympics?

Jacques Martin: Martin is one of the most experienced coaches available, but he’s faced criticism that he hasn’t been able to adapt to the realities of the post-lockout NHL. Still, the Ottawa Senators never missed the playoffs while he was behind the bench, leading them to four 100+ point seasons. He may be too defensively-oriented to fit with the Canucks, however.

Brent Sutter: Sutter had some success coaching New Jersey, but flamed out in three seasons with Calgary. How much of that should be on him, however, rather than , no success in Calgary, but how much blame should he receive for that and how much should be on his brother, Darryl, the General Manager? By all accounts, Sutter is a fine coach and deserves another shot at an NHL head coaching job.

Don Hay: The current coach of the Vancouver Giants had two brief stints as an NHL head coach, getting the Coyotes to the playoffs in 1997 and lasting 68 games with the Flames in 2000-01. Hay’s success in the WHL has been impressive, leading the Giants to a Memorial Cup in 2007 after winning it twice with the Kamloops Blazers. His name is frequently brought up for an NHL coaching job, but the question is how interested he is in returning to the NHL.

Mike Keenan or Marc Crawford: Just kidding. Sort of.

***

Assistants

John Stevens: After a stint as the Philadelphia Flyers’ head coach, he was hired as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings, focussing on defence and the penalty kill. The Kings have been among the league leaders in penalty kill percentage and goals against while he’s been behind the bench and he won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012.

Larry Robinson: Robinson was the head coach for the New Jersey Devils’ 2000 Stanley Cup and their 2001 loss in the Finals. Other than a previous stint as the Kings’ head coach, he’s mostly been an assistant, joining the San Jose Sharks this past season. He was credited with the Sharks’ improvement on the penalty kill as they went from 29th in the league in 2011-12 to 7th in 2012-13.

John Anderson: Anderson was a very successful AHL coach with the Chicago Wolves, but his only shot at a head-coaching job in the NHL was with the sad-sack Atlanta Thrashers. He’s currently an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes under Dave Tippett.

Brad Shaw: Shaw’s only shot at being a head coach was as an interim coach for the New York Islanders. He’s been an assistant with the St. Louis Blues since 2006 and was voted as the assistant coach who most deserved to be a head coach in the 2011-12 NHLPA player’s poll.

Scott Gordon: Gordon was given no chance to succeed in his first job as an NHL head coach, as he was hired by the brutally awful New York Islanders in 2008. He was previously the AHL coach of the year in 2008 and seems like a good candidate to make his way back into the ranks of NHL head coaches in short order. He’s currently an assistant coach with the Leafs.

Tom Renney: Renney is an unlikely candidate, not because he’s a particularly bad coach, but because of the optics. Renney had some success coaching the New York Rangers, but most recently coached the Edmonton Oilers to last and second-last place finishes. He’s currently serving as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings, however, which isn’t a bad place to be.

AHL and Junior coaches

Dallas Eakins: Eakins has been repeatedly rumoured for multiple NHL coaching jobs and they’ve picked up again recently. He has coached the Toronto Marlies for four seasons, losing in the Calder Cup Finals last year.

Willie Desjardins: It may be his first year as a coach in the AHL, but it seems likely that Desjardins won’t be coaching in the AHL for very long, as he was just named the AHL coach of the year and will be a likely candidate for several NHL coaching jobs in the near future.

Troy Ward: Ward has been a fantastic coach in Abbotsford and was rumoured for the Calgary job before the Flames hired Bob Hartley. Flames Nation went over the many reasons why should have gotten the job and most of them are good reasons for another NHL team, like the Canucks, to take a look at him.

Mike Johnston: Johnston was an assistant coach with the Kings and Canucks and has now proven himself as a head coach with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, leading them to two Western Conference finals. He may not have any connection with Gillis, but he is familiar with the Canucks organization.

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63 comments

  1. kenahora
    May 8, 2013

    Interesting lists of candidates..AND…not taking anything away from any them…NONE can carry COACH ALAIN’S LUNCH BOX..!

    IF EVERY PLAYER PLAYED TO THE CAPACITY OF THEIR GOLD PLATED CONTRACTS….WE WOULDNT BE TALKING.

    NO -ONE WILLING TO GET IN THE GREASY AREAS (EXCEPT BURROWS )…

    The players collectively may not have the ability…yet I enjoyed the recent game against Chicago.

    Leave it to the media to wipe the Coach into the dirt.
    They are good at that.

    SORRY

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    • James W.
      May 8, 2013

      Talk about case-sensitive…

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    • CJ
      May 8, 2013

      AV has made some bad decision regarding goaltending and line-ups. Way too much shuffling in a short season when the margin of error to find chemistry is slim. Sitting Ballard (who played consistently well when the top 4 was shaky in the beginning of the season) in the press box in favour of Alberts (who is slow and pretty useless) and Corrado (good future but still really green and untested at this level).

      To me, it seems like he lost the room and his time here is done. I’m sure he’ll find another coaching job and do well with a fresh start.

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    • Mack
      May 8, 2013

      Isn’t a coaches job to motivate?

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    • Lenny
      May 8, 2013

      I believe strategy was also a cause to our defeats for the last 3 playoff rounds.

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    • tj
      May 8, 2013

      Dude. Lay off the caps. Seriously. It does nothing for your argument/point, whatever it is.

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  2. Robert
    May 8, 2013

    Coaching isn’t the problem, the roster is as this team is on a downhill slide. The Canucks need to unload their forwards who are 30 or over. These guys except for Kesler won’t be tradable in another year or two so it’s time to bite the bullet and trade while these players have value or it’s just going to be a long time at the bottom and a lengthy rebuild for the Canucks.

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  3. ktownfan
    May 8, 2013

    To me it depends on what kind of team Gillis is going to build. If he sticks with the core of smaller, fast forwards and a mobile pinching defense I think Guy Boucher could be a very good fit. I think with decent D and a NHL caliber goalie, he is still coaching in TB and most likely in the PLayoffs right now. Yzerman really hung him out to dry this year.

    If he decides it time to re-tool the roseter in a major way and try and build more along a La/Stl/Bos style, grind and hit team then Sutter,Ruff or Wilson.

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    • Lenny
      May 8, 2013

      Neither Ruff nor Wilson had grind and hit teams though… in fact Wilson preferred Lombardi and Connolly over the bigger Leafs team now.

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    • Kenji
      May 9, 2013

      I don’t know about Boucher. Wasn’t he the coach that refused to send any forecheckers in and lines up 5 across? I want a dynamic attack team – if for no other reason than that is entertaining.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 9, 2013

        Boucher’s been mis-characterized as a defensive coach. He actually advocates using a strong attacking system with a heavy forecheck, but once the opposition skaters get out past a certain point in the defensive zone, he backs his forwards into the neutral zone.

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  4. Smokey
    May 8, 2013

    No Ted Nolan? C’mon, someone has got to bring this guy back eventually.

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  5. Pukeko
    May 8, 2013

    I’m surprised that a list of candidates to replace Mike Gillis hasn’t been formulated on this blog.

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  6. Tom 1040
    May 8, 2013

    What about shoes?

    Doesn’t rush to judgement, fair, unbiased.

    Classy spokesperson to say the least.

    I mean, he’s no Scott Arniel, but…

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  7. bluemoonjones
    May 8, 2013

    I’m not certain that AV should be canned. But if he is, I’d be on board with Guy Boucher. He did well in his short stint in Tampa (while relatively young), and it seems very likely that he has a long and productive coaching career in front of him. Why not make it happen in Vancouver?

    Also, I’m a tad surprised to not see Scott Arniel on the list. You’d think Gillis would look at him for sure.

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  8. Chris the Curmudgeon
    May 8, 2013

    Very interesting list. Perhaps a guy like Brad Shaw would be a wise choice.

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  9. Thomas Pratt
    May 8, 2013

    The first question is deciding how the team is going to play. That will inform the choice of coach and the roster moves.

    For me, I want to see them commit to playing a defensive system. Whichever goalie stays is world class, and as a group their D is strong. The puck possession, uptempo style was great after the last lockout, but it no longer suits the way the game is being called or the team’s personnel. The game in the West/NorthwestPacific is getting tighter.

    My choice for a new coach is Guy Boucher. He is one of the few tactically adventurous coaches out there, which seems like it would mesh well with Mike Gillis’ attitude of experimentation. I would like to see if he could unlock Edler’s potential or reclaim Keith Ballard as a top 4 NHL Dman.

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    • Neil B
      May 10, 2013

      I’m not sure where this “fire AV or fire Gillis” line of thought is coming from. The idea that Coach V will not be fired by a new GM again, on the same team, is kinda silly. Nobody fires the GM and keeps the coach *that the fired GM inherited*. So far as I can see, there are three options:

      1. Keep ‘em both.
      2. Fire ‘em both.
      3. Fire the coach only.

      That said, I’d agree with Boucher as a possibility. I think he deserves a second shot with a real goaltender. As to which goaltender, I’d say that’s a conversation that the (new?) coach needs to have with the (new?) GM. Under no circumstances do anything until you have the front office and on-ice strategy solidified.

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  10. Anon
    May 8, 2013

    No mention of Ted Nolan?

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  11. Josh
    May 8, 2013

    Pat. Quinn.

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  12. Snepsts
    May 8, 2013

    What about Glen Healey?

    Seriously though, I like AV. I think the players like him too, it was a weird season and there were a million little injuries/subsequent line changes constantly happening. Plus: we had to use Cam Barker. I’m pretty sure Gillis lost a bet, because picking him up is like wearing a tuxedo shirt to a night club.

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  13. Jevon
    May 8, 2013

    All this talk about “we need a coach who plays a better defensive system.” AV tried that and look where it has got him and this team? This roster’s core is and was built around offense that has disappeared because of systems. If we bring in a defense first coach like Boucher it will not fix the basic flaws that exist in this team. By just swapping in AV for a guy like Boucher we are still left with the same problem that is a team that can make the playoffs but is not going to go anywhere. In other words, it would not change a single thing.

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  14. Nee
    May 8, 2013

    I’d be happy with Guy Boucher or Dallas Eakins. Both very talented guys.

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  15. Lenny
    May 8, 2013

    Guy Boucher, 1st.

    Ruff would be my second.

    Mike Johnson is a familiar name. He would be my 3rd if PITB thinks he is NHL head coach ready.

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  16. Dani
    May 8, 2013

    Just curious, Daniel – why didn’t Scott Arniel make this list? He did a great job with the Moose and Gillis obviously liked him enough to hire him again to coach the Wolves.

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    • akidd
      May 9, 2013

      yup, curious omission. obvious finalist i’d have thought.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 9, 2013

        His first go-around as an NHL head coach in Columbus was an outright disaster. I’d want to give him more time in the AHL again before giving him another job in the NHL.

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        • akidd
          May 9, 2013

          if you’re not big on disasters, how did ron wilson make your list then?

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  17. Naturalmystic
    May 8, 2013

    PJ Stock for head coach. Anything to get that stuttering moron off the CBC.

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    • Lenny
      May 8, 2013

      …and we have to listen to his post game pressers every game night???

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  18. Josh Hall
    May 8, 2013

    Pat freakin’ Quinn

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  19. Chinook
    May 8, 2013

    It would be stupid to replace AV when its Gillis’ mistakes that are a more profound problem. Maybe Ballard would play better for a different coach but MG signed his contract. I like Luongo but his contract is a millstone for Lu and for the team. And Gillis never addressed the potential loss of Malhotra with his face-off skill. Whats galling is that Malhotra was signed after Canucks lost to Boston and the players told him then we need to win more face-offs. Roy is a skill guy, but small and absolutely NOT what Canucks need as a 3rd centre to go up against Thornton (or Couture or Backes or Getzlaf or Kopitar or Perron) Garrison was a great signing but how come no right-side depth? I wonder if there is dialogue between MG and AV (“Hey Alain, any idea if Edler or Ballard or someone are comfortable playing right?”) Gillis made some good moves (the sleep doctor thing) and some bold but weird experiments – like bringing back Mats Sundin at a phenomenal salary. Never made sense to me that a charismatic 6’5″ 240 lb power centre, 2 years into retirement could teach a couple of shy skinny skilled Swedes how to adapt to the NHL. I think the Sedins learned more from Alex Burrows – and thats on AV’s coaching, not Gillis’ managerial skill.

    I’ve got other issues with Gillis but thats enough bitchin’. But one more dart for you Daniel – how dare you put Ron Wilson’s name on the list!

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  20. tj
    May 8, 2013

    I am emotionally attached to AV, but am also emotionally attached to Guy Guy Carbonneau. It would seem I get emotionally attached to guys who can’t finish. This says more about me than them.

    Clearly, I am not cut out for arm-chair coaching.

    Latest talk is Corey’s going and not Lu? WTF?

    Canucks is to hockey as Provincial Politics is to BC.

    Cray-cray.

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  21. agnosticbishop
    May 8, 2013

    What about Brad Larsen from the Springfield Falcons? Won a division title in his first season as an AHL head coach, with 235 GF and 186 GA. Seems able to run a high octane offence combined with strong D.

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  22. Piker
    May 8, 2013

    Keep AV. Barring that, I think Don Hay deserves another shot at the NHL, if he wants it.

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  23. Carlo
    May 8, 2013

    How about Tort if he gets fired in NY? Lol!

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  24. BBoone
    May 8, 2013

    GMMG and AV failed to bring along their top draft picks . We would not be having quite this conversation if the Canucks had some good young forwards in their mix of veterans. AV naturally wanted to win each game, and therefore would prefer veterans. It was up to Gillis to insist on a more long term view and let AV know that he had his back if he played , and stuck with, some younger forwards such as Grabner, Hodson, then Kassian etc. . That being said coaches eventually need to go as the players they have trusted to always go to the wall for them begin to hold back a little . Then, regardless of how good a coach he is, he has to go. AV has been a very good coach, it is simply time to move on.

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  25. Nero_911
    May 8, 2013

    There’s also Mike Haviland, longtime assistant with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    He was passed over by WPG who hired (kept) Noel.

    Haviland gets a lot of credit for the Hawks success by their fans.

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  26. Marcus
    May 9, 2013

    Ugh. If the Canucks hire Ron Wilson I will not watch the team again till he is fired.

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  27. BV
    May 9, 2013

    I would let AV go, not because of performance issues but because this team is at the end of the runway with him. We need some new pieces and a breath of fresh air behind the bench is probably one of them. This list of candidates makes me feel much better about that prospect.

    AV has been great for us and he will get new work in the NHL immediately. But either we make a change now or admit the franchise is too lazy to take that kind of risk and we Lindy Rufferize AV into his permanent seat as Coach Emeritus and hope for the best like Buffalo did.

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  28. "I know nothing" Dreger
    May 9, 2013

    I think we should fire AV – seriously, what can he possibly bring that we have not seen? Plus, his solution for all problems is to play defensive-collapsed hockey? Problem scoring? No problem, let’s play even more defensive hockey and if the other team can’t score either then we are even steven..

    Off topic, but is it me or was Lu a bit too chummy at the handshake line – everyone was a bit dejected, he not so much. I know he has gone through a lot this year, but i am getting a bit tired of his “I am the victim” act at this point – he said his contract sucks, and if he could he would rip it up (which he can’t of course), but how about waving that no trade clause? Has anyone asked him that yet?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 9, 2013

      From what we’ve heard, he has yet to be officially asked to waive his no trade clause.

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  29. Rob
    May 9, 2013

    AV is a great coach and his record in Vancouver speaks for itself. He cannot be held 100% responsible for his team’s no show in the playoffs becasue ultimately it’s on the players to perform. The biggest issue I see is the team is not prepared for every game and they no longer play hard for a full 60 and that falls squarely on the coaches head. He may be a great coach but I think its time for a change of voice and a change of direction in the locker room, it might just be the kick in the pants this team needs to get going at 100% again.

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  30. BedBeats
    May 9, 2013

    If AV goes, there will be only one guy targeted, and that is Ruff. Agree with Cheech a few nights back that they will have to bring in a “marquee” name to replace AV.

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  31. mikazuki
    May 9, 2013

    Tom Renney already was the Canucks coach. He didn’t last two seasons (not particularly his fault, though)

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      May 9, 2013

      It partially was. He alienated his players within months by treating them like children.

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  32. steveB
    May 9, 2013

    Trevor Linden.

    You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.
    why doesn’t this happen to the trolls? :-\

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  33. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    May 9, 2013

    I’ve always hated that argument because it’s so obviously fallacious. And yet people make it every time the coaching question comes up for any team. Like there’s ever been a time where there’s this list of curiously unemployed all-star coaches that everyone simply agrees is awesome despite not being in the league. If you could never introduce new blood into the mix, you would always have the same 30 NHL head coaches rotating until they all simply died.

    You end a romantic relationship because it’s no longer working. Not because you spotted a hotter person across the room and want them instead.

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    • paul wodehouse
      May 10, 2013

      SOOOO KID …U GONNA TELL ME ABOUT THIS LETTER FROM GRETZ YOU SAY I SOLD ?

      OR NOT !!!

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      • paul wodehouse
        May 10, 2013

        …J 21 …AT LEAST YOU CAN MAN UP AND FILL US ALL IN ON WHAT THE LETTER FROM GRETZ TO ME WAS ABOUT … AT LEAST YOU CAN COME CLEAN WITH THIS INTERNET TALE YOU ARE TELLING … YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE THE FIRST TO TELL THE WORLD YOU BLOW SMOKE MORE OFTEN THAN NOT… J21 ARE YOU THERE ?
        MAYBE j21 IS ON THE TWITTER @jyrki21…COME OUT AND SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT THE LETTER YOU SAY I GOT FROM GRETZKY AND THEN SOLD … OR ARE YOU JUST A KID LOOKING FOR ATTENTION … Y’GOT MINE SO FESS UP …or sfu

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        • Daniel Wagner
          May 10, 2013

          Honestly, bud, what’s your problem?

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          • paul wodehouse
            May 11, 2013

            …honestly, bud, its this fellow above who comes on this site and says things and has no backbone OR PROOF to backup the things he says… he’s a chicken and a liar

            that’s my problem…its J21

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  34. Gary Schaber
    May 9, 2013

    I don’t think Alain should be let go.He has a recent resume you can’t find in too many places.5 straight division titles,2 Presidents Trophies,a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.You want to throw that all away just because they haven’t won the title? Not me,I say stick with him!

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  35. Matt
    May 10, 2013

    Can we stop with the bragging about division championships and president’s trophies? Our division has been terrible for half a decade now, a trained chimpanzee could’ve won this division the last five years with these teams. A big time culture change is needed, one that will only come with AV AND the twins going. Otherwise it’s going to be business as usual, where accountability somehow becomes a four letter word and blaming the refs and whining about being physically outmatched is acceptable.

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    • Gary Schaber
      May 10, 2013

      Winning the division at least gets you to the playoffs with the chance to do more.I believe,the past 2 early exits notwithstanding, that the Canucks have the talent to get the Cup and that AV can get them there.

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  36. Ryan
    May 10, 2013

    This is the first time I’ve read one of Bulis’ columns, but he’s already lost all credibility with me. He says “If Gillis had chosen to fire Vigneault before this season, coaches like Bob Hartley, Ken Hitchcock, Bruce Boudreau, Michel Therrien, and Kirk Muller were all available.”

    No, that’s not true at all!

    Hitchcock was hired during LAST SEASON as coach of the Blues, Boudreau was hired during LAST SEASON as coach of the Ducks and Muller was hired during LAST SEASON as coach of the Hurricanes. That means, out of the 5 coaches Bulis SAID were available, only TWO actually were!

    Come on idiot, if you’re going to write a blog for a major paper in a major city, get your freakin’ facts even HALF right!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 10, 2013

      Hi. My name is Daniel. I wrote the above post. Jan Bulis does not write this blog as he is playing in the KHL.

      Here’s how time works. Things that happen previous to something else are “before” that something else. Last season, for instance, happened before this season. Hitchcock, Boudreau, and Muller were hired before this season. No, not directly before, but still quite clearly before.

      Hope you’ll try reading one of our columns again.

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  37. Peter Zee
    May 10, 2013

    Daniel, I noticed Paul Maurice missing from the list, Stanley Cup winner, coached a team with pretty good goaltending and had an offensive flair.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 10, 2013

      Honestly just forgot him. He got some decent results in Carolina with a fairly average team, so he’d be an interesting option. Seems like a smart guy and it’d be interesting to see how he’d coach after a year in the KHL.

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  38. Dndiddk
    May 12, 2013

    Haviland

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  39. Connor
    May 12, 2013

    Gillis is the one who needs to be fired, Not AV

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  40. SF
    May 12, 2013

    A team’s overall identity is that of its coach. Whenever the Canucks let in a few goals they crumble under AV dating back from his first year right through to his last. The team needs a new direction, and the entire coaching staff needs to move on. AV is a fine coach, but he has the worst assistants in the league and too much faith in players who are broken. It’s time to move on.

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  41. Raeme
    May 14, 2013

    AV has been my favorite Canuck over the past while, but he has become stale – his message to the players is lost and his solutions to combat other teams in the playoffs lack creativity. As others have posted, this teams needs a fresh identity and it starts from the top down – Gillis needs to be fired first and foremost, then a new GM can bring in a coach of his choosing. The GM and coach MUST work together to determine which players stay and which players go. It seems obvious to me that there was a disconnect between AV and Gillis about what kind of players needed to be acquired and what players in the organization needed to be developed. Shake the team up and treat the season as practice for the playoffs – the only results that matter. Look what it did for LA. Stay the course and the Canucks will very quickly become the Flames

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