Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Maybe Vigneault Stays
It's hard not to notice a common theme amongst the four semi-finalists in the Western Conference. St. Louis, Nashville, Phoenix and LA are defense-first teams. The teams they eliminated in the first round - San Jose, Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver are offense-first teams. Is this coincidence? Is it just "one of those seasons"?
Mike Gillis has made it no secret he likes a team that stresses offense. Just last week on the Team1040, he mentioned wanting his team to play up tempo. The Canucks got to game 7 of the SCF last season playing that style. They started out this season, playing the same style. Things changed in the last couple months of the season, though. When they shipped Hodgson out and replaced him in the lineup with Samme Pahlsson, it showed a change in philosophy, a philosophy that is near and dear to the heart of Alain Vigneault. The team went into the playoffs knowing they were gonna have to win low scoring games to succeed. Unfortunately, you do still have to score the occasional goal to win in the NHL.
Alain Vigneault's future in Vancouver is the hot button issue is Vancouver. I was convinced a change was gonna be made. It's not that AV isn't a very good coach, he obviously is. The fact is every coach has a shelf life and you've got to wonder if his time has expired in Vancouver. They couldn't get out of the first round playing his brand of hockey, although that's not entirely his fault, based on the fact the team is not really constructed through the lineup to be a shutdown type team. The question is will Mike Gillis consider changing his mindset going forward, based on the success of other "defense first" teams in the Western Conference? If so, it wouldn't make sense to let Vigneault go. As a fan of offensive hockey, I hope Gillis sticks to his guns and builds his team to score goals. Whatever the decision is, I expect it to be made within the next 2 or 3 weeks.