Vancouver Canucks fire head coach Alain Vigneault

Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault lived at his parents home for two weeks while his house was...

Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault lived at his parents home for two weeks while his house was being renovated in October. (Ben Pelosse/QMI Agency/Files)

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:07 PM ET

VANCOUVER - As if it didn't already take the Vancouver Canucks long enough to finally fire their coach, they were also pretty much the last ones to report it Wednesday.

But, alas, halt the rampant speculation and drawn-out debate. Alain Vigneault's days with the Canucks are finished.

In a decision many had expected after the Canucks were ousted in the first round of the playoffs two weeks ago, the team sent the franchise's winningest and most successful coach packing.

Vancouver also fired assistant coaches Newell Brown and Rick Bowness, but will retain Darryl Williams (assistant coach) and Roland Melanson (goaltending coach) for now.

"There comes a point in time where the message has to change and we have to be better," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Wednesday at a press conference. "We simply didn't get the results that we expected.

"These are difficult decisions but ones that have to be made in this business."

The search now begins for a new bench boss, one with somewhat lofty shoes to fill after Vigneault's accomplishments during his seven years with the Canucks.

The 52-year-old posted a 313-170-57 record with Vancouver, won the Jack Adams trophy in 2007 as coach of the year and was also voted a finalist for the award in 2011. He led the team to the Presidents' Trophy twice, won six Northwest Division titles, and made it to the Stanley Cup final in 2011, when the Canucks lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins.

But after a second straight season of an early post-season exit -- this year in a four-game sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks -- and having lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games, Vigneault's time with the team was up.

In a statement released by the Canucks, Vigneault said: "I am proud of many of the things we accomplished as a group these past seven seasons in Vancouver and only wish we were able to win the Canucks first Stanley Cup. I am a career coach and it is what I love to do. I hope to coach again in this league."

Vigneault had signed a three-year contract extension with the Canucks last summer, but with the recent struggles, the move had to happen.

"People have been after me since Day 1 here, they've been after Alain since Day 1," Gillis said. "People wanted him fired five years ago, I kept him and we worked well together and we achieved success. We're at a point now in the evolution of this team and this organization where in my mind a change is required.

"Some people think this is a simple, easy decision to make, but it's not."

Gillis also addressed how the news leaked out early -- the firing was first reported by TVA Sports' Louis Jean. The GM said he got out of a meeting with ownership at 2 p.m. PT and made the phone call to Vigneault 15 minutes later.

"I think it's terribly unfortunate, and it's completely beyond my control so I have no idea how it happens," he said. "I was only made aware that this story has gone public after I got out of that meeting."

But having made the recommendations to the owners, Gillis takes full responsibility for the decision -- one that seemed to have taken longer than expected to make.

"I don't do things based on emotions," he said. "I just want to make sure we did everything as well as we could."

Claiming he needs a couple days off to clear his head first, Gillis said he has no timeframe for hiring a new coach or any confirmed candidates. But he admits to liking an upbeat, offensive style of play moving forward.

"Winning is the main criteria," he said. "We're just focused on getting the right person and executing a plan that we have that is going to get us back to the level that we expect.

"I'm excited where we're going to go from this point forward."


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