The Pros and Cons of Alain Vigneault

Thomas Drance
March 11 2013 05:42PM

Alain Vigneault racks up wins and criticism in Vancouver.
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty

Alain Vigneault has been under fire in the Vancouver market since, well, for as long as I can remember anyway. It's clear that he rubs media and many fans the wrong way, and ultimately his record is judged through the same prism with which we view other quality regular season coaches in other sports who've failed to win a championship (Andy Reid, Jerry Sloan, etc.). The bottom line is that the Canucks have fallen short of the ultimate goal with Alain Vigneault at the helm, and to many that outweights all of the positives of his tenure.

To top it off, Alain Vigneault is having a rough week. The Canucks have relinquished their lead in the Northwest Division following a series of no-shows against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild. The power-play is a mess, the team isn't scoring enough and auspicious possession numbers aside - the effort put forth by Vigneault's players has seemed inconsistent at best this season. As such Alain Vigneault's seat is heating up like Vesuvius. So I figure, what the hell, this is as good a time as any to look at his track record and evaluate what he brings to the table and what he removes from it.

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Should the Canucks put in a claim on BC Born defenseman Steve Montador?

Thomas Drance
March 11 2013 01:06PM

Steve Montador battles Chris Higgins. Future teammates?

The Chicago Blackhawks have placed defenseman Steve Montador on waivers today, and the Canucks should probably consider claiming him. It isn't a slam-dunk or anything, Montador has dealt with a variety of concussion issues over the past couple of years, is somewhat overpaid for a third-pairing defenseman, and has two years remaining on his deal after this season (with a 2.75 million dollar cap-hit). But he's a right-side defenseman and a quality possession player who can be had for free on the waiver wire. That sounds like something the Canucks could use.

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Canucks re-assign Jordan Schroeder to Chicago, Replace him with Andrew Ebbett

Thomas Drance
March 11 2013 11:15AM

Jordan Schroeder got pushed around the past few games. As a result finds himself returned to Chicago.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

It was only a month that we were talking about whether or not Ryan Kesler might be bumped over to play the right-wing alongside Jordan Schroeder upon his return from his first injury. That's how impressed we were by the Canucks rookie centreman. But that seems like ages ago as Jordan Schroeder found himself demoted to the fourth line, called out by Alain Vigneault this past weekend, and was then put in the spin cycle by Minnesota rookie Charlie Coyle in Sunday's ugly loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Add it all up and Jordan Schroeder has been sent back to Chicago to rejoin the Wolves. He'll be replaced by diminutive veteran centreman Andrew Ebbett, who started the NHL season off slowly but has been lighting it up in the AHL of late per Wolves play-by-play guy Jason Shaver:

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Canucks Relinquish Northwest Division Lead After Ugly Loss in Minny

Thomas Drance
March 10 2013 11:26PM

I can't possibly imagine a photo that better sums up Sunday's game.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

On Sunday the Canucks rolled into Minnesota on the heels of three straight losses, to play for first place in the Northwest Division. They had every incentive to show up, tighten up their game defensively and maintain their Northwest Division supremacy. Also they were facing a team that isn't really all that good and was coming off of an emotional game in Nashville the night before. Against a tired, inferior opponent, the no-show the Canucks put in on Sunday is pretty much inexcusable.

It started off badly for the Canucks, as Zach Parise beat Cory Schneider with a relative softy just twenty-four seconds in. It only got worse from there as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Canucks in possession, chances and on the scoreboard too. It's true that the Canucks have a "stinker at Xcel" quota that needed filling this season, but that's an easy excuse that obscures a pretty pathetic effort...

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Game #24 Preview: Canucks @ Wild

Thomas Drance
March 10 2013 03:08PM

Charlie Coyle - about to get stoned by Cory Schneider (who starts tonight).

With realignment now approved by the NHLPA, the Canucks have only two more games left against the Minnesota Wild during the "Wild v. Canucks forced rivalry" era. And thank goodness. The Wild this season are improved over a year ago and legitimately have an opportunity to takeover first place in the Northwest Division with a victory over the Canucks on Sunday (though I still don't buy that they're even a playoff team). But they still play a boring style of hockey and score as effectively as your average 15 year old male. 

This contest will have some standings implications so perhaps that'll add some fire to it. More likely we'll see Alain Vigneault and the Canucks play down to their opponent on the road, in an effort to win the game by a single goal. Yep.

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