Oh, the unmistakable irony. The first team to be eliminated from the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs is the Vancouver Canucks. The team that came within a win of lifting the Cup two years ago. A team whose smugness face-washed outsiders the wrong way. A team accused of embellishing hits to draw penalties until, finally, it tossed the same accusation at the San Jose Sharks; a laughable turnabout that smacked of desperation.

Well, that team is done and about to face significant change. It has to. Losing 3-2 in overtime Tuesday in San Jose sealed a four-game ousting and offered proof the Canucks are no longer good enough or deep enough to challenge for the Cup.

They didn’t get any effort worth applauding until Game 4. Key players were lost for too long; secondary players never showed up. The goaltending was a mess. When defenceman Kevin Bieksa chided the Sharks’ Joe Thornton and Logan Couture for being un-Canadian by trying to draw penalties, it was more than a weak ploy. It was embarrassing.

Equally embarrassing was who was in the penalty box when San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored the tying goal to force OT. It was Bieksa, for cross-checking. Then it was Daniel Sedin penalized in OT for a boarding call that might have gone unpunished at another time. But not last night when irony ruled and Patrick Marleau scored on the ensuing power play to give the Sharks their first playoff sweep in franchise history.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the Canucks’ failings, start with general manager Mike Gillis. He dithered with goalie Roberto Luongo and should have traded him for help at forward but didn’t. Instead, Gillis acquired Derek Roy at the Trade Deadline and thought that was enough. Gillis’ decision to get Zack Kassian doesn’t look good, either, but the GM will survive.

The same can’t be said for head coach Alain Vigneault. He’s spent seven years with the Canucks and the team, with its aging core and limited prospects, is in need of new direction, new leadership. It’s that time.

Undoubtedly, no one suspected the Canucks were going to get past either Chicago or Anaheim in the Western Conference. But few were thinking Vancouver would be beaten four straight in Round One. That it happened the way it did with all those penalties going against them, and all their stars out of sync, just made the ending seem all the more deserving.

There may be no joy in B.C., but the rest of the NHL is feeling pretty good about that.