Former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault (seen here in 2012) has his New York Rangers just two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.

Vigneault’s run gives Canucks mixed feelings

Vigneault's run with Rangers gives his former Canucks players mixed feelings

  • May. 20, 2014 11:00 a.m.

By Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

MINSK, Belarus – Alain Vigneault is back in the conference final with the New York Rangers, and at least one of his former Vancouver players couldn’t be happier.

“For Alain, I’m happy for him that he got back there so quickly,” Canucks defenceman and Team Canada captain Kevin Bieksa said. “He’s a good coach and he’s obviously been there before and he took us there. We had a lot of really good years together. Absolutely we’re cheering for him and hope they do well.”

Bieksa is one of a handful of Vigneault’s former players casually following his playoff run from afar at the world hockey championship, three years after the Canucks came one victory short of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. After beating the Montreal Canadiens twice at Bell Centre, Vigneault and the Rangers are two victories away from making the final.

Joining Bieksa on Team Canada are Canucks teammates Jason Garrison and Alex Burrows. Garrison only played one season under Vigneault, and so he doesn’t have as deep a connection to him as those on the 2011 Cup final team.

Like Bieksa, Garrison isn’t necessarily cheering for Vigneault and the Rangers.

“It’s tough to root for success on another team, that’s for sure,” Garrison said. “It’s notable, kind of the season he’s having and the playoffs that he’s having. … But that’s about it. Other than that, if anything, you’re jealous.”

It’s natural for former Canucks to feel a little jealous, considering they missed the playoffs under former Rangers coach John Tortorella in a season that cost him and general manager Mike Gillis their jobs. If they were still playing, Bieksa, Garrison, Burrows, Denmark’s Jannik Hansen and Niclas Jensen, Switzerland’s Yannick Weber and Sweden’s Joacim Eriksson wouldn’t be in Minsk.

Among them, only Bieksa, Burrows, Garrison and Hansen played for Vigneault. Even though things went sour in 2013, Garrison doesn’t have anything bad to say about how the 53-year-old Quebec City native handled a veteran Vancouver team.

“Guys respected him and he respected the players,” Garrison said. “He was a good person, and I had no complaints at all.”

Bieksa played for Vigneault for seven seasons during which the Canucks went to the playoffs all but one year. The 32-year-old doesn’t share Garrison’s tinge of competitive jealousy.

“It’s a different team, a different conference,” Bieksa said. “I don’t really have jealousy. It would be different if it were, like, a good friend or a former teammate.”

The Rangers have only one of those in Raphael Diaz, who played just six games in Vancouver.

Follow @SWhyno on Twitter

Just Posted

Deep Cove man running 50 km every month through his 50th birthday year

Ultrarunner hopes Deep 50 Challenge will raise $5,000 for Help Fill A Dream

Oak Bay to host secondary suite open house on Thursday

Online secondary suite survey will run April 25 until May 10

Local author wins gold medal for new book Fat Cats

Former parks warden’s series welcomes new addition to the canon

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read