It should come as no surprise, but it's still good to see that it's official. The Vancouver Canucks have relieved Alain Vigneault of his duties as head coach, as well as his assistants, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown. This news is made even more interesting by the fact that the Dallas Stars are currently in the process of searching for their next head coach.
There has been much speculation, ever since Glen Gulutzan's contract option was not picked up, that Vigneault would be one of the top candidates for the Stars. It remains to be seen how seriously the Stars are going to consider him during their search.
Much of the hockey world considers him to be one of the better coaches in the league, and that much of the blame for the Canucks under achieving should fall on the shoulders of general manager Mike Gillis. There is no question that Alain Vigneault will get another head coaching job in this league, and he shouldn't have to wait too long for the offers to start rolling in.
You can read more about the circumstances of his departure over at the [CBC].
One of the most vocal defenders of Vigneault in the wake of this news has been Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry. He used phrases such as "thrown under the bus" and "thrown down the drain" when describing the situation. He went on to say that Vigneault was a good coach, and that he was an undeserving scapegoat for an organization with problems from the top-down. [CBC]
Vigneault isn't the only Western Canadian resident that will be relocating this summer. Alex Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets has made his intentions clear. He will not be signing a new contract with the Jets, has no plans to head to the KHL, and will be playing for a new NHL team this fall. The restricted free agent is expected to draw a lot of interest from around the league. [ProHockeyTalk]
Did anyone watch the Pittsburgh Penguins / Ottawa Senators game last night? I don't even have words for it, other than "massacre." Unless you're in love with Sidney Crosby, James Neal, or Jarome Iginla, that third period was hard to watch. [USA Today]
Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates were certainly pleased with the blowout victory. They're so in to the playoff spirit that the team has decided to wear Penguins jerseys on their upcoming road trip to play the Milwaukee Brewers and the Detroit Tigers. [NHL.com]
Penguins legendary announcer, Mike Lange, was recently spotlighted by the Montreal Gazette. Love the Pens or hate them, you can't deny that Lange is an institution. Remember when Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal as a Dallas Star? That was Ralph Strangis paying his own tribute to the man. "HEEEEEeeeeee shoots and scores." [Montreal Gazette]
In regards to the other Eastern Conference series going on, The New York Times has a great article about Daniel Paille and Dan Girardi... two natives of Welland, Ontario that are currently at war with each other on the frozen pond. It's got everything. East side versus West side. Bruins versus Rangers. French versus English. They've got the town split in two. [New York Times]
Did you see Paul MacLean's post-game press conference after the game last night? I wouldn't blame you if you missed it. It lasted about 13 seconds, and spanned the range of emotions from frustrated to upset, then to determined and confident. If you needed more reason than just his mustache to love the guy, check this out.