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Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown

May 22, 2013, 3:48 PM EDT

Alain Vigneault Getty Images

We asked yesterday about the fate of Alain Vigneault, and found out today — the Vancouver Canucks have dismissed Vigneault, along with assistants Rick Bowness and Newell Brown.

“Alain, Rick and Newell worked tirelessly to lead this team to great on-ice success,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said in a statement. “I am personally grateful to each of them and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and the city of Vancouver and wish them continued success in future.”

TVA’s Louis Jean reports Gillis met with ownership before breaking the news to the three.

The move marks a massive changing of the guard in Vancouver, as nearly the entire coaching staff has been terminated. Jean reports both assistant coach (video) Daryl Williams and goaltending coach Roland Melanson “are safe for now,” and that it will be up to the new coaching staff to decide if they’re retained.

Vigneault was the 16th head coach in Canucks history and the most successful in franchise history.

Since taking over in June 2006, he led the Canucks to two Presidents’ Trophies, a Stanley Cup finals appearance, multiple Northwest Division titles and six postseason berths.

Vigneault may be the winningest coach in Canucks history — with 313 regular season victories — and he may have taken Vancouver to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals; however, two straight first-round playoff exits were, in the words of Canucks GM Mike Gillis, “unacceptable.”

Should be noted that Vigneault has two years remaining on his current coaching contract, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

As for Vigneault’s assistants…

Bowness joined the team the same season as Vigneault — 2006-07 — and was primarily responsible for running the team’s defense.

Brown joined the team in 2010 after five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks. He was in charge of in Vancouver’s beleaguered power-play, one that finished 22nd in the NHL this year with a 15.9 percent success rate.

  1. kitshky - May 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Had to happen …but still kinda sad.

  2. ron05342 - May 22, 2013 at 3:55 PM


  3. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 22, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Not a big surprise! Is Vigneault heading to Quebec City? Bowness played his junior hockey for the Quebec Remparts, same team now owned by Patrick Roy. I think both these guys would be a good fit there especially with Roy getting closer to Colorado.

  4. bcsteele - May 22, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Gillis needs to go as well if they’re hoping for a true reset…he alone should be held responsible for the Luongo mess and the fact that his team has no true toughness to support the skill players.

  5. 19to77 - May 22, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    He wasn’t the core of the problem. Gillis and his terrible team-building philosophy are. More accountability top-down is what they need. But the coach is always the fall guy before failure catches up to the GM.

    • stakex - May 22, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      Yup. Gillis should be the one to go… but he gets to take the heat off himself by blaming the coach. That can only happen so many times though.

      • imleftcoast - May 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        Once, and it’s the reason he kept Vigneault when he joined the team.

  6. dumbassgreg - May 22, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    feel lucky for vigneault get as far away from gillis as possible. wonder what happens when gillis and bettman in same room. both always think they are smartest guy in any room. if i was coch like eakins this is last job i want. canucks window is shut given gillis drafting and trading they could in trouble for years.

    • windmiller4 - May 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      And I feel lucky I know how to put together coherent sentences..

  7. steverolley - May 22, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    After two years of watching this team play some boring hockey I have to say I’m excited for change.

    Basically everyone on this team has a no movement clause so really the only change that you can make is the coach. Sucks to be AV but he’ll get another job.

    Gillis this is your mess…. I mean team. You’ve had it pretty easy in your time in Vancouver and now its time you earn your arrogant attitude.

  8. jernster21 - May 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Lindy Ruff on line 1.

  9. hallsy86 - May 22, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Hopefully his mom still has some room in her basement.

  10. shoobiedoobin - May 22, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    This is hilarious. If any coach in the league had it coming, it was this whiny poor sport douche bag. Your team is a reflection of your leadership, and almost always your coach. Vigneault’s attitude, that is, do any underhanded thing to win, whine when you don’t, blame everyone but yourself, was extremely evident in their style of play. More diving than any team I’ve ever seen in 30+ years of watching hockey, biting, crying, hiding from fights, and in general just a scumbag style of play.

    And firing the assistants? How about Gillis take a look in the mirror? Lay that axe down on yourself there bud. You’re just as much of a sniveling little weasel as your coach was. Ownership created this god awful culture, they need to fix it.

    • shoobiedoobin - May 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Nucks homers can thumbs down me all they want but I ain’t wrong. The hockey worlds hates you for a reason.

      • imleftcoast - May 22, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Because of Ron McLean, Hockey Night in Canada and media that doesn’t watch any games outside the EST as we found out in some of the voting this year.

    • ntvd7 - May 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM


      If I headed up a team that dived and cried as much as they do, I’d hold them accountable…

      They’re the only team in the entire league that I root against

    • loinstache - May 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      As you should be able to tell from the comments of these articles, there are very few canuck supports on these boards…. maybe the down votes are for coming across as a sensationalist asshole?

      • jimthebear - May 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        They are too busy rioting and trashing the city to post on a blog..

      • shoobiedoobin - May 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Quantity of comments sure ain’t directly proportionate to number of votes. Lots of potential lurkers.

        I was tempted to be subtle, maybe make a comment about how this couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but why dance around it? What I said is exactly the truth. Without googling, does anyone remember how much of a dickhat this guy was when he played? Think Matt Cooke, only in a day and age when much was lost in time without the microscope of the internet honing in on him.

    • ray2013 - May 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      If you’re getting rid of AV then it would make sense to give the new coach the chance to bring in his own assistants. It’s not like they had the best PP or the defence this year anyways. I agree with the rest.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 22, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      You should watch more Canadiens games if you need to see more diving

  11. jimthebear - May 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    The twin sisters will forever be coach killers.. They are pretty enough to take to the prom, but you’ll never get the dress off them at the afterparty.. I was wondering where Rick Bowness went after being dismissed by the Bruins years ago…

  12. gbar22 - May 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    In my opinion the GM is as much responsible for this teams failures this season and he’ll escape the ax which is really a travesty. He was asking for distractions and trouble when he decided to keep both luongo and Schneider going into the season and then to not move him at the deadline was even more of a joke. This team was doomed to fail from the start.

  13. gbar22 - May 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I’d also like to add that this GM gillis built nothing. Vancouver was already a team on the rise when he inherited them and has done nothing since to build upon that already good core.

  14. chicagobtech - May 22, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Vancouver has two straight one-and-done postseasons, coaches are fired.
    Chicago has two straight one-and-done postseasons, coaches are not fired.
    Behold the Power of the Cup.

    • imleftcoast - May 22, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Vigneault was a Patrick Sharp shot in OT away from being fired in 2011. Canucks would have blown a 3-0 lead to the Blackhawks.

  15. 8man - May 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    May be ironic. Fired for not getting them to next level. And then’ll we’ll see they were where they were because of him. I’m betting even money the next guy doesn’t eclipse Vigneault’s win percentage next year.

    I bet he gets hired as an NHL head coach again before August.

    • shoobiedoobin - May 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      The next guy isn’t inheriting a team on the upswing, he’s taking over a team that Mike Gillis has done nothing with and one that Vigneault hasn’t left much of a positive mark on. He’s starting pretty obviously behind the 8 ball even if they are still a good team.

      And coach recycling happens, it’s not indicative of talent, it says more about the stubborn nature of GMs.

      Vnacouver ownership went from one overrated GM to another. Maybe try bringing in someone proven who isn’t an overrated car salesman.

  16. hsnepsts - May 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Is it too much to ask for a little bit of perspective here? The nucks are not in great shape for the future, we all know that. But we’ve had a good run.

    I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who actually watches all the games, and I’ve seen a lot of wins and a lot of great hockey over the last 7 years. That of course includes 12 playoff rounds, but unforetunately no cups.

    This team has hit a wall. I do think Gillis needs to take his lumps for his mistakes: the Luongo situation, Ballard and Booth, choosing Raymond over Grabner, and the short-termism of the Roy trade. Actually, that’s quite a few mistakes…

    • ray2013 - May 23, 2013 at 3:57 AM

      I think Raymond has been a shadow of himself since fracturing his spine so it’s tough to make a call on keeping him, but the rest is pretty accurate.

  17. sergeikremlin - May 22, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Lol at everyone signing AV’s praises and bashing Gillis now. AV had a stacked lineup and the team didn’t show up at all, two years in a row. Either he didn’t get them ready, or they tuned him out. Either way it was brutal, and embarrassing for the organization. 1 for 9 the last two playoffs, as the #1 seed and #3 seed. Gillis made mistakes too, and people just don’t like him in general, but everyone acting like AV should still be there is a joke.

    • eggserino - May 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      I gotta say, this season is a weird one. Fire a coach after not having a full training camp/ season? There’s something else going on there. Gillis met with the owners and got his ass handed to him. He had to do something. Mark my words. If the Canucks exit in the first round next year, Gillis is GONZO!

      The Blues haven’t made it out of the first round either of the last two years. Many hockey “experts” were picking them to go to the finals this year. The Rangers are nearly done. They were another of the “experts” darlings. Montreal was picked to be a lottery team. My point is that the year is a bad one for judging coaching quality. It’s an anomalie. Coaches are relying on players to show up and get it done a lot more this year than others.

      As well, It’s not like Vigneault had it exactly easy, what with the goaltending situation and a swiss cheese defense. Who the hell trades for David Booth?! That guy is the Rock’em Sock’em robot that always loses.

  18. vanfoodman - May 23, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    AV wins the cup before Gillis!

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