Gillis speaks: embattled GM pitches fans on return to uptempo hockey

Thomas Drance
April 03 2014 01:19PM


It's fair to say that Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has generally come across as sour, dour, and irascible during his regular Team 1040 appearances over the years. 

Even when he's working out to Bob Marley, in a situation where we might reasonably expect the THC and the endorphins to be flowing, the Canucks president and general manager has often seemed like a guy who'd literally rather be anywhere else in the world other than appearing on local sports talk radio to be grilled by the likes of Matt Sekeres, Scott Rintoul or Jason Botchford, or, alternatively, sucked up to by the Bro.

All of that huff and bluster which we've come to expect was conspicuously missing from Gillis' 1040 appearance on Thursday morning, however, as the embattled team executive appeared to be laying out a pitch to fans. The substance of that pitch: a return to the sort of high-tempo, entertaining style of hockey that the Canucks have gotten away from over the past several seasons.

It's a tough sales job facing a general manager and an organization coming off of a cataclysmic season like that which the Canucks have endured, and are still enduring. And it may not just be the fans that Gillis has to convince, which the general manager seemed well aware of as he admitted: "I'm not sure I'll be back next year." 

We'll unpack Gillis' comments after the jump.

The interview began with the Bro doing his best Mark Buerhle impression while lobbing the mother of all soft balls in Gillis' direction: asking about the success of the Canucks for Kids Telethon. 

From there, the interview got into questions about whether Gillis even enjoys being extraordinarily well compensated to run a professional sports team when he's being criticized in a ravenous hockey market like Vancouver. "No one is as hard on myself as I am," Gillis responded, while underlining that he still enjoys the job he has. Breaking news: competitive, self-confident executive remains competitive and self-confident.

Finally the interview got interesting, as Gillis was asked about Tortorella's performance in his first year as a head coach in Vancouver. Generally speaking Tortorella hasn't been a disaster by the underlying numbers, but the results haven't been there, and certainly the firey head coach's decision to ride the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler early has backfired

"John's a proven winner, he's a competitor" Gillis said of his controversial head coach, before adding that Tortorella would face a rigorous evaluation process at the end of the season. Still, Gillis refused to blame Tortorella entirely for the death spiral his team appears to have fallen into during the coach's inaugural season with the club: "When you have an entire team's level of performance drop off there has to be reasons for it, whether those reasons are attributable to one thing and one thing only is unlikely."

While Gillis didn't scapegoat Tortorella directly, he did focus on the team having, "got away from our core principles of how I want this team to play... and the tempo we want to play with." This sentiment was a constant theme throughout the interview.

Here's an example of the sort of slight of hand I'm talking about:

People love to pick someone to blame, but the reality is that, as an organization we've deviated from some of the things that have made us successful and some of the things that I know will be successful. We're going to get back to those levels, we're going to get back to the style of play that we started six years ago, we have the personnel to do it, we just have to be committed and have the guts to be able to carry it out.

Or in other words: "I'm not blaming anybody, but boy has our team got away from the style of play that made us successful."

Later in the interview, Gillis elaborated on what he sees as hallmarks or "fundamental principles" of the type of hockey he wants to see the Canucks play:

I want us to play upbeat, puck possession, move the puck quickly, force teams into mistakes, high transition game. I think we have the personnel to do it, if we don't have the personnel to do it they'll be changed. That's my vision, that's how I believe you're going to win in the Western Conference in the NHL. If you look at the top teams in the West, there isn't a lot that separates any of the teams in the West, but the top teams play that way.

You just have to watch any of the dozens of examples of Vancouver's constipated breakout to know that "transition" isn't an area that Tortorella's Canucks have excelled at. Actually Tortorella's plodding breakout schemes were an issue in New York too...

Here's what I found to be the single most interesting comment Gillis made on Vancouver's style of play and how that pertains to Tortorella's job security and future in Vancouver:

John's an accomplished coach, six years ago everyone thought Alain Vigneault couldn't change from a defensive style coach to an offensive style coach. If given the resources and if the players are committed to it, I think any coach can coach the team that he has, but having said that, our problems are far reaching and they will be addressed. If people don't want to get onside with how I view this team and how I want them to play, then they won't be here. Just like six years ago.

That's just a stupendous, meaty quote. You'll remember that Alain Vigneault was originally a Dave Nonis hire who was retained by the team when Gillis first took over. But Gillis interviewed Vigneault for weeks in a drawn out process, at the end of which Vigneault was retained. 

Vigneault's Canucks went from playing no-offense hockey under Nonis, to playing relatively high-event hockey under Gillis. In came a whole whack of blue-line speed (Christian Ehrhoff, Keith Ballard), blowing the zone was paramount, and the team morphed progressively into an above average offensive side and then an elite one. That offensive dynamism has come crashing down, however, over the past 130 games or so.

In the recent past Gillis pretty clearly asked Vigneault to adapt to the way he wanted to play, and Vigneault assented. Later on in Vigneault's tenure when the team sorely lacked depth, Vigneault asked the twins to play more cautiously and focus on their two-way game. When the new former Canucks bench boss returned to Vancouver with the New York Rangers this week, he joked that he'd turned Martin St. Louis into a defensive specialist and those words had an especially ominous ring for Canucks fans.

But we've digressed somewhat. The point here is that it's difficult not to imply from Gillis' comments that the general manager would like to see Tortorella amend his game plan somewhat and commit to playing the sort of "upbeat, puck possession, move the puck quickly, force teams into mistakes, high transition game," that Gillis says he favors. 

The good news for Canucks fans is that if the team is serious about emphasizing skill and playing some east-west hockey, then the club could be fun to watch again in the near future. The bad news? Gillis, it seems to me, opened the door for Tortorella to return next season, so long as that return includes a pledge to occasionally try and exit the defensive zone crisply and with possession of the puck.

Perhaps I have this all wrong, but that's what I took away from listening closely, transcribing, and reading way, way too much into Gillis' comments on Thursday morning. The Canucks executive said some other relatively interesting stuff too - like how the team has yet to begin negotiations with pending restricted free-agents Chris Tanev and Zack Kassian yet, and also that the club will spend to the salary cap this summer "provided the right players are there," to justify the expenditure. 

But those topics discussed during the interview will get short shrift in this space - at least for today. After all, for the next month or two the biggest sports story in Vancouver will have nothing to do with which players the Canucks retain or add in the offseason. It will pertain, rather, to the future of the disappointing Gillis/Tortorella axis at the helm of the Canucks.

Listen to the complete interview here.


3136ae487fac57943f99a50e66e4d6cf
Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
Avatar
#1 zipperhead
April 03 2014, 02:22PM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Props
20
props

Despite this crap season, I still want Gillis to give it another go. Don't think he's the tool that some suggest he is.

He inherited a a good team but got very good to great players to take less to stay in Van.

He didn't buckle under the pressure to trade away Kessler for a sub-par return.

And he has restocked the shelves with a good prospect group.

Give him another year to see what he can do. If he can't turn it around, show him the door and harvest a nice draft pick next June.

Avatar
#2 NM00
April 03 2014, 02:29PM
Trash it!
17
trashes
Props
13
props

@zipperhead

"He inherited a a good team but got very good to great players to take less to stay in Van."

False.

Players took "discounts" of their own volition.

It has nothing to do with Gillis' mind tricks.

Ray Shero is not a genius because Crosby & Malkin make far less than open market value, either.

"He didn't buckle under the pressure to trade away Kessler for a sub-par return."

As he did with Schneider & Luongo?

The fact that Kesler is still a Canuck should not be used as proof of Gillis' superior thought process.

"And he has restocked the shelves with a good prospect group."

Where are these prospects? And what makes them good? We've been hearing this nonsense for 6 years...

Six years of mismanagement should not merit a seventh year...

Avatar
#3 Finally.
April 03 2014, 04:55PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
13
props

One of my biggest concerns last summer about hiring Torts? He had no clue what puck possession was. He never mentioned it once during his "I'm hired speech". Meanwhile, I watched those words come from AV's mouth in his first sentence in NY. I knew what we were getting with Torts and it's come to fruition. This teams stinks.

He was never the right coach for this team. His old skool, neanderthal coaching strategies don't work anymore. Haven't for some time. Gillis knew this. That's why he didn't want to hire him. LeBrun on team 1040 yesterday saying everyone believes Aquilini hired Torts and management had to except it. Well, duh.

Gillis knows this is a puck possession league. Not a shot blocking one. You block a ton of shots = you don't have the puck. And you risk injuries.

This team needs a coach who understands puck possesion, perils of playing in Western conference, traveling a lot and ice management. They need a coach who will work with Gillis and team (like AV did). That man isn't, nor ever was, Tortorella.

Avatar
#4 NM00
April 03 2014, 02:25PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Props
12
props

"The good news for Canucks fans is that if the team is serious about emphasizing skill and playing some east-west hockey, then the club could be fun to watch again in the near future."

It's not as simple as throwing fairy dust on these players and saying "outshoot/outchance/outscore the opponent!"

"We had a plan six years to do it and we got as close as we could get. We learned a lot of lessons from that and I'm tired of chasing a moving target. We are going to get back to the fundamentals and the principles that I believe in and that's how we're going to play."

The people that actually believe Gillis is still acting rationally should take note of the above.

He fully admits he's been chasing a moving target (skill, size, skill again?) during his tenure in Vancouver and it's evident by the type of players he has targetted before and after the SCF.

Why would anyone want someone who admits he's been behind the curve to run the organization for which they cheer any longer?

And some of the other stuff (Lack for Calder!) shows just how out of touch with reality he has become...

Avatar
#5 Char Richo
April 03 2014, 01:46PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
10
props

Actually, this does make me feel a bit better. Now we can be sure that IF Torts is retained, it's because he has agreed to change up the style of hockey he's coaching to, and not because they're going to use the "injury excuse" and pretend that nothing was actually wrong with the style of hockey.

However, even if Tort is retained, I sincerely hope that Gully is gone. There is actually no excuse for how terrible the power play has become. And saying "we're trying everything" while simply throwing different (read:worse) players in to run the exact same plays that your best players couldn't make work, is at best oblivious, and at worst deliberately ignorant and completely incompetant. He should have been fired 2 months into the season imo, since it was clear by that point that he was totally useless.

Avatar
#6 NM00
April 03 2014, 02:31PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
10
props

@Char Richo

"However, even if Tort is retained, I sincerely hope that Gully is gone."

Firing the PP coach every year isn't magically going to make this over-the-hill core start to score goals again...

Avatar
#7 Char Richo
April 03 2014, 03:20PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
10
props

@NM00

My point was the managment of that power play. You use your best players on the power play, and if it's not working, you try a different strategy.

You don't use the same d@mn entry and the exact same plays ever single PP but just move all the players around and add some bottom-tier players into it and expect it to get any better. "We're trying everything we've got" should mean we're trying all sorts of different plays, not all sorts of different players in the exact same plays.

You're right, the core is over the hill but there's no possible way they should be 27th in the league in PP. I never said they should be 1st.

Avatar
#8 Jamie E
April 03 2014, 05:19PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
9
props
NM00 wrote:

Why would you trust a guy who admits he's deviated from the above plan to start telling the truth now?

And it's a lot easier said than done.

He may as well have said "I want us to outscore the opponent!"

I'm kind of enjoying settling into the role of embattled Mike Gillis defender.

I don't think this criticism is entirely fair. You imagine Mike Gillis in a world where he is entirely free of outside constraints and everything that happens in the organization flows entirely from him. I imagine his world is highly constrained by an active owner who inserts himself directly into a lot of hockey decisions.

It is widely rumoured that FA drove the bus on the 12 year Luongo extension, not MG. It is widely rumoured that FA drove the bus on the hiring of Torts.

Now a lot of GMs fall into the Brian Burke personality camp. In other words, if they don't have absolute total control, they walk. Gillis is not in this camp. I think he went into this gig knowing FA would be a handful and has allowed FA to hang himself with his own rope on Luongo and Torts. For Game of Thrones fans I think Gillis plays Varys to FA's King Joffrey routine.

I think he is genuinely unsure if his head or Tort's head will roll this summer, but he has staked out his public position today:

- Torts took the team's on ice play in a direction he doesn't like. - It's a choice between him or Torts, or at least a choice between him and a Torts who does what he's told.

The message he sent in the interview today was not directed at the players or the coaching staff. It was directed at ownership.

Avatar
#9 NM00
April 03 2014, 06:58PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
9
props

@Ruprecht

"It's time to face the fact that we've lost more than we've gained from this man's decision making."

Absolutely bang on.

The people who continually defend him seem to be working from the premise that he deserves the keys to the franchise until proven incompetent.

Yet the other side of the coin is rarely-if-ever mentioned.

What has he done in 6 years to make anyone believe he is competent and deserves a shot to lead the franchise during a period of rebuilding?

Although the year end pressers where he lets it be known how persecuted he is in the lower mainland market are always entertaining...

Avatar
#10 GeezMoney
April 03 2014, 01:32PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
7
props

"If people don't want to get onside with how I view this team and how I want them to play, then they won't be here."

But you can't kick out the entire city of Vancouver, can you?

Avatar
#11 Starling Albuquerque
April 03 2014, 03:14PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
7
props

#firetorts

Avatar
#12 NM00
April 03 2014, 04:14PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
7
props
FosterWatch wrote:

I don't know. If this:

"I want us to play upbeat, puck possession, move the puck quickly, force teams into mistakes, high transition game"

is what he's planning to (re)impliment, and if (and it's a HUGE if) he can actually pull it off, I don't think you'll find too many in Vancouver complaining.

Anything to move us back to the halcyon days of the 2010-11 season. Uh, except those nasty few days in June.

Why would you trust a guy who admits he's deviated from the above plan to start telling the truth now?

And it's a lot easier said than done.

He may as well have said "I want us to outscore the opponent!"

Avatar
#13 PB
April 03 2014, 07:23PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
7
props

@Jamie E

I don't think that Gillis has all the freedom in the world and I do think you are right that part of the message may have been directed at ownership. But I don't see Gillis as being completely hamstrung in the decisions he's made either. I came into this season generally ok with the sacking of AV who despite a lot of success seemed to be getting stale, and very cautious about Tortorella who seemed like a very odd choice for this group of players. But I was still willing to give Gillis the benefit of the doubt. If this season's proved one thing it's that the coaching is a part of the problem but only insofar as moving the pieces that the GM's given them. Yes I think the style is terrible and a mismatch with players, that Tortorella is horribly out of touch with his methods and that the power play is partially the fault of the coaches. But the lack of depth, the lack of direction, the creation of melodrama where there didn't need to be -- Schneider, Luongo, Kesler, every one of these -- all of it is about a fundamental lack of leadership and direction from the top.

Gillis neither needs nor deserves your protection. He's made this bed and flip flopping (yet again) isn't going to change anything. I'm going to draft overages. No wait I'll draft two-way players. No wait I'll sign college FAs. No wait I'll trade for projects. No wait I'll get us bigger and stronger. No wait I'll get some smallish speedy defensemen. What the hell is the plan? Some of it works occasionally but come on, this act is way too tired and frankly I was insulted by the whole "let's turn back the clock" routine. You know what's not the same as six years ago and playing an up-tempo system? 27 year old Sedins, a 28 year old Luongo, a 22 year old Kesler, a 26 year old Burrows and Bieksa, and a 20 year old Edler. So unless Gillis has also discovered a fountain of youth for this core or has an actual plan to get a coach to teach his nonexistent replacement core how to play what the hell is he talking about?

Avatar
#14 Riot Sqodd
April 03 2014, 09:09PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
7
props

Another plea by Gillis like a politician to the many delusional with too much money to waste hipster fans, obviously an order decreed by AquaFini himself. This franchise is in such s world of sad sad hurt. It's bad enough that they haven't done anything for 44 years, now, the issue here is not even credibility anymore but the fact that the team and the whole organization itself is a joke. The never had any direction and now they can't even lose on purpose for the future.

Anyone who has a brain saw this coming. When you go from losing so convincingly in the finals to two first round exits where you win one game, you know some incompetent fakkers where sitting on their asses all that time. Face it, AquaFini has his useless hand in all this, and Gillis is nothing more than a useless front man, just like the figureheads they call their leaders in the US controlled by big money.

For gods sake, just look at all the Italians on this team. Not that I have anything against Italians but fakk me, there are more Italians on this team than in the Italian Job. AquaFini has turned this team into little Italy on ice. Everyone has checked out and yes, the Canucks have a lot of mules and unicorns on the team but the players, as useless as they are, don't trade themselves and sign contracts, its AquaFini and his underlings. This team is run worse than BestBuy and their greedy dumb execs.

This is nothing for than just more talk, more smoke and mirrors, more stalling for time, more BS and just plain old wasting time. Gee, I wonder where Sedin gets his BS and talk from every night? AquaFini needs to change the name of his team to the Vancouver Talkers. 45 is around the corner and 50 is sure to follow. All that's left for the faithful to do is lap it all up open their wallets like good fanboys and buy more tickets. LOL

Avatar
#15 FosterWatch
April 03 2014, 03:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
6
props
GeezMoney wrote:

"If people don't want to get onside with how I view this team and how I want them to play, then they won't be here."

But you can't kick out the entire city of Vancouver, can you?

I don't know. If this:

"I want us to play upbeat, puck possession, move the puck quickly, force teams into mistakes, high transition game"

is what he's planning to (re)impliment, and if (and it's a HUGE if) he can actually pull it off, I don't think you'll find too many in Vancouver complaining.

Anything to move us back to the halcyon days of the 2010-11 season. Uh, except those nasty few days in June.

Avatar
#16 Head Office
April 03 2014, 09:30PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
6
props

@andyg

Dude, why don't you just do your part and stop putting money into the owners of the Schmucks pockets and then everyone there will get fired? We all know the problem starts from the top. The owner is the first problem, followed by the idiot Gillis and the rest of the management he brought in...they in turn brought in the quitters known as the team. You have a business man trying to farm, who's hired a chimney sweeper to run a horse race, who's brought in donkeys to run the horse race. Your franchise is in such a pathetic state it isn't even funny anymore, it's hilarious!

And the same can be said for the rest of the Canadian teams. Bettman has single handedly destroyed the game of hockey. Sure sure, the owners and players are making more money, but there isn't any integrity in the game anymore. The refs where bad before, but now they're just game managers. # penalties for this team, 3 for that team. No more than a certain amount of calls or else it ruins the flow. this US team needs helps, so they get the calls. The game is a big joke now. You got a bonehead named Shanahan who is in charge of dolling out disciplinary suspensions. Shanahan! This guy isn't isn't even smart enough to lay bricks on concrete and yet here he is. The guy who gave him his job had a son playing for Boston for Christ sake, no conflict of interest there.

The Canadian fans are so stupid it boggles the mind. It's no secret since Bettman got in, no Canadian team has and will ever win the cup again. Yeah, Montreal lucked out and Bettman sure as hell made sure that never happens again. And yet you fans keep paying and paying, just like the voters who keep voting for the same two or three parties ear after year, decade after decade. As if buy spending more money of that scheme, somehow things will change.

Do you know why Americans don't get hockey? It's because when it comes to basketball or football or baseball, the umpires actually make calls when a call needs to be made. They are referees, no the game managers the NHL has. NHL is so bush league. There are less calls in OT than there are in the regular periods. Why is that? Are there less infractions in overtime? No, it's all about manipulation and many ppl have tuned out a long time ago. I could care less if monkeys won the cup, cause I know the league is one big phony con. See you later suckers! HAHAHA!

Avatar
#17 NM00
April 03 2014, 04:16PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
5
props

@Char Richo

The PP was awful last year and at least the 5v4 possession has improved.

Would you like to try Gully for Newell Brown and give him another shot?

Someone necessarily has to be the worst PP in the league or one of the worst in the case of Vancouver.

It's entirely possible Gully is pushing all of the correct buttons but the players simply are not as good as they used to be...

Avatar
#18 JFR
April 03 2014, 06:48PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
5
props

I was reading an article in the Province, that may have been written by Botchford, but a scout described the Canucks as "they play slow"! That's what I have seen all year. I thought it may just be a wicked hangover I haven't shaken or just frustration of losing that makes it seem that way, but they plLay slow. It's Torts fault because of his style. I have no problem with the Sedins playing PK or more mins, but having the team play a style that doesn't fit their strengths is arrogant.

A coaches #1 job is to put the players in a position to succeed, anything else is arrogant. I wanted Torts before the season because I thought his fiery personality would rub off on a team that was growing stale under AV. I was wrong because I didn't think he would try and play LA Kings style hockey with this group. If ownership doesn't fire torts and buyout Booth then $$$$ are the bottom line. Canucks fans have sold the joint out for over a decade and deserve better than keeping a huge mistake to save a few bucks. Man up Q!

Avatar
#19 NM00
April 03 2014, 06:48PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
5
props

@Jamie E

"You imagine Mike Gillis in a world where he is entirely free of outside constraints and everything that happens in the organization flows entirely from him. I imagine his world is highly constrained by an active owner who inserts himself directly into a lot of hockey decisions."

If you want to be accurate, I imagine the world of all 30 GMs is highly constrained by an active owner who inserts himself directly into a lot of hockey decisions...

Avatar
#20 NM00
April 03 2014, 07:01PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
5
props

@Jamie E

"The message he sent in the interview today was not directed at the players or the coaching staff. It was directed at ownership."

What does Gillis gain by airing his dirty laundry in public as opposed to, you know, having a conversation with ownership?

Nothing he said in his interview today is going to help him maintain the only general manager job he's ever going to have in the NHL...

Avatar
#21 PB
April 03 2014, 09:45PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
5
props

@Head Office

Yes, you're right, football, baseball or basketball never have controversies with referees, with them blowing calls, betting on games they're calling, or completing missing plays. That's why the NFL has challenges, MLB introduced replays, and basketball has Ts for yelling at the refs. You're completely right, all of those "American" sports are perfectly and objectively evaluated and the leagues never have lockouts or strikes or any problems whatsoever. Convincingly argued with excellent evidence.

Avatar
#22 Ruprecht
April 03 2014, 11:01PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
5
props

@NM00

"What has he done in 6 years to make anyone believe he is competent and deserves a shot to lead the franchise during a period of rebuilding?"

"Lead us so far away from what was 6 years ago that we need to take major steps to get back to it. Although the year end pressers where he lets it be known how persecuted he is in the lower mainland market are always entertaining..."

This year he's managed to broaden that cry all the way to Toronto.

I'm in NM00, pitchforks and torches at dawn!!

Avatar
#23 GeezMoney
April 03 2014, 01:29PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
4
props

I feel so assured now :(

Avatar
#24 NM00
April 03 2014, 05:05PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
4
props

@Char Richo

Novel concept: instead of trying a 3rd coach in 3 years and hope that the next one comes with his own supply of fairy dust, how about change the players?

Folding the club can be plan B...

Avatar
#25 NM00
April 03 2014, 05:09PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
4
props

@Finally.

"He was never the right coach for this team. His old skool, neanderthal coaching strategies don't work anymore. Haven't for some time. Gillis knew this. That's why he didn't want to hire him."

And you are basing this entirely on Lebrun saying "everyone believes" Aquillini hired Torts?

There's zero evidence that Torts wasn't Gillis' #1 choice for the coaching job...

Avatar
#26 Char Richo
April 03 2014, 05:32PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
4
props

@NM00

If you made the wrong hire, you should be willing to say it's not the right fit, and keep looking. Try 10 coaches in 10 years if that's what it takes, although you should really re-assess your ability to make good hiring decisions in that case.

You're being entirely unrealistic if you think they can just get rid of all the players they have and get all new players. It doesn't really work like that. There will be changes, I'm sure, hopefully ones which will help. But Gully has done nothing to convince anyone that he can make a power play work on this team, even with different parts.

Avatar
#27 andyg
April 03 2014, 08:25PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Props
4
props

@NM00

Every thing you right comes back to the same thing. Fire Gillis,fire Gillis. We get it already!

If not Gillis then who? Keep in mind that the only manager that the owners directly hired is Gillis. They also had huge input into Torts! They will be choosing the next one also.

Some times the devil you know is better than the one you don't.

So tell us who are your options rather than harp on fire Gillis.

Avatar
#28 PB
April 03 2014, 09:42PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
4
props

@andyg

I wasn't on the firegillis bandwagon until the last three months but now I'm firmly on board. I also don't in any way understand the mentality that Gillis is somehow our only option or for that matter the notion that this is the first time we've ever seen an owner meddle in SOME matters (coach, franchise players). Have we somehow forgotten Wirtz or Jacobs or guys like McNall? Come on, owners are ALWAYS going to be involved, especially when we're talking about multimillion dollar deals for long term. Whatever.

There are a LOT of GM options out there. This is not to say we should fire Gillis for the sake of a hashtag. We should see the end of Gillis because of a lack of production -- not getting a Stanley Cup, because I don't think that's the only measure of success. If he'd been able to "manage" a steady state of wins and competitiveness I'd say he'd done his job.

Look at some of the names that come up whenever there's an opening (like in Buffalo recently) -- Botteril (Pitts), Fenton (NAS), Hextall (Kings), you even hear Gilman's name mentioned often but I don't think that's a wise idea if you're dumping Gillis.

Saying it's Gillis or no one makes zero sense to me.

Avatar
#29 Char Richo
April 03 2014, 04:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props

@NM00

It's possible. It's also possible that's NOT the case. But clearly they should just give up right?

I mean, they obviously have to try something else. They can't just fold the club, even if that's what it seems like you would have them do.

Avatar
#30 Ruprecht
April 03 2014, 05:45PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props
zipperhead wrote:

Despite this crap season, I still want Gillis to give it another go. Don't think he's the tool that some suggest he is.

He inherited a a good team but got very good to great players to take less to stay in Van.

He didn't buckle under the pressure to trade away Kessler for a sub-par return.

And he has restocked the shelves with a good prospect group.

Give him another year to see what he can do. If he can't turn it around, show him the door and harvest a nice draft pick next June.

This is exactly where I was at the start of this season. Not next year. I say if we still want to keep him around to earn some of his millions give him an organizational role, but clip his wings. I'm not into another season of watching a wealth of assets erode under his direction, or lack thereof. It's time to face the fact that we've lost more than we've gained from this man's decision making. The end results speak for themselves.

Avatar
#31 NM00
April 03 2014, 06:53PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
3
props

@Char Richo

You don't have to get rid of "all the players".

But trying the same thing over and over again with the same (over the hill) core was always going to fail.

"Gully has done nothing to convince anyone that he can make a power play work on this team, even with different parts."

It would be more accurate to suggest Gillis has done nothing to convince anyone that he can run a successful team if he doesn't inherit the pieces on a platter...

Gully may be a fine PP coach. The 5v4 possession is there.

Are you suggesting Gully has designed a system that suppresses 5v4 shooting percentage?

Or is the thought process pretty much "the PP sucks, fire the coach!"

Avatar
#32 Jamie E
April 03 2014, 09:29PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
3
props
NM00 wrote:

"You imagine Mike Gillis in a world where he is entirely free of outside constraints and everything that happens in the organization flows entirely from him. I imagine his world is highly constrained by an active owner who inserts himself directly into a lot of hockey decisions."

If you want to be accurate, I imagine the world of all 30 GMs is highly constrained by an active owner who inserts himself directly into a lot of hockey decisions...

Clever rebuttal but clearly inaccurate. There are GMs in this league who very clearly act without obvious micromanagement from ownership. Sometimes they get fired, which is an ownership decision but they run the day to day hockey ship, within a set budget envelope, without obvious meddling.

FA probably never really had enough money to own a major market NHL franchise. These days that's a playground that billionaires and he 'ain't even close, especially after the divorce. I think that is partially what drives his interference.

Avatar
#33 Head Office
April 03 2014, 10:01PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props

@PB

And you're so right hockey down there is still considered bush league. Face it, the refs up here face no accountability. Do you remember when Marchand was feeing his glove in Sedins face? Evidence number one. You don't worry about pointing your finger at someone else, just worry about the bush league you got. The refs down there make the calls, and some of them actually come out an apologize for making a big mistake. Ever heard of that in the NHL? It's still better than the NHL, where refs hold grudges against teams and players. That's the NHL for you. The NHL, still trying to sell hockey where palm trees grow. Now, you don't need to worry about anything, just open up your wallet and do your Canadian service and put that money into the owners and Bettmans and the players pockets, you know you want to and you know you will. Yes sir, yes sir three bas full.

Avatar
#34 Fed Up Fan
April 03 2014, 10:11PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
3
props

Team 1040 is a joke. Those suck-ups are as credible as Don Cherry running the Girl Scouts.

Gillis, its time for you to stop talking and start walking. And take the rest of the talkers like the sisters with ya.

And while you're at it, you can give your alter ego named " Mark Eddie" on the Province Sports comment section a rest. You aint fooling anyone, homie. Time for you to get a new career in Bulls%tting. Try politics.

Avatar
#35 chocoball
April 03 2014, 11:07PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props

@NM00

Gillis stinks as a GM, but he's right about how the Canucks should be playing... The problem is that he just hasn't been able to bring in the skill AND depth to win.

Who would be better in his place?

Avatar
#36 NM00
April 04 2014, 01:17PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
3
props
Ruprecht wrote:

Gillis employed this style? That's even more rich. More like he let the key pieces to employing this style go unreplaced, and now is crying the blues about how we need to get back to it. Feel free to pull the wool back over your eyes when you are done reading this.

Gillis never lets an opportunity slip to remind everyone about the glory years in and around 2011.

Of course, he continually fails to give credit to the people who constructed the overwhelming majority of that roster.

Sedin/Sedin/Burrows

Raymond/Kesler/Grabner

Pyatt/Santorelli/Hansen

Hamhuis/Bieksa

Edler/Salo

Mitchell/Garrison

Luongo/Schneider

The above roster, while certainly imperfect, is better than the current Canucks roster.

It also consists of players acquired by Burke, Nonis and the geographical advantage the Canucks possess with BC natives.

The fact that Gillis could have done nothing aside from retain the core he inherited and accept gifts from BC natives to have a BETTER team than his current one speaks volumes...

Avatar
#37 Ruprecht
April 04 2014, 05:01PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props
NM00 wrote:

Gillis never lets an opportunity slip to remind everyone about the glory years in and around 2011.

Of course, he continually fails to give credit to the people who constructed the overwhelming majority of that roster.

Sedin/Sedin/Burrows

Raymond/Kesler/Grabner

Pyatt/Santorelli/Hansen

Hamhuis/Bieksa

Edler/Salo

Mitchell/Garrison

Luongo/Schneider

The above roster, while certainly imperfect, is better than the current Canucks roster.

It also consists of players acquired by Burke, Nonis and the geographical advantage the Canucks possess with BC natives.

The fact that Gillis could have done nothing aside from retain the core he inherited and accept gifts from BC natives to have a BETTER team than his current one speaks volumes...

You missed the prospect pool differential. He came to a stocked AHL cupboard and a minor league team performing well. Now...well we got junior prospects and our first year in a few of not sharing an AHL franchise. A team we scrambled to fill, Utica.

I will not disagree with you on anything you argue for getting this guy out of town. The damage is still reversible while we have some money to spend. It just doesn't make sense in my mind to give the wallet to the guy who's mismanagement led to our need to spend replacing parts, instead of having the luxury of spending to add parts.

To me, that's the biggest difference. Despite Gillis saying the situations are similar. He ate the cupboard bare.

Avatar
#38 JA
April 03 2014, 01:29PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props

Thanks for the writeup. Happy to avoid listening to Gillis talk any time I can help it.

I guess he had no thoughts on the assistants? This season has seemed as much about bumbling powerplays as plodding breakouts.

The ESPN article has a paywall, btw.

Avatar
#39 andyg
April 03 2014, 10:09PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props

@PB

I am not against Gillis being moved out. I just don't harp on it.

I also don't have much confidence in what they might hire next.

Avatar
#40 Ruprecht
April 04 2014, 09:24AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props
Gordon wrote:

That's rich. I'm pretty sure the entire city of Vancouver would like to see the Canucks get away from the unwatchable hockey of this season that resulted in the worst Canucks season in recent history to the highly entertaining - and highly successful hockey - that Gillis employed before the Aquilinis started taking over. LMFAO.

Gillis employed this style? That's even more rich. More like he let the key pieces to employing this style go unreplaced, and now is crying the blues about how we need to get back to it. Feel free to pull the wool back over your eyes when you are done reading this.

Avatar
#41 NM00
April 04 2014, 01:04PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props
andyg wrote:

Every thing you right comes back to the same thing. Fire Gillis,fire Gillis. We get it already!

If not Gillis then who? Keep in mind that the only manager that the owners directly hired is Gillis. They also had huge input into Torts! They will be choosing the next one also.

Some times the devil you know is better than the one you don't.

So tell us who are your options rather than harp on fire Gillis.

And it all comes back to "fire Aquillini!" for you...

Why must I give you the names of the oft-mentioned future GM candidates for me to want a GM change?

It's not either/or.

Gillis has shown himself to be unfit for the job, in my opinion.

The next guy may be better or worse.

These are coveted positions as only 30 of them exist...

Avatar
#42 NM00
April 04 2014, 01:12PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props
chocoball wrote:

Gillis stinks as a GM, but he's right about how the Canucks should be playing... The problem is that he just hasn't been able to bring in the skill AND depth to win.

Who would be better in his place?

Who cares what he says about how the Canucks should be playing?

Look at his actions...

Avatar
#43 Dr. T
April 03 2014, 03:42PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

Drance! I saw you got an article on Vice. Nice buddy, when's your exposé on the cannibal hockey players of Siberia?

Avatar
#44 Wetcoaster
April 04 2014, 12:25AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

To be fair to GMMG, being featured on Sekeres & Price is probably an exercise in recalibrating a lack of faith in humanity.

Avatar
#45 Gordon
April 04 2014, 06:15AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props

@GeezMoney

That's rich. I'm pretty sure the entire city of Vancouver would like to see the Canucks get away from the unwatchable hockey of this season that resulted in the worst Canucks season in recent history to the highly entertaining - and highly successful hockey - that Gillis employed before the Aquilinis started taking over. LMFAO.

Avatar
#46 NM00
April 04 2014, 01:08PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props

@Jamie E

"There are GMs in this league who very clearly act without obvious micromanagement from ownership. Sometimes they get fired, which is an ownership decision but they run the day to day hockey ship, within a set budget envelope, without obvious meddling."

Give me an "Ownership Interference" nominal ranking, the methodology behind your ranking structure and maybe I'll believe that the Aquillini's are significantly more meddlesome than the average ownership.

To be clear, Aquillini may be the most meddlesome owner in the NHL.

He might also be the owner who gives his GM the greatest amount of autonomy.

Neither of us know.

But I encourage you to stop living in a bubble and lapping up rumblings about Aquillini and research the other 29 owners in the NHL...

Avatar
#47 NM00
April 04 2014, 02:19PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props
Samson wrote:

That's wrong when Nonis came in he said we needed to gear our game to a defensive approach, that's why he traded for Luongo and signed Willie Mitchell. Gillis is the one who started us down the "up-tempo" path by bringing in Ehrhoff and getting AV to switch to a more puck-possession-centric style.

BS.

Explain to me what Gillis had to do with the core he inherited hitting the prime of their careers while he was GM?

Sedin, Sedin, Kesler & Burrows (among others) simply weren't ready to take over from the WCE by finger snapping alone.

If you want to give Gillis credit for Ehrhoff, by all means, he deserves it.

He had nothing to do with teaching Luongo how to play goal, either...

Avatar
#48 Samson
April 04 2014, 12:48PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props
Ruprecht wrote:

Gillis employed this style? That's even more rich. More like he let the key pieces to employing this style go unreplaced, and now is crying the blues about how we need to get back to it. Feel free to pull the wool back over your eyes when you are done reading this.

That's wrong when Nonis came in he said we needed to gear our game to a defensive approach, that's why he traded for Luongo and signed Willie Mitchell. Gillis is the one who started us down the "up-tempo" path by bringing in Ehrhoff and getting AV to switch to a more puck-possession-centric style.

Avatar
#49 islander
April 04 2014, 04:32PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props

So if Gillis is ousted, who is out there to replace him?

Comments are closed for this article.