At appears the front office of the Vancouver Canucks have had enough with the current coaching staff by firing head coach Alain Vigneault and his assistants Rick Bowness and Newell Brown according to various media sources via Pro Hockey Talk.
Vigneault has been behind the bench of the Canucks for seven seasons, but after two straight first round exits changes had to be made. During his tenure featured six division titles and two Presidents Trophies, but they have advanced past the second round once when they lost the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to Boston despite carrying a 3-2 series lead before losing the final two games. He has the most wins in franchise history with 313 wins.
“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.”
It does appear that Gillis’ job is safe. Gillis met with ownership (Canucks Sports & Entertainment) before meeting with the three to relieve them of their duties. Vigneault has two years remaining on his contract. With the other assistants on staff such as video coach Daryl Williams and Rolan Melanson are safe for right now, and it will be up to the new coach to determine if they will retain them.
In a letter to season ticket holders last week, Gillis did hint as roster and personnel changes were on the horizon. Here’s a portion of his letter:
“Everyone in our organization from our owners, management, coaches, players and staff expected more from this season – and we know you did as well. Losing in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two years is unacceptable to each of us. This off-season will lead to difficult decisions including roster adjustments and changes in personnel. Though I believe the condensed schedule made adjustments challenging and does not necessarily reflect the full potential of our on-ice group, the fact remains that we’re going to have to reinvent ourselves and do things differently in order to be successful.”
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.