Alain Vigneault

Big meeting in Vancouver — Vigneault’s fate on the agenda


Sometime today in Vancouver, the future of Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, and perhaps even general manager Mike Gillis, could be decided.

The GM and the club’s owners, chairman Francesco Aquilini and his two brothers (Roberto and Paolo), will reportedly meet to discuss what to do about a team that won its second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy then fell in five games to the Kings in the first round.

In his season-ending press conference, Gillis said he has “every bit of confidence” in Vigneault, so we can assume the GM wants his coach back.

Among the scenarios that could play out:

—- Gillis convinces ownership that Vigneault is worth keeping, and both are back.

—- Ownership demands that Vigneault is fired, so Gillis fires him.

—- Ownership demands that Vigneault is fired, so Gillis quits.

Both GM and coach have a year remaining on their contracts, and neither will want to go into the season without an extension.

An interesting side story involves the two local newspapers, one (the Vancouver Sun) that’s been calling for the coach to be kept, the other (The Province) to be fired.

That in itself isn’t interesting, but Province columnist Tony Gallagher was instrumental in convincing Aquilini to hire Gillis after Dave Nonis was fired in 2008, and Gallagher has been calling for Vigneault’s head since long before the Canucks flamed out in the first round.

As Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre notes, “if the Aquilinis can be successfully lobbied once, it can happen again.”

Related: Could Alain Vigneault become the next coach of the Canadiens?

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.