Remembering Alain Vigneault’s time with the Vancouver Canucks

Moments In Time

Alain Vigneault didn’t die Wednesday but a part of Vancouver Canucks franchise history did when AV was handed his walking papers by Michael D. Gillis.

As much scrutiny as I’ve given him to go with the heaps he’s received from the mainstream media, not to mention that from arm-chair Coaches and GM’s on social media, Mr. Vee deserves a lot of credit and respect for what he did here in Van-City.

He will, very possibly, go down forever as the winningest Coach this franchise has seen and one that did equal the efforts of Pat Quinn and Roger Nielson in taking his team to the Stanley Cup Final.

An all-time regular season record with the Canucks of 313-170-57 is nothing to balk at.

However, Alain Vigneault just got voted off the proverbial island and the question which may rage on for generations of Canucks fans is: Will he be remembered as a hero or a villain?


An all-time regular season record with the Canucks of 313-170-57

He should be remembered as a villain, largely counter-productive to the goal of winning a Stanley Cup for this city and the province which it belongs to.

At times, Alain Vigneault was the most consistent coach in the NHL with the only problem being that he was extremely consistent at being inconsistent.

The fact remains that AV stuck it out here with a group that remained the same for the most part and that was due to the incompetence and desire of the GM at the trade deadline to improve.

Viggy did have some shining moments such as the often referenced Bieksa-Fiddler-Gate.  It was a February 26th, 2012  game against Dallas when Vern Fiddler, a member of the NHL all-name team imitated Kevin Bieksa’s, “angry face,” and sent AV into hysterics.

You can see for yourself here.

There’s also of course the 2011 Stanley Cup run which includes one particular moment Canucks fans know as, “Slaying the Dragon.” The jubilation in all the Coaching Staff’s faces and hugs is infectious as you can see in the video below.

It’s important to note though in the clip that while Newell and Ricky B. are celebrating, AV transforms into business mode slipping his papers into the inside pocket of his suit once again; the sign of a man ready to get back to work, which he did admirably the rest of that run.

The stars and planets may never align quite like that again for the Vancouver Canucks or Alain Vigneault but looking back on that moment 50 years from now will be special because at least for one fleeting pinch of time, AV was successful with what he decided to put on the ice. He had other moments in the seven years on the west coast, but one could argue the players succeeded during that time despite him.

There’s certainly no arguing the insane level of talent we’ve been privileged to watch here year in and year out and there may not be much arguing that they’ve under-achieved under AV.

The final thing Alain should be remembered for is not one singular moment though. It’s a compilation of pressers, scrums, year-end state of the union addresses that earn Alain my respect.

Time after time, Alain Vigneault told it how it was.

Maybe it wasn’t in a brash John Tortorella style and maybe he played the waiting game too many times on revealing who would start in net, but he did own up to the losses and the failures.

That’s something that up to this point Mike Gillis is yet to do, at least to the liking I believe most of us want. Media and fans may not like the clichés all the time but often they made sense with AV.

Sure it would have been nice to hear more than Cory Schneider has a, “body injury,” but that one we can let slide because at least he was playing the mind games everyone does during the playoffs.

Additionally and as much as some fans may have hated the decision, it took some really huge, how do you say it, BALLS, to insert Schneider between the pipes in Game 3 against LA in 2012.

Sure it’s led to a massive soap opera this past season that was really disrespectful to Roberto Luongo but much of that blame also lands on Gillis.

In the end, Alain Vigneault may not be as fondly remembered as Roger Nielson or Pat Quinn, but maybe Mike Gillis could put a good word in to future management to reserve a spot for him in the Ring of Honour one day.

Want to weigh in? Comment below with your favourite Alain Vigneault memories.


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About Josh Hall

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