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

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

Police rule out foul play in death of man found in Saanich

The B.C. Coroners Service will now conduct an investigation

West Shore RCMP snag suspected thief with bait bike

GPS-equipped bike leads police to arrest suspect in Langford

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

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

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read