Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Definitions, Replace The KB | Tags: #replacethekb, alain vigneault, canucks, coach vee, NHL, vancouver
**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**By Josh Hall
It’s literally every night the Canucks play a game that Canucks fans are baffled by a decision that Head Coach Alain Vigneault makes. Particularly on an evening the Canucks are trailing their opponent, one can count on at least one absurd juggling of the lines. Sometimes this works out and AV looks like a genius. The most recent example is Jannik Hansen playing on the first line with the twins. Hansen has scored four goals since joining the Sedins mid-road trip two weeks ago, but does that really mean anything?
Does Alain Vigneault (gawd I hate typing his name) really deserve any credit whatsoever? Of course we can’t forget he just led the team to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1994. But what really has Coach Vee done to make this team better? What has he had to do? Think about it; he stands on the bench behind back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winners, the reigning Selke winner and he has the Jennings Trophy champs to count on in net. Trust me folks, the answer to this is easier than when a doctor asks you, “What do you see?” in a Rorschach image.
It’s widely agreed upon that despite the Canucks not actually winning anything this past June, they are still suffering from what fans call a hangover. Patrick Kane knows what those are too. So the Canucks are dealing with injuries brought upon from the extra long playoff run and overall fatigue from just not having as long a summer break as usual. Alain Vigneault can’t really do anything about it. This slow start we have seen as fans was inevitable. But wait, I just said AV couldn’t really do anything about it…and he did. He had Luongo play only 4 of the first 7 games. He let Kesler return when he shouldn’t have. He’s demoted Cody Hodgson from the 2nd, to the 3rd and to the 4th line…in one game. He should have left well enough alone and kept his fingers off the dreaded panic button because the ways the lines started (the way they ended in June) are the ways already been proven to have chemistry.
Burr has been tried with Kes before and yeah, they bring lots of grit. The 2nd line isn’t supposed to be grit; it’s supposed to be scoring and just because Burrows is a 30 goal scorer along Kes, a 40 goal scorer, doesn’t mean they will necessarily score in tandem. Hansen is not a 1st line guy and I don’t care how many goals he’s scored, Burrows is a proven commodity, not to mention triplet on that unit.
Let’s take a look back. Alain Vigneault arrived in Vancouver in 2006/07 and he was known for coaching a defensive style. Many questioned his ability and willingness to make this team one which scores on a regular basis. The Canucks had the tools in the Sedins, Kesler and Burrows who had yet to break out but were ready to. Vigneault was going to hinder that but thankfully Mike Gillis came along just one year later to ensure that didn’t happen. The Canucks missed the playoffs that first season with Gillis but the 4th leading scorer on the team was Taylor Pyatt, so it wasn’t exactly a collection of career years for anyone.
Mike Gillis has been the true mastermind and AV has taken all the credit because he’s the one we all see behind the bench. Gillis has brought in great players consistently, the first being Mats Sundin. You can credit him for getting the twins and Kesler over the hump. Love him or hate him, Christian Ehrhoff is a damn good NHL defenseman and MG acquired him. Gillis also signed Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. Hamhuis has been a solid addition and with Ballard, well it’s been another case of wrong decisions by AV. The entire fiasco during the playoffs putting Aaron Rome in over Keith Ballard was just a travesty if you ask me. On top of all that, he acquired arguably the two best trade deadline pickups in franchise history in Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre. Without them, a lot of offense and grit would have been nowhere to be found in the playoffs. Again, what did AV have to do? These players are already talented. Oh but AV has weaved his little web around our minds and we’ve taken the bait.
I’ll say it again; Alain Vigneault has had to do nothing more than LET the players he has play like they know how. The Sedins don’t need to do drills so they can improve their game; they do drills to stay fit and fresh. They could do that with any coach, which is the thing here; any coach could win with this team. The only reason Gillis doesn’t hire someone else is because he knows exactly what I just told you. Alain has us all under this illusion that he’s some Jack Adams worthy coach, when really the only award he deserves is for having to do jack squat.
According to an article posted on liveflashscore.com that you can read here, Gillis spent parts of 4 years playing with one Craig Mactavish in one city called Boston for one team called the Bruins. He even represented him as a player agent in the 90′s. Funny right?
The talk of the town is what’s going to happen with this team by the end of the season and if I have to make one bold prediction with the way things are going, it’s that we’ll have a guy who once pulled a tongue out of an opposing mascot’s mouth, pulling the strings here in Vancity.
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