Gillis: "The Message Has to Change and We Have to be Better"

Thomas Drance
May 22 2013 06:05PM

Photo via wikimedia commons.

The Alain Vigneault era in Vancouver has been marked by a sparkling, consistent record of regular season success, tactical innovation and, ultimately, playoff failure. It was those playoff failures, magnified by the club's 1-8 postseason record (including no victories at home) that ultimately caught up to the controversial bench boss.

On Wednesday afternoon an agitated Mike Gillis met the media to address the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault and two associate coaches Newell Brown and Rick Bowness. Gillis personally thanked the coaches "for their dedication, commitment and the amount of hard work they put in" during their run with the Canucks. But at the end of the day, "There comes a point in time where the message has to change and we have to be better," and Wednesday was that long anticipated day of reckoning. 

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Report: Canucks Fire Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown

Thomas Drance
May 22 2013 01:45PM

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.

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Roll the Dice on Ryan Kesler, but Buy Insurance

Thomas Drance
May 22 2013 01:11PM

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On the list of "reasons the Vancouver Canucks were swept in the first round by San Jose," the performance of Ryan Kesler probably doesn't show up in the top-five for most people. It does for me. While Kesler had a dynamite 30 minutes in the second game of the series, an impressive display no doubt, it mostly served to disguise "the beast's" larger issues on those rare occassions when he was in the lineup in 2013...

The fact of the matter is that in limited appearances, Kesler was unable to drive play this past season in the fashion to which we've become accustomed. That was true in the regular season and was especially clear during Vancouver's short stint in the playoffs, as the Canucks controlled only 25% of the scoring chances with Ryan Kesler on the ice at even-strength against San Jose. In other words, Kesler fared worse by the chance data than even Derek Roy (40%) who didn't show up.

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The Reverse Cody Hodgson: Three Young Forwards the Canucks Should Target

Thomas Drance
May 22 2013 08:34AM

Perhaps the Canucks should pursue Nino Niederreiter this summer.
Image via wikimedia commons.

Looking over the data - as I did yesterday - I remain unconvinced that the Sedin twins are in any sort of "rapid decline" as a result of advancing age. But that shouldn't obscure the fact that Vancouver's club is getting long in the tooth, and due respect to the likes of Zack Kassian, Brendan Gaunce and Nicklas Jensen, the organization don't appear to have any slam dunk top-line caliber prospects in the pipeline. 

With the salary cap falling, it's ovious that the Canucks roster needs to get cheaper. Mike Gillis has been explicit about the teams need to get bigger and tougher as well. While Jeff Angus is dead right  that the Canucks should forget about working on any one particular area and just focus on getting better more generally, I tend to think that if the Canucks hope to avoid the fate that befell the Calgary Flames over the past half decade, it's imperative that they find a way to get younger.

Trading for former first round picks is demonstrably a risky game, but it's a risky game the Canucks should be willing to try their hand at this summer. Here's a list of three young forwards, with top-ten pick pedigree who, for whatever reason, appear to have fallen out of favour within their organizations. These players won't come free, or even cheap, but could help the Canucks jump-start a youth movement going forward.

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McKenzie: "I expect the Vancouver Canucks to make a Coaching Change"

Thomas Drance
May 21 2013 01:30PM

Should he stay or should he go now?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In the Vancouver sports market, Canucks fans have been waiting impatiently for several weeks to hear more about the fate of controversial head coach Alain Vigneault. Since the club's inglorious first round ouster earlier this month, Vigneault hasn't addressed the media - the second year in a row in which he's ducked the press following a first round exit - and General manager Mike Gillis has been quiet as well, aside from an e-mail promising change that he sent to season ticket holders late last week.

For what it's worth, TSN analyst and the godfather of hockey coverage Bob McKenzie appeared on the Scotty and Company morning show on the Team 1040 today. McKenzie quite plainly said that he "expects the Vancouver Canucks to make a coaching change," and then added that he "can't imagine [Vigneault's situation] dragging on much longer than it has."

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