April 08 2014 05:52PM
I come to bury Mike Gillis; not to mourn him.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a day of dizzying rumors - a management shake-up, Trevor Linden in as President? - the Vancouver Canucks pulled the plug on the "Mike Gillis era". Gillis had become a controversial figure in Vancouver, as underscored by Monday night's "Fire Gillis!" chant at Rogers arena, owing almost entirely to his mixed managerial record. While there are the obvious successes to point to: six seasons, five playoff appearances, the NHL's fifth best record during that span, two President's Trophies, and one Stanley Cup Finals appearance; there are also the obvious blemishes.
The sordid way the goaltending situation played out was an unmitigated mess, a fireable offense all on its own. It should be noted that Gillis' bets on the trade market were also generally poor (Christian Ehrhoff the major exception), and Gillis drafted players combined to appear in a paltry 54 NHL games this season for the Canucks. Even worse, you couldn't reasonably describe any of those Gillis draftees (Yann Sauve, Nicklas Jensen, Jordan Schroeder, Frank Corrado) as obvious core pieces.
Firing Gillis is a rupture for this organization, an epochal termination. Though the age was tinged with a perma-film of sweaty arrogance and will always be associated with the 2010-11 team blowing a flat in game seven and the riot that followed, the age of Gillis as Canucks general manager was generally a very successful one for the organization.
Read on past the jump.
April 08 2014 02:01PM
The fans that chanted "Fire Gillis" near the conclusion of last night's home defeat to the Anaheim Ducks - putting a firm seal on any sort of outside shot the team had at a playoff bid - got what they wanted today.
According to reports, General Manager Mike Gillis has been let go by the Vancouver Canucks after 6 largely successful seasons on the job. But this is a "what have you done lately for me?" business, and things had completely gone off the rails for the franchise that was one win away from being a Stanley Cup Champion less than 3 years ago.
With the team mired in a tailspin, there'd been all sorts of rumblings floating around for a while now that Gillis wasn't long for this job. While it was believed that he may've helped alleviate some of that tension with his inspiring interview on Team 1040 last Thursday, apparently it wasn't nearly enough to save him from getting the axe.
The best head coach, goaltender, and GM in franchise history have now all become casualties in the span of 10 months now, as the soap opera in Vancouver continues to drag on without a sign of slowing down. This is surely the first domino to fall in what will be a long, and absorbing summer for the team.
April 07 2014 11:23PM
"The jig is up."
Those were the wise words of John Shorthouse, the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, as he summed up the situation rather concisely with the final seconds of the team's playoff hopes running off of the clock.
Realistically speaking, the season had become a lost one a long time ago and we've been preaching it on this platform for weeks now (in true Vancouverite fashion, we were in the tank helping steer it long before it was cool to do so!).
But while we'd all - at varying speeds - come to terms with the inevitability of how this particular season would ultimately conclude, it feels somewhat different now that they're actually mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
I'll give you guys a final minute with the body to say your goodbyes before we proceed.
April 07 2014 03:42PM
26-year-old rookie puck stopper Eddie Lack is set to start his 19th straight game for the Vancouver Canucks, a team still improbably fighting for their playoff lives, against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. Lack has started every game for the Canucks since the end of the Olympic break way back on February 26th, a stretch that includes Lack starting the second of back-to-back games on multiple occasions, and it's fair to say that the young netminder has buckled under the mammoth burden.
It's a burden that Lack is unlikely to be relieved of until the Canucks are mathematically eliminated from the postseason.
There's a lot to unpack from Lack's performance since he was, by necessity, anointed Vancouver's everyday (literally) starter. So let's focus in on what we've learned about Lack, and what his recent performance tells us about his aptitude as a number one goalie going forward.
Read on past the jump.
April 07 2014 02:39PM
As part of a weird scheduling quirk, the Anaheim Ducks visit Vancouver for the second time in just 8 days. No, they're not just here because they love yoga pants and rain; they're here to play some hockey, and potentially fill out the paperwork to finally and mercifully euthanize the 2013-14 Canucks.
As you know by now the Vancouver Canucks need to win their final 4 games in order to have any sort of chance at a miracle playoff bid. In theory it's not like the Ducks - who have been badly sputtering lately, highlighted by a 4-2 loss in Edmonton yesterday for the second time in 10 days - are some sort of insurmountable opponent.
But they've absolutely owned the Canucks this season, outscoring them by a 21-6 margin in winning all 4 meetings between the two teams. They most recently handed them a 5-1 defeat in that aforementioned game last Saturday.
Take your final breaths, and say your last words.