Photograph by Jeff Vinnick
During his season ending press conference, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis was asked by Jason Botchford about Mason Raymond’s future with the team, and whether or not Gillis still believes in the speedster. Gillis responded as such:
"We had a lot of success in previous years, now we have to recognize that changes have to be made. I’m not going to commit today to what those changes will be, I think I need more time. I don’t want to make decisions hastily or based on emotion."
That was pretty much the tenor of the entire press conference.
Read past the jump for more.
On Thursday afternoon in the media centre in the bowels of what was once called "GM Place," briefly was known as Canada Hockey Place and is now known as Rogers Arena, a humbled Mike Gillis talked about needing to "reset" but not "rebuild."
He talked about a review process that would spare no one in the organization, and gave no definitive answer on Alain Vigneault’s future behind Vancouver’s bench.
The most definitive nugget he gave us was his strong suggestion that Luongo has played his last game in a Canucks uniform.
There was a somber tone to the proceedings, frankly, and now we’re left to watch and see exactly what "significant changes" the team puts into action.
In terms of excuses, Mike Gillis touched on the change in style of play league-wide – even though his club was ironically defeated in a special teams heavy series – and he touched on injuries, and the lockout which made for a "messed up season."
"When I look at every other team in the league, this was such a messed up season from start to finish with the uncertainty of the lockout the repercussions coming out of the lockout – the landscape certainly changed from the summer time to the last opportunity we did have to make changes.
The shortened season had teams competing right up until the last day of the season. So historically some of those teams would’ve been out signifcaintly earlier and we had limited opportunities to do the things we wanted to do. We had significant injuries the whole year, which didn’t help. But it’s my job to give the coach the best players we could possibly give him. Regardless of what happened in a shortened season that’s my responsbility that’s my job"
Implied in that answer is that he failed at his job this season, by his own assessment. Let it not be said that Mike Gillis didn’t at least ownership of Vancouver’s postseason ineptitude this year.
Still, he didn’t talk about blowing it all up and seemed to suggest that the club will more or less stick with their core pieces, "we need to supplement our core group of players that are here as best we can and then look at other possibilities." He also left the door wide open for the organization to retain Alain Vigneault, though he didn’t necessarily give him the strongest endorsement either:
"I think Alain is a great coach. I think he’s done a remarkable job here in the face of lots of adversity. I can’t think of another team that has gone through the tragedies that we have in the last four to five years and done it with dignity and respect."
In summary, Mike Gillis didn’t show us his hand today. But that’s fine, an early playoff outster gives you extra time for self-evaluation and it’s on the organization to make the most of that time. Being deliberate and unemotional going forward is the right approach, even if I thought some of Mike Gillis’ comments about rushing prospect into the lineup were a bit odd. We’ll see Mike Gillis play his cards over the next few months (and rest assured we’ll track it closely at this blog). It should be fascinating, frankly.
The quote that sticks with me from the Press Conference, however, was when Gillis stated that "five years ago we came in here and reset the organization and it’s time to do it again." Ignoring the regular season success, and the postseason success too, it seems like Mike Gillis’s tenure has come full circle. In his own words: the organization is back to where it started when he found it a half decade ago. I’m not sure that’s what Canucks fans were hoping to hear today…