May 22 2013 01:45PM
Source says Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Browne have been fired by Vancouver Canucks.— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) May 22, 2013
Pretty much every hockey pundit went on the record over the past forty-eight hours and said that changes behind the bench in Vancouver were imminent. It looks like they were right, as reports are surfacing out of Quebec that long time Vancouver bench boss Alain Vigneault, and his two associate coaches Rick Bowness and Newell Brown have been axed.
Louis Jean's report has now been confirmed by a variety of sources and now by the team itself.
Read past the jump.
Alain Vigneault is the winningest coach in franchise history, and a stellar bench boss - in my estimation - who will presumably be hired by another NHL franchise in short order. Vigneault's run of success in Vancouver came to a controversial end over the past two seasons, as the coach dealt with significant criticism for a supposed inability to make in-series adjustments during the postseason. I detailed at length what I think are his strengths as a bench boss, and his weaknesses earlier this year.
Rick Bowness and Alain Vigneault have worked together forever, with Bowness generally being responsible for running the defence. It's not a surprise that he's been axed alongside Vigneault, and I'd expect him to surface along with Vigneault whenever Vigneault is tapped for another head coaching position (and I wouldn't be surprised if that happened later this week).
That Newell Brown has been shown the door alongside Bowness and Vigneault is a mild surprise. Hired from Anaheim before the 2010-11 season, Newell Brown ran the power-play and had a significant degree of success in his first two years. That changed this season as Vancouver's power-play shot rate and conversion rate cratered, finishing the season among the bottom ten teams in the league. Despite the power-plays struggles this past season, Newell's track record was relatively solid and I thought there was a chance that he'd remain on the staff even if the other two coaches got the pink slip. Apparently not.
Attention now turns to who will succeed Vigneault as Vancouver's head-coach. I expect we'll cover the team's search for a new head coach ad nauseum over the coming week.