VANCOUVER — The National Hockey League is a results-driven business, except when it isn’t.
Alain Vigneault, easily the most successful coach in Vancouver Canucks' history, was fired Wednesday because he didn’t win enough games that really mattered and didn’t fit the template of general manager Mike Gillis’s organizational “reset.”
Vigneault’s dismissal, widely expected after a second straight, first-round playoff exit, ends a seven-year run that saw the Canucks win 313 games, six Northwest Division titles and get within one victory of the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Vigneault was so successful he raised expectations in Vancouver that became impossible to meet the last two years when Gillis underestimated the NHL trend towards bigger, stronger teams and failed to improve the Canucks after their Stanley Cup Final loss to the Boston Bruins.
But Vigneault owned the Canucks’ 1-10 playoff record since Game 5 of the 2011 final, and was accountable for special-teams problems this past regular season and playoffs and his team’s lack of discipline in...