Vigneault Canucks' guiding light

BARRY MACDONALD -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

If you are wondering about what criteria a coach-of-the-year candidate has to meet, you are probably not alone. At least not in this part of the world, given the Canucks' remarkable transformation under Alain Vigneault.

With Vancouver's lofty perch atop the Northwest Division, Vigneault warrants coach-of-the-year consideration.

There are some obvious tangibles to look at when considering potential candidates: Wins and losses for starters; improvement over the previous season; and performance of certain individuals.

But in Vigneault's case at least, there has been an element of button pushing that can't be ignored. What buttons to push and when to push them is often what separates good coaches from the ones on the unemployment line.

Over a season that stretches six months and 82 games, you have to pick your spots - and that is where Vigneault has been masterful.

His most recent spot was following Sunday's shootout loss to Colorado at GM Place. Vigneault was not happy with his defensive corps and he publicly blistered them after the game. It wasn't terribly mean spirited, but it was accurate.

Going public with criticism - or even doing it behind closed doors - can fall on deaf ears, especially if it is done too often.

Tuesday night in Colorado, in the wake of Sunday's loss and Vigneault's tirade here, Vancouver beat the Avalanche 3-0.

Obviously Vigneault hasn't had to rail on his team much this season, especially since Christmas as the team racked up a meagre five regulation-time losses over 40 games.

The coach-of-the-year honour is based on the regular season only. Vigneault, like any coach, is ultimately judged by what he gets out of his team in the post season. It will be interesting to see how he handles this group with the stakes so much higher. Based on what we have seen over 76 games so far, there isn't much he should change.

---

Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on Team 1040 from 6-9 a.m. E-mail Barry at: barry.macdonald@24hrs.ca


Videos

Photos