The Vancouver Canucks are looking for a new head coach after they decided to part ways with Alain Vigneault after seven seasons. Two years of losing in the first round with a roster that was supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup each and every year led to Vigneault’s dismissal and now the search begins for his replacement.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN via Twitter, the list of candidates is long and full of recognizable names that have coached at the game’s highest level before. Some of them have a Stanley Cup or two on their resumes, while others are hoping this will be their big break and finally get their long awaited shot at coaching in the NHL.
The list includes former Dallas Stars bench boss Dave Tippett, who was also rumored to be in the running for the Colorado Avlanche job before Patrick Roy was given the gig. Former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has also been mentioned as a possibility in Vancouver along with former head coaches Tom Renney, Guy Boucher, Jacques Martin and Paul Maurice. Scott Arniel and Dallas Eakins are those mentioned who are waiting for their first chance in the big leagues and given Arniel’s ties to the Vancouver organization as head coach of the AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves, he will almost certainly be considered. Whether or not he gets the job could come down to the Canucks’ brass wanting a rookie coach to try and lead this team to the promised land one more time before heavy decisions need to be made surrounding their roster.
Dreger also mentions that Doug Houda, Ron Wilson and Larry Robinson have been mentioned around the league as “hot commodities” to become a head coach. But as Tim Kavanagh of ESPN.com writes, they haven’t been specifically tied to the Vancouver opening.
Whomever gets the job will have a roster that is ready to win. The pressure will be on to lead this club past the first round of the playoffs and deep into the postseason. Another cup final with a different ending than the one in 2011 is expected in Vancouver and whichever head coach takes on that challenge will surely have the eyes of all Canucks’ fans on him.
With a list this long, the Canucks will surely begin dwindling it down to a short list they are comfortable with and then start the process of weeding out the others in hopes of finding their new head coach.