As soon as the game winning overtime goal by the Patrick Marleau was scored that eliminated the Vancouver Canucks from the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs in a four game sweep by the San Jose Sharks, the question of whether or not the elimination in the first round would cost Canucks coach Alain Vigneault his job was asked.
On the surface, one would say of course he won’t. And the numbers would back this thinking as in the seven seasons as Canucks coach, Vigneault has led the team to six playoff appearances, two Presidents’ Cup trophies (NHL’s award for most points in the regular season), has won the Jack Adams award given to the NHL coach of the year back in 2007 and led the Canucks to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Yet, in the last two seasons, the Canucks, with some of the most talented and skilled squads in the league, have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. That’s when the fan base and everyone else with an opinion begins to ask if it’s time for a coaching change.
The answer in this case is yes; Alain Vigneault will lose his job as a result of the first round sweep of the Canucks to the Sharks. He will lose his job because when you have the situation that the Canucks have dealt with in being swept and having been knocked out in the first round of the postseason last year, the general move by team management and ownership is to make a change. In most cases, the change is the firing/removal of the coach. The coach serves as the easiest and most convenient scapegoat to pacify an angry fan base that will demand answers and want change after a disappointing end to the last two seasons.
The fact of that matter is that the reason the team has underachieved and failed in the postseason the last two seasons is in large part due to the most talented and skilled players on the team, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, not performing up to their skill level. The general manager Mike Gillis has made some questionable personnel moves and mishandled the Roberto Luongo, Corey Schneider situation as well. These have had more of an impact on the Canucks having been swept than the coaching job done by Vigneault. Yet when the general manager is on as solid footing as he is with ownership and it appears said general manager will not entertain any moves to the makeup of the roster, it is clear the move that will be made is the firing of the coach.