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

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.

  • BrudnySeaby

    Thanks to AV for some great hockey years here in Vancouver, including 2 President’s Trophies, division titles and a great run to game 7 of the SCF. Too bad it didn’t happen that time.

  • KleptoKlown

    I remember reading something about Larry Robinson not wanting another head coaching gig. He would be a great choice, even if they can pry him away from SJ to be an assistant…or whatever role he wanted.

    It’s going to be an interesting off season in Canuckland.

  • billm

    Brown should have been fired the second he cooked up a 4 forward PP with Daniel on the point!

    Also, if he had any influence on not having Garrison on the point for the 1st unit PP, well….

  • billm

    The decision to fire Vigneault is both arguable and debatable but the appearance that Tony Gallagher, Ben Kuzma, Jason Botchford and The Vancouver Province are now making the management decisions for the Vancouver Canucks is, in my opinion, extremely disturbing and distasteful. arguments can be made on both sides of this issue but the perception that a Vancouver Province inspired popularity contest cost the winningest coach in franchise history his job is very bad optics.

    • billm

      Meh, that is always going to be the case when a coach or GM is fired. In every hockey market everywhere, there is always going to be some sports writer(s) calling for the head of the coach or GM. I bet the Detroit press was probably calling for Babcock’s head back when they were sitting outside the playoff picture.

      So When it inevitably happens, as it always will, some of the media gets to crow a bit about being right.

      The flip side is you can’t not make a move in the fear it has bad optics such as this.

    • Bucknuck

      You might have a point.

      Speaking as an Oiler fan living on Vancouver Island (and so I follow the Canucks a bit by default), I would have to say that this was a poor move. In Edmonton we watched coach after coach get fired, but nothing changed because the GM was the problem.

      I believe you have a similar issue in Vancouver.

      Vancouver is really hard to score against, and I believe that is the coaches primary job. Being able to score relies more on personnel on the ice, and that is the GM’s job. Secondary scoring has been a problem for Vancouver for two years, and nothing has been done about it.

      I think you will see a significant dip in regular season performance with AV out of the picture.

      • BrudnySeaby

        The GM is the bigger problem, no doubt. He has a pretty middling transaction record. But he’s tight with the owner so of course he’s going to keep the job longer than he deserves.

      • Bucknuck

        Well, I don;t mind if the Canucks do worse in the regular season. Sick and tired of watching those clowns make the play offs only to play like a bunch of whinos. The saying is, ” if you’re not able to dance, than don’t even bother going tot he damn prom!”

  • BrudnySeaby

    Okay Gillis, well done (finally!). Now, Aquilini, do your job and fire Gillis. Try to get the assistant GM from the Pens for the job. Next, try to get Mike Babcock once the Red Wings are done in the play-offs. Then things would start to look up as Jason Botterill would be a great and experienced addition to our front office. Mike Babcock needs no words.

    Alas, one can dream right!?

  • Bucknuck

    What took so long?! This team cannot bear down when it needs to. Cannot adjust. Cannot control play on the boards or in front of the net. In my opinion, Gillis has one more year before he gets the gate. Schneider needs to wake up and earn the #1 job. Lastly, this team is not that young anymore. Look for some moves this off season.