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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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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Greasy Lightning goals allow Tampa to reign supreme

Thomas Drance
March 17 2014 09:22PM


Really this, a 4-3 loss to the Lightning, was the best possible outcome for the Canucks.

Vancouver didn't pick up any points on Monday night, falling to the Lightning in the second of back-to-back games in the bath salts state. Vancouver had "won" the first leg of the back-to-back set, defeating Roberto Luongo's Florida Panthers in a shootout on Sunday night. So this was a massive improvement. Losses may not be satisfying in the short-term, but we might as well face it, at this point in the year every point not banked is a subtle victory.

It helps that the game was legitimately entertaining. Alex Burrows continued to get back on track, and Nicklas Jensen generated a high volume of scoring chances all night long. Such developments are positive signs for the team going forward, as is the club falling further out of the playoffs (and deeper into the lottery). More on the game after the jump!

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Luong Time Coming: Luongo traded to Panthers

Thomas Drance
March 04 2014 02:56PM


It took two years of controversy, countless false alarms, another high-end goalie being traded, an emotional press conference at the 2013 NHL trade deadline, and a complete fanbase meltdown at BC Place this past weekend. But finally, mercifully, Roberto Luongo has been re-assigned to Vancouver's Eastern Conference affiliate traded to the Florida Panthers.

Luongo has confirmed the deal and even tweeted out an emoticon of a palm tree. Obviously he's excited about going home. 

Coming back to Vancouver is a package that includes Jacob Markstrom - who Eddie Lack used to backup in Brynas - and probably forward Shawn Matthias. The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly, and unsurprisingly, retaining a portion of Luongo's salary in the transaction supposedly 15% or 800,000. You have to retain an equal proportion of both salary and cap-hit under the league's retained salary transaction provisions so, yeah. Also the Canucks are sending Stephen Anthony to Florida. He's not a prospect and that's just a book keeping part of the deal.

Click past the jump for more.

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Team USA eases Ryan Kesler into inevitable heel turn and other Olympic notes

Thomas Drance
February 10 2014 03:31PM

NHL players spent Sunday travelling to Sochi on a series of charter flights, and got right down to it on Monday by practicing with their respective national teams. 

Where in the lineup are Canucks players slotting in for Teams Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Latvia and the United States? Who has replaced Henrik Sedin for the Tre Kronor? Are you ready to deal with hating Ryan Kesler for a couple of weeks? Read past the jump.

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