“We Are All Canucks”
Over time, the marketing department may have gone in different directions, but at the end of the day, the team still wants us to feel that we are the seventh man on the ice.
One game into the 2012 NHL Playoffs and the most important man on the team may not score a single point, lay a bone crunching hit or take a senseless penalty, heck, he won’t even see a lick of ice time during the playoff run.
With five Northwest Division titles in six years, including the past four banners, along with back to back Presidents’ Trophies, (the second of which came on the final day of the 2011-12 season), “AV” has proved that he can lead the club to success during the regular season.
Unfortunately, nobody really cares what happens in the regular season when it comes to hockey history.
While the headliners remain the same from last season, the supporting cast was tinkered with throughout the off-season and up until the 2012 trade deadline. With a desire to find more grit and size, the Canucks were willing to part with finesse, feeling that a lengthy playoff run would need a little more muscle than flash.
Add in a much needed goalie controversy to keep fans interested in the team, Vigneault and his staff found a way to successfully place all of the pieces of the puzzle together to finish the season with a league leading 111 points.
“I don’t think our group feels pressure, we embrace the opportunity to compete for the big prize,” he said this week. “Again this year we have taken the steps to make sure we are ready.
We finished first in the NHL, that’s pretty good.
From there the next step is to win this round and we know we are going to face a really strong opponent that has been battle-tested — they had to fight right to the end to get into the playoffs.
They are a really hard-working team and we are going to be ready for it.”
After back to back losses in the second round to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks flung the monkey clear across the ice last year and returned to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1994.
Though some felt that the season was a failure after the club dropped game seven of the final series, many others felt that the building blocks were set firmly in place for a lengthy playoff run this season.
As the Canucks all time winning coach with a 287-155-50 record, Alain Vigneault has brought the team more success in his six year tenure than any coach prior to 2006.
Unfortunately for Vigneault, the fans in Vancouver will accept nothing less than to have hockey’s holy grail parade down Robson Street in June, and if not, those same fans may be unfairly calling for management to hand AV a pink slip this summer.
Alain Vigneault Profile:
Position: Head Coach
Birthdate: May 14, 1961
Birthplace: Quebec City, Quebec
Coaching Career: 10yrs (4 with Montreal, 6 with Vancouver)
2011-2012 Stat Line
Canucks Record: Games = 82, Wins = 51, Losses = 22, OT Losses = 9, Points = 111