Alain Vigneault

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Alain Vigneault
AlainVigneault2009a.jpg
Vigneault coaching a Vancouver Canucks practice in 2009
Born (1961-05-14) May 14, 1961 (age 53)
Quebec City, QC, CAN
Current team New York Rangers
Specialty Head Coach
Previous team(s) NHL:
Vancouver Canucks
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators (Assistant)
AHL:
Manitoba Moose
QMJHL:
PEI Rocket
Beauport Harfangs
Hull Olympiques
Trois-Rivières Draveurs
Years as NHL player 2
Years as a coach 24
Years as an NHL coach 10

Alain Vigneault (born May 14, 1961) is a Canadian professional ice hockey head coach with the New York Rangers of the NHL. Vigneault has coached the Montreal Canadiens, the Vancouver Canucks, as well as in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. During his career with the Canucks, he won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach of the year in 2006–07 and has become the team's record holder for wins as a coach. Under Vigneault, Vancouver won back-to-back Presidents' Trophies (2010–11 and 2011–12) and made one Stanley Cup Finals appearance (2011). In his first season with New York, he led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance (2014) in 20 years.

Prior to his coaching career, Vigneault played professionally as a defenceman for six seasons in the NHL, Central Hockey League and American Hockey League (AHL). In the NHL, he played 42 games over two seasons, 1981–82 and 1982–83, for the St. Louis Blues.

Playing career[edit]

Vigneault played as a defenceman in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for four seasons, beginning in 1977–78 with the Hull Olympiques. He recorded 11 goals and 46 points over 59 games as a rookie, before improving to 13 goals and 54 points over 72 games to rank fifth in team scoring the following season. In his third QMJHL season, Vigneault was traded from Hull to the Trois Rivieres Draveurs. Between the two teams, he accumulated a junior career-high 64 points (11 goals and 53 assists) over 63 games. The following season, his fourth and final in the QMJHL, he tallied 7 goals and 62 points over 67 games, before adding 4 goals and 10 points in 19 playoff games. His efforts helped the Draveurs to the QMJHL Finals, where they were defeated four-games-to-one by the Cornwall Royals.

Following his QMJHL career, Vigneault was selected in the eighth round, 167th overall, by the St. Louis Blues in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. He joined the Blues organization during the 1981-82 season where he appeared in 14 games for the club; tallying 1 goal and 2 assists. The remainder of his rookie season was spent in the minor league with the Blues' Central Hockey League (CHL) affiliate, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Vigneault was called up to the Blues again the following season where he recorded a goal and three assists in 28 regular season appearances, as well as one assist in four in the playoffs games, while splitting time with the Eagles. The 1983 playoffs were Vigneault's final appearances as a player in the NHL, as he finished his career the following season splitting time between the Maine Mariners of the AHL and the Montana Magic in the CHL.

Coaching career[edit]

QMJHL and Ottawa Senators[edit]

Vigneault began his coaching career at the age of 25 in 1986–87, one season after his retirement as a player. He began in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), coaching one season for the Trois-Rivières Draveurs and five for the Hull Olympiques, the same two teams he played junior hockey for. He coached the Olympiques to personal QMJHL regular season bests in 1987–88 with a 43–23–4 record and a playoff championship.[1]

In the 1992–93 season, Vigneault got his first break in the National Hockey League (NHL) as an assistant coach with the expansion Ottawa Senators. After three-and-a-half years in that position, the Senators' assistant coaches were dismissed during the 1995–96 season and Vigneault returned to the QMJHL to coach the Beauport Harfangs. He led the team to his second QMJHL Finals appearance, where they were defeated by the Granby Prédateurs.

Montreal Canadiens[edit]

After a full season with the Harfangs in 1996–97, Vigneault began his second stint in the NHL and his first as a head coach, with the Montreal Canadiens. Becoming the 20th coach in the history of the Original Six team, he replaced Mario Tremblay. After winning the Stanley Cup in 1993, the team had not advanced past the second round of the playoffs in the four years since. In his first season with the Canadiens, he coached the team to a regular season record of 37 wins, 32 losses and 13 ties to rank fourth in the Northeast Division. They then advanced to the second round with a four-games-to-two series victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, before being swept in four games by the Buffalo Sabres. The following season, however, the Canadiens failed to make the playoffs with a 32-39-11 record.

During his third season with the Canadiens in 1999–2000, he returned to above-.500 despite numerous long-term injuries to key players, just narrowly missing a postseason berth. For his efforts, despite his team failing to make the playoffs for a second straight year, he was nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the league's coach of the year, losing the award to Joel Quenneville of the St. Louis Blues. After the Canadiens continued to struggle the following season, Vigneault was fired midway through the campaign and replaced by Michel Therrien.

Following his tenure with the Canadiens, he spent two and a half years inactive as a coach. In 2003–04, he was hired to coach the Prince Edward Island Rocket. That season, he coached them to a 40-19-5 record and a second-round appearance in the playoffs.

Vancouver Canucks[edit]

After another season with the Rocket, in which the team finished out of the playoffs, Vigneault was hired by the Vancouver Canucks organization to coach their minor-league affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Following a successful season in Manitoba, in which the Moose earned 100 points and reached the second round of the playoffs, he was chosen to replace Marc Crawford as the Canucks' coach ahead of the 2006–07 season. The Canucks had failed to qualify for the playoffs in Crawford's last season with the club and were seen to have underperformed after being considered Stanley Cup contenders after the 2004–05 NHL lockout. In replacing Crawford, who was the Canucks' record holder for all-time wins by a coach, Vigneault became the 16th coach in team history. While Crawford was known for coaching the team under an offense-first mentality, Vigneault had a defensive-minded reputation at the time of his hiring. In addition to letting Crawford go, general manager Dave Nonis retooled the team considerably. Key offensive players Ed Jovanovski and Todd Bertuzzi departed as stay-at-home defenceman Willie Mitchell and star goaltender Roberto Luongo were brought in.

In his first season as head coach of the Canucks, Vigneault coached them to a franchise record 49 wins, eclipsing the 46-win season recorded under Pat Quinn in 1992–93. The team won the regular season Northwest Division title before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Anaheim Ducks. As a result, he received his second Jack Adams Award nomination and beat out Lindy Ruff of the Buffalo Sabres and Michel Therrien of the Pittsburgh Penguins in voting to win the coach of the year on June 14, 2007. The following season, however, the Canucks failed to qualify for the playoffs and general manager Dave Nonis was fired. After Nonis' successor, Mike Gillis, was brought in, it was speculated whether or not he would retain Vigneault.[2][3] After several meetings with Gillis, Vigneault was re-signed to a one-year contract extension to keep him in Vancouver to the 2009–10 season. Vigneault's assistant coaches Barry Smith and Mike Kelly, inherited from Crawford's coaching staff, were both fired.[4]

With the departure of captain Markus Naslund in the 2008 off-season, Vigneault and team management controversially selected Roberto Luongo as the Canucks' new captain, despite NHL rules forbidding goaltenders to be chosen for the position. Luongo became the first goaltender to captain an NHL team in 60 years, though he was not permitted to wear the captain's "C" on his jersey, nor was he permitted to perform the traditional on-ice duties of a captain in the NHL (such as speaking to the referees on behalf of the coach).[5] Under new leadership and management, Vigneault and the Canucks returned to the post-season and won their second Northwest Division title in three years. They were once again defeated in the second round, however; this time by the Chicago Blackhawks.

About to enter the final year of his contract in 2009–10, Vigneault was signed to a three-year extension in September 2009.[6] The Canucks matched their franchise-best 49 wins from Vigneault's first season and repeated as Northwest Division champions. Though for a second consecutive year, they were eliminated by the Blackhawks in the second round.

After finishing near the top of their conference for the majority of Vigneault's tenure with the team up to the 2009–10 season, the Canucks won their first-ever Presidents' Trophy as the league's best regular season team after a franchise year of 54 wins and 117 points. They advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994 but lost the championship in seven games to the Boston Bruins. Vigneault earned his third nomination for the Jack Adams Award in 2011, but lost to Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The following year, the Canucks repeated as Presidents' Trophy champions. During the season, Vigneault became the most winning coach in Canucks' history with his 247th victory with the team, a 3–0 shutout against the Colorado Avalanche on November 23, 2011. At 427 games, it took him 97 fewer contests than his predecessor, Crawford, to set the mark. Though the league's best regular season team once more in 2011-2012, the Canucks were eliminated from the playoffs in the opening round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing to the 8th placed (and eventual Stanley Cup Champion) LA Kings in just 5 games.[7]

During the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canucks were swept in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. After the first round loss to the San Jose Sharks many Vancouver fans voiced the need for a major change among the Canucks coaching staff - mainly Vigneault. After many rumors and much speculation, Vigneault was fired by the Canucks on May 22, 2013.

New York Rangers[edit]

On June 21 2013, the New York Rangers hired Vigneault to be their 35th head coach, replacing John Tortorella who coincidentally was hired as Vigneault's replacement in Vancouver. He signed a five year, $10 million contract.[8]

Vigneault's Rangers initially struggled in the first half of the 2013-2014 campaign but finished very strong. The Rangers finished second in the Metropolitan Division, qualifying for the postseason, making it to the team's first Stanley Cup Final since they defeated the Canucks in the 1993-94 season, but lost to the Los Angeles Kings in 5 games. Ironically, Vancouver Canucks who hired former Rangers coach John Tortorella to replace Vigneault, failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Personal life[edit]

Vigneault lives in Gatineau, Quebec during the off season. He is divorced, and has two daughters, Andreane and Janie. When he coached the Canucks, Vigneault could often be found on game days jogging around Vancouver's Stanley Park. He is known by the Vancouver media for his sense of humour and for his resemblance to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

NHL coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
MTL 1997–98 82 37 32 13 87 4th in Northeast Lost in second round (BUF)
MTL 1998–99 82 32 39 11 75 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
MTL 1999–00 82 35 34 9 4 83 4th in Northeast Missed playoffs
MTL 2000–01 20 5 13 2 0 70 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs - Fired
VAN 2006–07 82 49 26 7 105 1st in Northwest Lost in second round (ANA)
VAN 2007–08 82 39 33 10 88 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
VAN 2008–09 82 45 27 10 100 1st in Northwest Lost in second round (CHI)
VAN 2009–10 82 49 28 5 103 1st in Northwest Lost in second round (CHI)
VAN 2010–11 82 54 19 9 117 1st in NHL Lost in Stanley Cup Final (BOS)
VAN 2011–12 82 51 22 9 111 1st in NHL Lost in first round (LA)
VAN 2012–13 48 26 15 - 7 59 1st in Northwest Lost in first round (SJ) (Fired)
NYR 2013–14 82 45 31 - 6 96 2nd in Metropolitan Lost in Stanley Cup Final (LA)
Total 870 462 308 35 67 Points %: .588

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alain Vigneault". HockeyDB.com. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  2. ^ "Silence works for bench-boss Alain Vigneault". The Province. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Vigneault likely to learn his fate this weekend". Victoria Times Colonist. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  4. ^ "Vigneault signs 1-year extension". Vancouver Sun. Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  5. ^ "Luongo the first NHL goaltender in 60 years to become captain". Vancouver Sun. Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  6. ^ "Canucks sign coach Vigneault to contract extension". The Sports Network. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  7. ^ MacIntyre, Iain (2011-11-24). "Schneider records 24 saves as Canucks coast". National Post. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  8. ^ "New York Rangers hire coach Alain Vigneault with 5-year deal". Sports Illustrated. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 

External links[edit]