November 23, 2012
Lockout forced Canucks coach to live with parents
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
There are plenty of projects grown men undertake when living in their parents' basement.
Coming up with a fake name and ripping people on Twitter.
Using complicated mathematical formulas to explain why Curtis Glencross is actually better than Steven Stamkos, and why kissing a girl is probably overrated.
A Call of Duty tournament.
Alain Vigneault, forced by the NHL lockout to move in with his parents in Gatineau, Que., chose a more advanced chapter in the Slacker Handbook -- inviting buddies over to hang out, watch TV, raid the fridge and maybe even sneak a beer.
Had to be careful, though. His mom runs a tight ship, and as long as he is living under their roof, he must abide by their rules.
"That's always been the case and that will never change with my mom," said the Vancouver Canucks head coach, making no attempt to hide the living conditions. "But I'm lucky because my mom and dad like my friends."
He also has the perfect excuse for not going to work: With the NHL closed for repairs, there isn't any.
He's finally out on his own again, and no, not because he scraped the cash together after getting lucky at bingo. The renovations on his own home are complete.
"I had everything planned for when I was going to be in Vancouver during the regular season," he said. "But because of the lockout, I got caught at home when the work started in October. I was re-doing the first floor and upstairs and there was no water in the house, so I had to move back with mom and dad for a couple of weeks.
"It was a lot of fun. My parents (who are 79 and 77) got a kick out of it. I had some buddies over now and then. It made the house a little livelier. It worked out all right for everybody."
At 51, it had been a long time since Vigneault had to worry about being grounded if he stepped out of line.
"I've been away from home since I was 18," he said. "I got traded from Hull to Three Rivers in junior. Then I had a really short pro career in the St. Louis organization and then I got married."
Vigneault still doesn't have a job to go to, and the endless boredom means those two weeks in the basement might be his biggest adrenalin spike of the year.
"I'm like everybody else, it's long days," he said. "After I've worked out in the morning, there's not a lot going on. I've been watching some old Nordiques-Canadiens games on TV at night, but that's about the highlight of my days lately. There's not much going on."
The worst part, other than no hockey, is having to remain on stand-by for five months, waiting to find out if he's in a sprint to the Stanley Cup, or the season's been scuttled.
"In the summer, you can flick the switch off and take time for yourself and your family. Right now, you don't know. It's not a comforting thought. It's not what we're used to. It's a challenge every day to handle it because we're so used to being busy and dealing with 20 players, the training staff, the medical staff ... everybody is finding this very challenging right now."
Perennial losers and markets bleeding money can accept a lockout, but Vancouver is neither.
The Canucks are strong on and off the ice, a financially stable Stanley Cup contender whose time is now. Teams only get a certain window, maybe four or five years, in which to make their run, and it hurts to think that one of those years might be washed away.
"Our core guys are all in that window. We're really aware of that," said Vigneault. "If this would have happened last year, I might have taken the extra time. Those long playoff runs really drain the batteries.
"But right now our batteries are extra full, we're ready to spend that energy. I'm just hoping like everybody else that we're going to get this going."