NHL Canadian Corner – May 4, 2012.

The latest on Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, a commentary on new Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, three Senators join Team Sweden at the Worlds, Jets’ Jim Slater named an assistant captain with Team USA, and a lot of history has taken place since the Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup championship. A lot.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: It’s looking more and more likely Canucks coach Alain Vigneault might not return next season. That would be a shame, as he’s the best coach in Canucks history (check his record,it’s true) and only one year removed from guiding the team to the Stanley Cup Final. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins, who were the Canucks opponent in last year’s Final, also had a disappointing end to their season, but there’s no talk of firing head coach Claude Julien. Interesting, isn’t it?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd cuts through the warm early vibe generated by new Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to point out he’ll have to deliver the goods, including hiring the right coach for the Habs and selecting a future star with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. While Todd’s comparing Bergevin’s likeable personality to that of former failed Habs GM Rejean Houle is baseless (Bergevin has considerably more front office experience than Houle did), as is his blunt dismissal of Bergevin’s assessment of the Habs young nucleus, his point remains valid. Bergevin may be more approachable and outgoing than his two predecessors, but that won’t mean squat if he fails to rebuild the Habs into a Cup contender.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson and Jakob Silfverberg will join Team Sweden in this year’s World Hockey Championships.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets forward Jim Slater has been named an assistant captain for Team USA at this year’s World Hockey Championships.

TORONTO STAR: A whole lotta history has occurred since the Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967.


  1. I would have to say that Pat Quinn was the best coach in canucks History. The Canucks now, are the best team the city has ever seen and are deep at every position.

    I think Vigneault is overrated as a coach- and any shmuck with NHL experience cold have pushed that team towards the top of the standings.

    That’s just my opinion.

  2. I wont disagree with Pat Quinn, but I have to think Roger Neilson is up there. One of the best technical coaches ever, and a players coach, took a very average Canucks squad to the finals.

    • Good Point, Soldier. I forgot about the late Roger Nielsen.

  3. Montreal will be sniffing Vigneault if the Canucks dump him…wether he would be interested is a serious question. Bergevin will likely get a relatively easy ride until just after the trade deadline, but Todd is right, it will ultimately come dpwn to how tha Habs do. That said, I really do believe the current squad should have made the playoffs this year and are far better than their record. Basically, regardless of any hanges he makes, the Habs should look like a changed team next year giving Bergevin a full year before the daggers really come out IMO.

    • Ouf.. that’s one ofthe worst rosters in the NHL. When Desharnais (who I like, but come on!) is leading your attack.. you’re in trouble. No depth at centre, no depth on wing, no depth on defense. Imagine if their goalie was not Carey Price… this team would have had two First-overall picks in the same year. One for mercy.

  4. If by chance Vigneault became available and did go to Montreal it would be a very easy sell to fans of Les Habitants. First, and seemingly foremost, is the fact he is bilingual, next is that he has coached the Canucks to two consecutive President’s Trophy first place finishes as well as took the team to within one game of the cup. That would be a good basis for his tenure to begin in Montreal. Also, he is young and approachable, especially media wise. I could see him as a good fit in La Belle Province.

    Personally, I would like to see him move on. The Canucks are in desperate need of a disciplinarian type coach to get rid of the country club atmosphere that surrounds the team. They need someone with an aggressive system of attacking the oppositions zone and net. They should look for someone who can design a power play that pushes the other team deep into their defensive zone and concentrated on funneling players and shots to the net. Finally they need a communicator who can give each and every player a clearly defined role no matter what line he plays on or where he sits on the depth chart.

    No matter what actions Montreal’s new GM decides on he will do it better than Gauthier.
    I really like how he said that rather than have just the one scout for the QMJHL as well as all Quebec junior hockey, he will add to that number and concentrate on increasing the number of French Canadians that are drafted by Montreal. Smart move. Why not have players that the majority of Quebec hockey fans can identify with and are homegrown.
    Another Canadian GM might want to take a page out of that book and look for more home province talent rather than trolling the USA juniors and colleges for what he thinks are promising players.

  5. Ahab, I will agree that if A becomes available, he is he front-runner for the Habs gig.

    I didn’t think he did a good job the first time aorund in Montreal, and I, personally, would not want to hire a guy who has already been there. My policy would be “if you have been here before, we don’t want anything to do with you.” Including Sir Patrick. That would just be a circus.

    I’d go with a younger coach who can be given the opportunity to rebuild. Becasue of AV’s success in Vancouver, the expectation level will be playoffs at minimum and succes in the playoffs as a standard. I don’t think this team is in the position to do that. I think they need two years of good draftin and player development (something Bergevin is very schooled in) in order to build around a pretty good core of young players.

  6. Alfie joining team Sweden huge plus! Still got some gas and desire in that tank!!!

  7. Hi NikK:
    You might be very right about bringing in someone who has been there before, but it might also work considering that Montral had a different group of players now.
    You are right about if V goes there getting into the playoffs will be an expectation but honestly, at the beginning of ech season every team goes into the year with getting into the playoffs as a mindset. I don’t feel that Montreal is that far off of being a top 8 team, especially with Price giving them a great chance to win in every game they play.
    It will be interesting seeing who does go to the Canadiens and how they deal with certain players.
    Never dull in a hyper hockey market city.

  8. My 2 cents:
    -Alain will coach another yr in Vancouver.

    -Mtl shouldn’t hire anyone who has coached there before.
    – bury Gomez in the minors. Admit it was mistake.
    -Markov is done dominating.Give him a supporting role.
    – MTL should consider trading Subban to Edmonton for their 1st round pick. 3 yrs from now, people will say he took too much room in the dressing room. As fans, we all can see that.
    -admit that they’ll try to make the playoffs next yr, but no guarantee. So…DON’T SPEND TO THE CAP, wait and see what will develop during the year.