June 06 2013 02:30PM
What do you do when you've collapsed a foot short of the summit of K2? (Yes, I know in real life you likely die. Go away.) Do you run quickly back down to the bottom and say, "The plan sucked, let's do something completely different"? Or do you say, "Crap, that was so close, let's have another go..."
That was the dilemma facing the near-champion Vancouver Canucks two summers ago. Protection against horrible memories means avoiding a recap of the 2011 Final, but let's consider this point: the team failed because of injury as much as it did because of poor execution.
In any case, success does not come from standing still - how did Mike Gillis shuffle his deck in 2011?
June 06 2013 08:51AM
Dale Weise and Max Lapierre - Wikicommons Media
On Tuesday, we looked at Vancouver's search for a left winger to play on the fourth line. My suggestion was to sign UFA winger Blake Comeau, or to find a player in the AHL (much like the Canucks did a few years ago with Tanner Glass).
The Canucks have absolutely zero organizational depth in terms of checking line left wingers. However, that isn't the case on the right side. Dale Weise and Zack Kassian are both solid fourth line options. Kassian, ideally, will play a bigger role with the club in 2013-14. Is Weise the best possible option for the fourth line?
Let's take a look, shall we?
June 05 2013 02:13PM
Mike Gillis' best summer is surely 2010. In 2008 he got his feet wet and returned the Canucks to the postseason, in 2009 he'd made more decisions in re-shaping the team (and he'd also convinced the Sedins to re-sign for below market value). Saving money in 2009 allowed him to bring in key free agents in 2010.
In the 2010 playoffs, the Canucks had again run into the Blackhawks brick wall. The Hawks were again too much to handle and the Canucks' penalty kill had been a miserable failure all playoffs.
The first key acquisition of Gillis' tenure, Pavol Demitra, went out with a whimper. Injured for most of the year, his greatest moments came in the Olympics, as he drove Slovakia into the semifinals. It was an against-all-odds performance.
At the same time as Demitra was starring on the international stage, Shane O'Brien managed to turn his greatest opportunity into nothing. Injuries had offered him increased ice time, but over the two week break for the Olympics, O'Brien reportedly partied it up and packed on the pounds. He became a lesson for Canucks management on the importance of off-ice culture.
How to re-shape the third and fourth line? How to find and keep as many NHL-capable defencemen as possible? What to do with a pair of young forwards? Those were the questions facing Mike Gillis as the 2010 off-season began.
June 05 2013 01:55PM
Love this play call from Jim Hughson: "You only do that at 8 Rinks!!"
After a two week hiatus, an absence borne in part from Drance's travelling schedule, the Canucks Army podcast is back for our seventh episode!
Joining us this week is Vancouver Sun Canucks beat writer Iain Macintyre. Iain and Drance chat about the Canucks offseason, the prospect of the Canucks placing an AHL affiliate in Utica, New York, shake ups in Vancouver's amateur scouting department, and the prospect of a Pavel Bure jersey retirement.
Click past the jump to listen.
June 04 2013 04:33PM
2009 was another step forward, or so we thought.
It was Mike Gillis' second summer in charge. What was orginally a risky hire had paid off - Gillis signed free agents that worked, the team made the second round of the playoffs for the just the second time in more than a decade, everything looked on the upswing.
It was a summer that featured another decision to let a long-time face of the franchise go, while minting gold in a trade that can only be described as alchemy.
Yesterday, we looked at Mike Gillis' first summer in charge and found that he mostly did a pretty good job.
So, how did he fare in the summer of 2009?