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.

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My love-hate relationship with Ryan Kesler

The Stanchion
April 03 2014 11:14AM

keshat

With the Canucks season quickly turning into golfing season, it leaves many Canucks writers with few options of what to talk about. You either write about who/what was to blame for the bad season, or you write about lemon loaf recipes. 

Seeing as how Dimitri has a killer lemon loaf recipe queued up for later this week (it involves 2 tablespoons of the tears of Canucks fans and 1 cup of failed Stanley Cup aspirations), I was going to write a piece on how Roger Takahashi was to blame for the failed 2014 season. 

However, I figure I can save that Takahashi attack piece for the draft, and instead I want to use today to talk about Ryan Kesler. With Kesler's future up in the air like that of a cliffhanger of a Spanish soap opera, it has made me reflect upon the time Ryan has spent in Vancouver.

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The Final 5 Tank Battles of 2013-14

Dimitri Filipovic
April 02 2014 04:07PM

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via @CrownRoyal22

It has been a steady, progressive, and miserable fall from grace for the Vancouver Canucks this season, as they've seen any hopes they had for a playoff run evaporate into thin air. It seems like it was ages age now, but in reality it was only 3 months ago that this team was sitting pretty with a 23-11-6 following a 2-0 victory against the Calgary Flames. They won 10 times in December, losing only once in regulation for the entirety of that month. 

Here comes the "buuuttttt.." -- but then, absolutely everything - and I. mean. everything. - fell apart. A rash of injuries to key players (the blueline was decimated, but Henrik Sedin's was the most critical for my money) coincided with a drastic uptick in the difficulty of the schedule, and their inability to get any sort of puck luck was reflected by the catacylsmic dip in their PDO

It was essentially hockey's on-ice version of a natural disaster. That's how we've gotten to this point; it's April 2nd, and instead of figuring out the playoff path of least resistance we're spending our time trying to grease the wheels of that tank pictured above.

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Rangers, Vigneault get the last (and never ending) chuckle in return to Vancouver

Thomas Drance
April 01 2014 11:54PM


On Tuesday night the Vancouver Canucks welcomed former bench boss Alain Vigneault and his New York Rangers to the friendly, if sparsely attended, confines of Rogers Arena. Vancouver's club played really well against an Eastern Conference team that I personally expect to make the Conference Finals, assuming Ryan McDonagh's apparent shoulder injury isn't too serious, of course. 

But despite a Herculean effort from Vancouver's top-line the Canucks lost 3-1 and came undone thanks to some weak special teams play. 

Read past the jump for more.

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Canucks Army GDT #77 - Rangers @ Canucks

Dimitri Filipovic
April 01 2014 02:08PM

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I know that the vast overanalysis and excessive reaching for comparisons between the guy who used to sit behind the bench for the Vancouver Canucks and the guy that currently does can become a bit nauseating at times. Particularly on days like today, when the former comes back to town with his new team.

But still, I'll take that over what's become status quo; citing the team's dwindling playoff odds courtesy of Sports Club Stats, and discussing the injury de jour. Things have gotten pretty stale and dry around these parts, and the return of Alain Vigneault to the town where he enjoyed 7 largely successful seasons at least helps provide a little bit of a distraction, or reprieve from the sad reality the Canucks face these days. Even if it's only for 24 hours.

So kick back, relax, have a lozenge, and get set for tonight's game between the Rangers and Canucks.

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