View Single Post
09-14-2009, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Out There
Posts: 54,911
vCash: 500
AV Strikes Back: The Neutral Zone Wars Part II

In the Vancouver Sun today, Vigneault takes issue that his team and players are too offensively stifled and too dull.
But the one thing that has bothered Vigneault since he replaced Marc Crawford in 2006 is the often parroted criticism his team is dull and artless.

Never mind that Vigneault's winning percentage coaching the Canucks (.596) blows both Crawford's (.554) and Pat Quinn's (.553) out of the pond. Or that his two second-round playoff appearances in three seasons is one better than Crawford, Mike Keenan, Tom Renney and Rick Ley managed -- combined -- over the previous 10 years.

Vigneault's teams were dull. He stifled offensive players, dumbed down the game and, gasp, often neutral-zone-trapped opponents. The latter, at least, is true and put Vigneault in the company of 29 other coaches.
How does French Coach defend himself?

"I'm not sensitive, but I know to some extent there is that perception out there. I would like to know which player has left this team since I've been here who has gone somewhere else and become an offensive player. Or has had as many points as he had with me. There is not one. And do the opposite; do the number of players who since they've been playing with me, have had their career years offensively.

All I know is, as coach, what you do is try to win. And depending on the personnel you have available, some nights you have to adjust. Depending on the schedule, some nights you have to adjust. At the end of the day, what you're trying to do is maximize the players you have in front of you.

As a coach, you have to evaluate what you have and then put in the system that's going to most maximize potential. With what we feel is a better corps of defence at moving the puck, we're definitely going to utilize that.

Once you have a little bit more skill and can do a little more things, most of the time instead of chasing the puck trying to get it back, you have it under control.

But there's one thing that doesn't change: The teams that are successful, the teams that win, work as hard at both ends of the rink. When I talked to Samuelsson the first time I met him -- obviously you want to pick the guy's brain who has been on a team that has won a Cup and went to a finals -- the first thing he told me is [Detroit and Team Canada coach Mike] Babcock wants his players to work as hard at both ends. Well, surprise, so does Vigneault."

And his history proves that out. When he had a healthy team in Montreal and the horses to do so he played a more wide-open style and the Habs finished 5th in Goals For. When the team hit a two year patch of injuries that IIRC were the worst in NHL history, he cobbled together what was basically an AHL team and kept it competitive - although he missed the play-offs barely he was still a finalist for the Coach of the Year. In those years the Habs played disciplined and solid defence.

A good coach makes do with what he is given and adjusts season to season and even game to game. And Vigneault is a very good coach.

The old saying is coaches are hired to be fired but with his accomplishments Vigneault is about to be extended for a longer tour of duty with the Canucks. As it now stands he is the sixth longest serving coach with one team in the NHL.

Wetcoaster is offline   Reply With Quote