NHL

McKenzie: Canucks didn't look like they quit on Vigneault

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Bob McKenzie
4/22/2012 4:18:47 PM
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Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Sunday:

Even before the season was over there were stories in the Vancouver newspapers that Alain Vigneault had maybe lost the room and that the team needed a new voice.

Well Vancouver has won back-to-back Presidents' Trophies and when I look at this first round loss I don't see a team that quit on their coach. It didn't look as though Vigneault had lost the room. If Daniel Sedin had been in this from start to finish, maybe the result is a little bit different. But full value to the Los Angeles Kings for winning the series, and from the Vancouver Canucks side: I suppose it's possible Vigneault might not be back next year.

There are really three reasons why you get rid of a coach. One is the sense the general manager feels it's time for a change; that the coach has lost the room. The second is you want change for change's sake. There might be an owner, fans or media that says ‘We lost in the first round, we thought we were going to win the Cup, bring us somebody's head.' And the third reason would be if Vigneault senses he's done everything he can and there might be other opportunities he could be interested in – where it's almost a mutual thing – then that's a possibility too.

Mike Gillis will know the temperature of that room better than anybody else, but this doesn't strike me as a 'fire the coach' situation. I'm not saying it won't happen; it just doesn't strike me as a 'fire the coach' situation.

Give Giroux his due

I don't think there's any question that the Philadelphia Flyers are now definitively Claude Giroux's team.

Put the 'C' on his sweater right now.

We don't expect Chris Pronger back anytime soon if at all and Giroux proved in the playoff series win over Pittsburgh why he means so much to the Flyers.

Over the course of the regular season Evgeni Malkin was the best player in the NHL while Giroux was one of the top two or three along with Steven Stamkos. In this series there was no question Giroux was the best player on the ice.

In the big picture of the series 14 points in six games is an unbelievable performance.

But in Game 6 in particular, when things were starting to slide for the Flyers, it was Giroux who on the first shift of the game set the tone. He knocked down Sidney Crosby and scored the goal for the Flyers.

Giroux talked about the pressure before the game and how he wanted to embrace it and he did.

He was the difference maker in so many regards in this series.

Crosby not quite back to old level

Sidney Crosby did have his moments in this series but wasn't always the dominating presence we are used to.

He had the great first period in Game 1 on the goal to start things off. He had the great first period in Game 2 but sustained excellence was difficult to come by.

In Game 3 the wheels came off for him and the Penguins. He got petulant, he got upset and he was unfocused.

He had a good Game 4 but in Game 5 he took that hit from Malkin and almost from that point forward, he really wasn't a noticeable factor in the hockey games.

The situation for Crosby is this: he played just 22 regular season games and his game on a consistent basis wasn't where I'm sure he wanted it to be or where other people hoped it would be.

Alain Vigneault (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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