Dead Man Coaching

Dead man coaching

It’s surely only a matter of time.

Sure, the Canucks have managed to string a couple of wins together, but for the fervent miltitude of Canucks fans who seem content only in complaining, Alain Vigneault has got to go. For this angry mob of judge, jury and would-be executioners, Alain Vigneault is the one thing holding this team back from competing for the Cup. I guess I forgot that he played the right side on defense. The fact he hasn’t inserted himself in the line-up is just another example of his poor personnel decisions, to go with his poor record on strategic innovation and a poor in-game tactics.

For these heinous crimes against humanity inanity, he sits on death row, waiting for the inevitable day of reckoning. It doesn’t help that any time the chants to #fireAV start up, Vigneault can be heard muttering, "Let them eat throat lozenges."

So while Vigneault may have won himself a short reprieve, you can be sure that a full pardon from the Governor won’t be coming any time soon. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just picture Tony Gallagher with an eye patch.

A couple of days ago, CanucksArmy’s own prison warden, Thomas Drance tried to lay out a rational, logical analysis of the pros and cons of Alain Vigneault’s time with the Canucks. I’m not sure that did much to sway the angry mob calling for Vigneault’s head on a platter. In many respects, this situation is not all that different from the one Bruce Boudreau found himself in while coaching Washington the last couple of years.

It’s a rather simple formula: high expectations plus chronic under-performance equals Capital punishment:

Playing for Dale Hunter is a fate worse than death

As usual it is the innocent (fans) that suffer the most.

The fans in Vancouver, however, are not quite so innocent. For many of them, grass is always greener on the other side. And in this case, it’s not just the grass, but it’s the Green Mile that they want to see Vigneault walk. Personally, I’m more concerned with the Magnificent Mile because this year, it leads to the Cup again:

The hardest mile

By the way, if you haven’t heard, the Blackhawks single-handedly saved hockey:

Saved by the...what the hell? 

But seriously, does anybody actually still buy Sports Illustrated for the written content? Apparently the answer is "no":

Does anybody still read Sports Illustrated?

Lets get back to the issue at hand: Alain Vigneault’s job security.

You’ll find lots of Canucks’ fans pointing out statistical anomalies like almost half of Stanley Cup winning coaches have been with their teams for two years or less, and that no coach with more than four years tenure has ever won the Cup. What they won’t mention, or probably don’t even realize, is that there have been many more team-years coached by coaches in their 2-3 years than team-years coached by coaches with longer tenures. So it’s not really an anomaly after all. I haven’t done the math, but I’d be willing to bet that the percentages probably correlate pretty well.

A couple of years ago, Puck Daddy took a look at coaching tenures in the NHL and concluded that five years was the mark of longevity. So, since so few coaches make it past five years, it stands to reason that it is way less likely for a coach with a long tenure to win the Cup. Right?

Interestingly enough, according to this chart from The Economist, it turns out that popes have a similar threshold in longevity:

Sometimes a  

That, however, is where the similarity ends. While most NHL coaches’ days are numbered from the start, the only thing numbered about popes, is their names: 

Now that's job security

So all that said, when Vigneault finally gets called to the GMs office for a conversation, at least he knows he can have another chance with a different team. When the Pope gets the call from his GM, it’s usually a lot more serious. 


  • Brent

    well I am on Team AV. I think he’s great. Intelligent,pragmatic, innovative ,and last but not least, easy on the eyes.(yes, I know). All these “would be” Coach critics, the guys driving this ridiculous premise that Coach V is incompetent,should take a break from the Basement, and get some fresh Air. It does wonders for the Cobwebs. GO CANUCKS!

  • Brent

    Also a ‘Team AV’ guy. Though I would like to see AV fired and then lead another team through a ridiculous tear possibly culminating in a Finals appearance a la Bruce Boudreau, just for the schadenfreude and the hope that Tony Gallagher will never be taken seriously again.

  • Fred-65

    AV has done well for Vcr. He certainly got more out the Sedins than Crawford ever did and when you think about it Crawford also had the WCE line buzzing.

    He’s introduced a system that has been mimicked by others coaches/teams and IMO gotten the max out of a roster that has never been complete for a big run.

    Now we have Gillis hanging back for a trade for the Virgin Mary for Luongo when AV should have had another top end forward to make a big push.

    Gillis IMO is certainly a smart well spoken guy who lulls people into thinking that equals success, well so far the prize eludes him and he has to take responsability not kick the candown the road and dump on AV

  • Brent

    I wouldn’t blame AV, Canucks window for winning the cup is over, they had 2yrs where they could have won, but Chicago was way to talented. Boston was a good matchup but Kesler was injured so their chance of winning became slim.

    Vancouver needs to reload, they still have a strong core. At some point 1-2 years fans will be wondering when and if they should trade the Sedins.

  • JCDavies

    WOW..another media guy? drinking the ‘Kool-aid’..

    1. Of course you choose to bring up Boudreau & not Robinson/Byllsma/or Sutter & others (selection bias)

    2. You made the pt for the ‘fire AV logic’ & don’t even realize it? LOL

    Just ask yourself this ‘simple question’.
    Why aren’t there more long-tenured coaches in the NHL? Why don’t teams hang on to coaches longer? Why have so many teams been successful with coaching changes if it is SUCH a silly thing to do?

    a) Nux fans in favor of AV know much more than all other NHL teams in the past?.. OR…

    b) Fans& media have fallen in love with AV & as we know –Love is blind it IS sweet but we are trying to win a cup here!

    The fact is, almost all ultimately successful teams (cup winners) have, in the past, fired their coach before the win, when they have underperformed & not met expectations over a period of time
    To put it another way, If hanging on to a coach was more successful more teams WOULD do it..

    Truth is yr position is indefensible based on objective data & research & the only way to defends it is found in yr own subjective feelings & ideas that you cling to so passionately #love?

    The Nux by hanging on to AV are bucking the trend in a big way.& not making a Cup winner their 1st priority…

    but go ahead & don’t let the facts get in your way….

    …And they call it …”Puppy Love”

  • JCDavies

    Vigneault’s extreme zone starts are geared to regular season success, but hurt the team in the playoffs. The best players are not used to playing tough minutes enough and then have to adjust as things become different and when it counts most.

    After enough early failures, isn’t it time to maximize playoff success? Who cares what team wins the PC, really? This is why Eastern teams do so well in the Finals when really they come from the weaker side.

    They play “playoff” style hockey all year.

  • JCDavies

    Sorry, you can have SCotty Bowman behind the bench, but you swill never win the Cup as long as the Sisters are dominating ice time like they do. Dont get wrong, they are a couple of talented dudes, but not in the play offs, which are a total new season on to itself. Not unlike with Smokin Joe in San Jose.

    Soft is soft.

  • JCDavies

    If AV gets fired he’ll get hired by the Oilers, win a cup in 2-3 years and I’m going to laaauuuggghhhh!

    Then everyone will be calling for Gillis’ head.

    I need a drink.

  • billm

    I don’t see Gillis pulling the trigger on AV until either the Canucks miss the playoffs or flame out early again in the post season. With the strike and just 21 games left there is not enough time to enact much change.I think AV would be packing his bags right now if this were a regular length season.

    The other factor is once Gillis fires AV his own shot clock starts ticking. Most owners will let their GM only cycle through a couple coaches before they themselves get fired. The longer AV is there to fall on the grenade, the longer Gillis’ potential tenure lasts as well.