Monday, May 2nd, 2016

A Test of Ownership


Ben Kuzma thinks Alain Vigneault should be fired for all the usual silly reasons. Nobody will have to hold a tag day for Alain if he is let go – he will be immediately snapped up by a team that wants to employ one of the elite coaches in the game – but I find this type of “opinion” from a hack to be incredibly galling. Vigneault is the best coach the Canucks have ever had. He is a far, far better coach than Kuzma is a reporter. What kind of a person wants a clearly competent employee unfairly fired?

Vigneault doesn’t deserve it from a reporter and he doesn’t deserve it from the Canucks. Mike Gillis did give AV a big vote of confidence, but this has gone on for far too long. It may be that Vigneault himself wants out and the Canucks might have a reason for playing the divorce this way, but I can’t really see that either.

That leaves us with the owner. It is not good news if Vigneault is in limbo pending an Aquilini decision. Here’s Kuzma:

Regardless of your take on the optics of the situation — Vigneault can only coach what Gillis provides and the GM did construct a roster that authored the league’s fifth-ranked offence and fourth-ranked defence — something has to give. Francesco Aquilini is an emotional owner. He is a fan but beyond all, he’s a businessman. An early exit will grate on him and I find it hard to believe that he would simply allow a sufficient amount of time to pass and accept the status quo. Yes, the core is intact and the Canucks will continue to contend but the window to win it all is closing. And when it slammed shut so quickly last month, it probably didn’t play out well in the owner’s box. There’s a mea-culpa card to be played here and Aquilini could very well be the dealer and toss it in Vigneault’s direction. And if Gillis feels that strongly about the coach, he could contest the decision and put his own job in jeopardy but I believe he has unfinished business here. He wants to win. Badly.

I’m sure that the early exit did indeed grate. Aquilini will surely notice that the team profits are down at least $20 MM this season. That, however, is no reason to fire Vigneault. If Aquilini doesn’t understand that wild swings in results, revenues and returns are normal in hockey, he’s in the wrong business. If Aquilini really believes in things like windows and mea culpa cards, he does not understand the business of putting a good team on the ice. If he thinks he is qualified to decide the team will have better options than Vigneault, I worry about the team in the long run.

So far, Aguilini has been a nearly perfect owner. I did not like his decision to fire Dave Nonis, but he did well to replace him with Mike Gillis. Thereafter he has given Gillis an unlimited budget and stayed out of his way. The results speak for themselves.

The owner’s only choice should be whether to fire Mike Gillis. That would not be very bright, but at least is a decision that belongs at his level. Few organizations are successful when the owner tries to do more than that. The least thing any hockey team needs is a rich fan making the decisions.

I see this as a test of ownership. Let’s hope Aguilini passes.

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11 Responses to “A Test of Ownership”
  1. douwelwd says:

    it looks like the hunting season has opened,
    This guy with probably no talent at all thinks he can write anything about the Canucksfranchise and its players.
    First Luongo, then Kesler and now coach AV
    in my country we have a saying: doesn’t he have anything better to do?
    Get a life, get over it you never got drafted and if you have to write about the Canucks, be proud that this franchise is in the great city of Vancouver, cherish it!
    from the other side of the ocean a loud: #GoCanucksGo

    • beingbobbyorr says:

      . . . This guy with probably no talent at all . . . you never got drafted . . .

      I forget which one it is, but it’s a fallacy to dismiss someone’s argument because they’re not among the elite of the field under scrutiny. Stick to focusing on the truth or falsehood of his statements.

      . . . be proud that this franchise is in the great city of Vancouver . . .
      . . . be happy that this franchise is in the great city of Vancouver . . .

      Pride only properly applies to actions you undertake with volition.

      • Roberto says:

        I think you’re talking about ad-hominem attacks (Latin for ‘at the person’, implying that the actual point is ignored). The previous poster’s comment would certainly qualify.

        Fortunately, it’s easy enough to attack the message. Kuz makes a lot of assumptions in that article. He assumes that Aquilini will look back on the year as a failure and think that major changes to the status quo are necessary. He assumes Aquilini chooses to interfere in the hockey decisions of the team. He assumes that Aquilini’s assessment of the situation is that an individual must take the fall for the failings of the team this year. And then he assumes that the logical result of all those assumptions is that Vigneault is likely to go.

        Seems pretty flimsy to me.

  2. Peter Lynn says:

    By definition, you can’t throw a “mea-culpa card” in anyone else’s direction. “Mea culpa” is an admission of guilt; it translates to “my mistake” or “my fault”. Using words without understanding what they mean underlines your point that Kuzma isn’t particularly good at his job.

  3. This is a tough call. Vigneault has done a fantastic job, but a Presidents Trophy isn’t the Stanley Cup. In my opinion, Gillis tinkered too much with an already good line-up at the trade deadline. Last season, really, they were only a Schneider away from winning.

  4. Nat says:

    Looks like he passed : )

  5. Rajeev says:

    Tony Gallagher is a fool, but if his reporting that Vigneault stated that he didn’t think Kesler’s injury affected his play is accurate, then I have to wonder what on earth Vigneault was doing. Why would Vigneault make that claim – he can’t really know how his injury affected his play. If he wants Kesler to be better injury or not, then say that. But why needless and cynically speculate on the extent and effects of a player’s injury. Seems like an easy way to piss off one of the most important members of the organization.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] CANUCKS CORNER: Tom Benjamin not only doesn’t believe the Canucks should fire Alain Vigneault (whom he rightly calls the best coach in Canucks history), but doesn’t deserved to have his fate left undecided until GM Mike Gillis consults with the team’s owner. I agree. If Gillis wants Vigneault back, it should be his call, not the owner’s. […]

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