There’s no denying there is an outbreak of Canuck fever in Grand Forks.
City councillors are giving game updates during council meetings, conversations about the exploits of the Vancouver
Canucks can be heard if you eavesdrop on conversations around town and there are even some car flags waving in the breeze.
Some will point to Pat Quinn as the greatest head coach in the NHL club’s history – he was behind the bench during the fabled ’94 Stanley Cup run – but current coach Alain Vigneault doesn’t seem to get enough respect, at least in my opinion.
People complain about his constant line-juggling and in the past, have complained that his style was too defensive-oriented, but he seems to be a coach that is adaptable and not set in his ways.
A friend from Prince Edward Island spoke highly of Vigneault (a.k.a. Coach V) based on his time with the QMJHL P.E.I. Rocket and my friend was right, he is a good coach.
Just look at Vigneault’s resumé. Having been with the team since the 2006/07 season, the Canucks have surpassed the 100-point plateau four out of his five seasons as coach and he has complemented the four 100-point-plus seasons with four Northwest division titles as well.
He won a Jack Adams award as the best coach in the league in 2007 and he has eclipsed Quinn’s franchise mark for most wins in a season (46), with 49 wins in 2006/07 and 2009/10 and once again this past season with 54.
In fact, Vigneault guided the team to its first-ever President’s trophy (for the team with the best overall record) this past regular season – a feat no other Canuck team has accomplished.
He also has the team in a position that only two other Canuck teams have been in the past – in the Stanley Cup finals.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the big Irishman and all he’s done for the team but I think that Coach V doesn’t get nearly enough praise.
Besides, Vigneault could have the team doing something that no other Canucks team (and only a select group of teams in the NHL) has ever done come mid-June.
– Karl Yu is associate editor of the Grand Forks Gazette