This evening, some Vancouver Canucks fans are probably wondering if the team will ever win a Stanley Cup in their lifetime.
Since entering the NHL in 1970-71, the team has often been dreadful, sometimes been above average, and was really only among the elite squads over a sustained period of time under coach Alain Vigneault.
But Vigneault could never take the team all the way. He oversaw the collapse against the Bruins at the end of the 2010–11 Stanley Cup final, the early departure against the Los Angeles Kings last year, and the looming elimination by the Sharks in the first round this year.
Vigneault decided to start Cory Schneider tonight in Game 3 even though Roberto Luongo played exceptionally well in the first two games of the series.
"Roberto wasn’t the reason we lost those last two games," Vigneault told reporters. "Cory was healthy. He was the guy I wanted to go with. It was my decision.”
Schneider ended up allowing some soft goals in the third period on the way to a 5-2 loss. This has put Vigneault's job in jeopardy.
Luongo said in a postgame interview that there are a "couple of guys playing their hearts out", but Vancouver needs all 20 to show up for Game 4.
The veteran goalie might as well have said that some of the guys are phoning it in—and that's not good enough at this time of the year, especially considering their multimillion-dollar annual salaries.
If the players aren't performing up to their abilities, the usual management response is to find a new coach.
If Vancouver loses on Tuesday (May 7) in San Jose, it's hard to see how Vigneault could possibly return for another season in Vancouver.