Alain Vigneault

When will the Canucks decide on Vigneault?


It’s been two weeks since the Vancouver Canucks were swept out of the playoffs, and still no announcement has been made concerning the future of head coach Alain Vigneault.

Never one to rush things (see: trading Roberto Luongo), the only thing general manager Mike Gillis would say in his end-of-season press conference was that Vigneault would be part of a “thorough review” of every element of the organization.

Vigneault himself has yet to address the media.

The smart money is on a change behind the bench. Vigneault may be the winningest coach in Canucks history, and he may have taken Vancouver to Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cuy finals; however, two straight first-round playoff exits were, in the words of Gillis, “unacceptable.”

“This off-season will lead to difficult decisions including roster adjustments and changes in personnel,” wrote Gillis in a letter to season-ticket holders.

Assistant coaches Rick Bowness and Newell Brown are also considered on the hot seat.

For Vancouver Province columnist Ed Willes, the decision, one way or the other, is taking entirely too long.

It registers as needless dithering. Gillis and Vigneault have been together for five years. The head coach’s track record isn’t exactly a mystery. You could argue Scotty Bowman with Sir Alex Ferguson and Vince Lombardi as his assistants couldn’t have won with the 2013 Canucks, but that seems to be beside the point. If this team is going to reinvent itself, it needs a new face and a new voice.

If Vigneault is indeed fired, it will be interesting to see what he does next. The Dallas Stars have yet to hire a coach to replace Glen Gulutzan. But the only other current vacancy is in Colorado, and that may be filled very soon.

More interesting to Canucks fans, though, will be who replaces Vigneault, and what the team’s on-ice philosophy will be going forward. Gillis has made clear his belief that the game has changed in recent years. Speedy-and-skilled hockey, he believes, is out, while dump-and-chase-and-battle-in-the-corners is back in.

Many disagree with Gillis’s assessment. Or, at the very least, they think he’s overstating things.

But it’s Gillis that’s going to make the call.


Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.

Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

And here’s a statement from TSN: