AV needs to go
— Q Smith (@NWSBQ) May 22, 2013
Too many apologies should result in the departure of the Canucks classy Head Coach.
So the big discussion at my pub, and most watering holes in BC, is naturally who could be the next head coach of our beloved Vancouver Canucks?
It seems that everyone around here is a General Manager and that Alain Vigneault has sucked his last lozenge on the Canucks bench.
The winningest coach in franchise history, AV had a knack for keeping his steely resolve but also favoured mixing his lines like a bartender at a martini bar.
There are many names floating about, but the lads here seem to think that whoever gets the job must possess certain criteria.
They must be of a certain pedigree, have coached in a major market, experienced at the NHL level and have a certain level of command with professional hockey players.
From these qualifications I give to you my Top Five best options for the man at the helm of the Canucks.
A familiar face that makes Van City his home year round. The former ‘Nucks bench boss still has some life and fire left in him.
Most evident when he was let go from his job in Dallas, he was visibly dejected.
Crow has a Stanley Cup in his pocket, definitely knows the market, is already a media darling but most importantly can get results from a bunch of nobodies.
Don’t forget the “West Coast Express” was one line, the unheralded Sedins were on the third line and the rest of the squad was made up guys like Artem Chubarov and Magnus Arvedson.
The longtime Coach of the Buffalo Sabres who was released of duties earlier this year.
A former Jack Adams award winner for coach of the year, Ruff has a coaching style that mimics his last name.
Like Vigneault, he is reluctant to play young talent and prefers a defensive, clogging style of play. Ruff has been to a Cup final once before in 1999, but since then, the Sabres have struggled in the playoffs.
While he may be a strong candidate, I feel fans in this market are clamoring for a more open style of play.
And as far as coaching in Buffalo goes, it is not a major market but the fans there are rabid enough to make it feel like a larger city.
Right now Ruff is the leading candidate for most open positions available, so I’m sure he’ll weigh his options until after the playoffs. It may be hard to remove him from the East coast.
The former Sabres and Islanders coach hasn’t coached in the League since 2008, and is the current coach of the Latvian Men’s national team.
He has had two famous, yet short stints in the NHL, lasting only two years at each of his two postings.
Nolan would most likely thrive in an environment with established ownership and strong management, unlike the circus that is the New York Islanders.
Bonus points: His son Brandon is currently a Canucks prospect and his other son Jordan has won a Stanley Cup with the LA Kings.
But aside from his own progeny, Nolan is quite capable of getting lesser known talent to excel at the NHL level, having guiding both franchises to the playoffs while he was at the helm.
Another Canuck retread from a previous era that knows both the area and the market. Was last behind the Vancouver bench in 1997 but has bounced about the League ever since.
The Cranbrook BC native would crave a chance to coach in his home province again.
If the Vancouver ownership and management are only thinking of dispensing with AV and retaining GM Mike Gillis, Renney may have a better chance than most.
If Gillis is so hell bent on copying the Detroit model of running an NHL franchise then it would seem logical to bring in the Red Wings assistant coach.
If you’re going to run like Detroit you may as well bring in a Detroit disciple.
Renney has a penchant for coaching young talent, and if there is a complete overhaul of the Canucks roster he may be the perfect fit.
Look at the date this article was written before you jump all over me
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, he has never coached in the NHL, but come on, he’s Patrick Roy. NHL Royalty.
4 Stanley Cups with two franchises as a player, and a Memorial Cup as a head coach in the CHL.
A fire and brimstone coach that would demand the highest qualities of the players around.
His lack of experience behind the bench at the professional level may hinder his chances in a large market but there is such a disdain for the current slate of Canucks that a famous name behind the bench may be needed to bring the casual fan back to Rogers Arena.
A bit of a reach and a little gimmicky, but the Hall of Fame goalie may just bring the right spark.
So there you have it, a list of candidates ranging from the obvious to the obscure, and each one bringing something different to the table.
Whether these fellows get the job or not they should at least be considered. Anyone of them could represent the City and the organization well.
Just my thoughts, but if Gillis and owner Francesco Aquilini get stuck in their search for a new head man, they could just walk into any pub west of the Rockies and ask the first person they see.
I’m sure he’ll have an answer to improve the lack-luster power play.
Cheers, The Bartender