After a 19-season head coaching career spanning four teams, seasoned NHL bench boss Alain Vigneault has declared his retirement from coaching in an interview with the Journal de Québec, according to a report from French-Canadian outlet RDS.
Vigneault, still under contract with the Flyers after being fired in December of 2021, made it clear that his last contract would be his final one and that he has no intention of returning to coaching. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported last summer that Philadelphia was likely Vigneault’s final stop as an NHL head coach.
The 62-year-old Canadian coach leaves behind a rather illustrious coaching career – Vigneault’s 1,363 games behind an NHL bench places him 15th in NHL history for most games coached. He accumulated over 700 wins throughout his coaching journey, a feat achieved by only nine other coaches in NHL history.
However, he didn’t quite reach hockey’s pinnacle, never getting his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Although he made the playoffs in 12 of his 19 seasons, he advanced twice to the Stanley Cup Final, losing in both tries.
Vigneault’s coaching tenure in the NHL began in the 1997-98 season when he took the helm of the Montreal Canadiens. He then went on to coach the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and finally, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Vigneault’s primary piece of individual hardware came in 2006-07, winning the Jack Adams Award in his first season with the Canucks after guiding the team to a 49-26-7 record and Northwest Division title. Vancouver would bow out in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, thanks to a relatively innocuous double-overtime winner in Game 5 from Ducks defender Scott Niedermayer (video link).
Vancouver was undoubtedly Vigneault’s most successful stop, as he would win back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies with the team in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The Canucks made their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in nearly two decades in 2011 but fell to the Boston Bruins in seven games after taking a 2-0 lead in the series.
Vigneault made it back to the Final three seasons later with the New York Rangers but lost all three overtime games in the series en route to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings.
Before starting his coaching career, Vigneault had a brief playing stint as an NHLer. He played 42 games as a defenseman for the St. Louis Blues in the 1980s before transitioning to coaching at just 25 years old.
He does boast an all-time playoff record of 78-77, a rare mark above .500 for a coach without a Cup victory. With his longevity placing him in the upper echelon of all-time NHL coaches, as well as a Jack Adams and two conference championships, it wouldn’t surprise many to see a call from the Hockey Hall of Fame in his future.
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