Mar 13, 2013, 12:27 PM EDT
The Vancouver Canucks may have snapped a four-game losing streak last night in Columbus, but a 2-1 shootout win over the Blue Jackets wasn’t enough to stop the presses on a column by The Province’s Tony Gallagher suggesting head coach Alain Vigneault should be fired if the team doesn’t start playing up to its abilities.
No matter how you slice it, trying to absolve the coaching staff entirely in this collapse becomes an exercise in personal public relations for Alain Vigneault and his staff.
There are simply too many good hockey players playing too poorly to put all the blame on the skaters.
Two or three guys may be stroking it or not putting forth the effort they should during this time of swoon, but really, are we to believe they all start almost every game as though they’ve just arrived at the beach on a sunny afternoon?
Granted, this is far from the first time Gallagher has unloaded on the coach (see here and here). If it were up to the longtime columnist (who, by the way, was instrumental in the hiring of current general manager Mike Gillis) Vigneault probably wouldn’t have received a two-year contract extension after the Canucks fell to the Kings in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
And to be fair to Vigneault, the absence of former Selke Trophy-winning center Ryan Kesler from all but seven of the Canucks’ 25 games hasn’t helped. Another key player, defenseman Kevin Bieksa, is currently out with a groin injury.
But despite what Vigneault said Monday — “We’re at the midpoint of the season and, in my opinion, we’re exactly where I thought we would be” — the Canucks have been underachieving. The two-time defending Presidents’ Trophy winners have a goal-differential of zero; their once-dangerous power play hasn’t scored in nine games; and their penalty killing hasn’t been much better.
In fact, almost every Canucks team statistic screams mediocrity, if not worse.
And that, it has to be noted, has been done while playing in the Northwest Division, which does not boast a single team with a positive goal differential.
Is it all on the coach? It never is.
But some of it is.
Jun 19, 2013, 12:05 AM EDT
It’s the first NHL game on NBCSN to surpass 4 million viewers.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
They beat the Syracuse Crunch in six games.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
“It’s going to be a strong, solid franchise just like Winnipeg is now.”
Jun 18, 2013, 9:27 PM EDT
Things are getting dramatic in Philadelphia.
Jun 18, 2013, 8:38 PM EDT
His annual cap hit is a hefty $7,727,273.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT
Coburn might be heading the other way.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:10 PM EDT
He also loves 2013 NHL Draft prospect Darnell Nurse.
Jun 18, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
The coach already had him picked as Plan B if Marian Hossa couldn’t play.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Blackhawks coach knows his team has to improve in those areas.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Stemming from his arrest in 2011.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:47 PM EDT
“I’ve got a nice little scratch mark on my forehead from the claw marks.”
Jun 18, 2013, 4:42 PM EDT
23-year-old defenseman had six goals in the playoffs.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:13 PM EDT
26-year-old made his NHL debut last season.
Jun 18, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT
But will they stay?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT
Could an NHL team one day call it home?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:07 PM EDT
As per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
He’s still “day-to-day” with his injury.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:18 PM EDT
He’s been given permission to seek employment elsewhere.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
“We don’t care about calling certain guys superstars on our team,” said the coach.
Jun 18, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT
Hey, he did take two weeks off.
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