To the surprise of absolutely no one — save Rick Bowness, whose dismissal leaked before Mike Gillis could get ahold of him and wound up being fired by his own daughter — the Canucks blew up their coaching staff on Wednesday. Bowness, Newell Brown, and most notably, head coach Alain Vigneault were all let go.
As we said earlier this month, the decision made sense now. I’m of the mind that it didn’t last year, and Mike Gillis said the same again at the post-firing presser. “After the previous season, we thought it might have been an anomaly,” he explained, in regards to retaining Vigneault after the Kings ran them out of the playoffs in 2012. That’s reasonable. Kneejerk reactions based on small postseason samples are a terrible way to run a hockey team, since the postseason is full of anomalies. Jonathan Toews and Tyler Seguin are both goalless this postseason, for instance. Is that just an anomaly or are they unable to get it done in the clutch? Has Jonathan Toews, former Conn Smythe winner, forgotten how to do hockey in the playoffs? Probably not.
So yes, the decision made sense now. Ignore the people claiming they’ve been calling for Vigneault’s head for years and years and now they are finally proven to have been right all along. Nah. They’ve been wrong for years and years. They became right a month ago. They became right after a second consecutive first-round exit, complete with zero home ice wins in either first-sound series. At that point, a dismissal made absolute sense to everybody. Even Rick Bowness heard his daughter’s words and was like, “Yeah, I figured.”
And now we look forward. The Canucks are still a team on the cusp, a veteran group that may still be in their window, and it’s going to take the right type of coach to get them over the hump. But what type of coach is that? Thursday morning on the Team 1040, the hosts polled listeners with the following three options: the fresh face, the second-chancer, and the NHL proven guy. But those aren’t the only options — not even close. Let’s take a look at those and more.
THE FRESH FACE
How about a guy like Dallas Eakins, head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies? He’s a name that’s always on these shortlists. The upside is that he brings a lot of new ideas and, hopefully, an original voice to the table.
Really, the only thing holding him back from getting any NHL experience is his lack of NHL experience. That’s one downside. For a veteran club like the Canucks, you worry that a hip, handsome, young coach won’t have the same effect on them that he’d have on, say, a bunch of kids. Plus if the goal here is to go far in the postseason, hiring a coach that’s never been in that situation is always a risk.
THE SECOND CHANCER
At one time, perhaps he was a bright young star, but that star has since faded. Think of a guy like Marc Crawford.
I mean, sure, he was the last guy before Vigneault, but things are different now, and if you want the Canucks playing a more run and gun style, maybe Crawford can get back in the game, rediscover the things that made him successful the first time around, and coax a few more timely goals out of this veteran group?
THE NHL PROVEN
You want experience? He’s got it. He’s been around for years, and he’s had success. Think of a guy like Lindy Ruff, who’s been in this business since earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
He’s had some success, he’s a guy the veterans will listen to, and you know what you’re getting from him. But coaches are like players, and they aren’t immune from aging out of this business. It’s possible the game has surpassed his approach.
THE DEVOURER OF WORLDS
You want a guy that commands a room? How about the guy that commands entire galaxies, not to mention the Silver Surfer? If you can get through to the Silver Surfer, you can get through to Ryan Kesler, the Canucks’ silver centre.
Forget bag skates. If you don’t show up to play for Galactus, he will DEVOUR YOUR WORLD. That’s some motivation right there. The downside, of course, is that he constantly hungers and must feed regularly or he starves to death and the universe ends. So it’ll be tough to get him to stick around for an entire season.
THE VERY TALL MAN THAT MIGHT BE TWO OR THREE KIDS IN AN OVERCOAT
Your gut says go with him. He’s very tall, after all, and tall people tend to command respect.
But there’s something else about him that doesn’t seem right. You ask him his name. “Mister…” he says, looking around, then suddenly, “Tallman.” You think you hear his midsection complaining about how heavy he is. It’s all very suspicious.
Who’s the team everyone wants to emulate these days? The penguins. You know who’s sure to follow their model? An actual penguin. Hell, they took it from him!
He’ll have to stand on a box to see the play, of course, and he’ll probably never get along with Fin. But such is the cost of winning.
THE GUY WHO SORT OF LOOKS LIKE ALAIN VIGNEAULT, BUT WITH WORSE HAIR
He’s got NHL experience.
But seriously, Jack Capuano, if you can’t manage your hair better than that, I don’t want you managing my favourite hockey team.
THE TIME-TRAVELLING TEENAGER
The fans coach entirely in hindsight. Why can’t the coach? Get a guy, say, a Marty McFly type, who has access to a time machine and a sports almanac from the future. He’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Plus he’s got moxie and gumption and he once kissed his own mom. That takes commitment.
The downside, of course, is if you call him chicken, he’ll do just about anything you want. If Dale Weise figures this out, he’ll exploit Coach McFly’s fatal character flaw to get on the first-unit powerplay.
THE DARK KNIGHT
You want innovation? This guy’s got it. Plus he’s Batman, which is a positive.
The downside, of course, is that trouble tends to follow him. Also he’s never been very good with the media.
THE BELOVED SINGING SPACE COMMANDER
Is there anything he can’t do? Of course he can do this. He’s Chris freaking Hadfield.
There is no downside. Hadfield for coach.Tags: Questionable Comedic Content