Canucks and Beyond
Update April 23, 11:10am PT: Canucks owner formally named new GM Mike Gillis in this morning’s press conference. More info here.
After the first period of the Washington/Philadelphia game tonight on TSN, Bob McKenzie stated the new Canucks General Manager was very-nearly 100% decided as Mike Gillis. He also stated this was likely to be announced by the end of the week.
Now, Global TV’s website reports:
Player agent Mike Gillis will be named general manager of the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Global BC reported today.
Update 5:55pm PT: On TSN, James Duthie has now stated that this GM appointment is “confirmed” (though Bob McKenzie came short of backing this up as a certainty). There is a Vancouver press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Asked by Global TV, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini “would neither confirm nor deny the hiring.” (Which I figure is pretty much code for: “Yeah. Gillis is the new GM. But don’t steal my thunder. I’ll tell you more tomorrow.”)
More updates and links:
“Know how many National Hockey League teams have fired two general managers in the last four years? One. [The Vancouver Canucks]. Know how many Northwest Division teams have won more games or division titles than the Canucks in that time? None.”
—Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun
With the small sampling of votes collected on my poll the other day, Jim Nill is the clear favorite on the list. But if you read the comments at that link, a number of Wings fans provide some thoughtful and detailed reasons why prying Nill out of Detroit is likely to be impossible.
Geez. With this whole mess of a team, I’m seriously concerned I’ll never be able to make fun of the Edmonton Oilers again.
Anyway, a few very good articles related to the Canucks today:
From Cam Cole in the Vancouver Sun:
Yes, the explanation for firing Nonis would be easier to swallow (a media wag pointed out Tuesday) if the owner hadn’t borrowed his rationale from Spider-Man. “With great power,” Peter Parker’s dying Uncle Ben told Spidey’s alter-ego, “comes great responsibility.” Aquilini—or his speechwriter—didn’t even credit the source.
Alas, turns out Uncle Ben was very disappointed and offed Spidey, so Vancouver needs a new
Vote in the poll at the bottom of the post. 6 choices are provided, and there’s a brief summary for each candidate…
[Update 12:06pm PT: Updated above the poll with quotes from Dave Nonis today.]
(oops!) Wall Street Journal’s “Numbers Guy”, Carl Bialik, insisted that “Reports of Basketball’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated.” He was responding to the widely quoted Harris Report that found that the popularity of hockey had surpassed that of the NBA and college basketball.
There is some actual reason for worry: Over the life of the poll, the NBA and college basketball really have been slipping in popularity. But the reaction was also overblown. The poll didn’t measure overall popularity. It was also constructed in a way that gave certain advantages to hockey over hoops. And the much-touted difference between hockey and its hardwood competitors was negligible.
The sport of hockey always seems to be involved in some charitable cause or another. On a league-wide level, for instance, Hockey Fights Cancer is an NHL and NHLPA project which has raised around $7 million to support related projects. And on a community level, most (if not all) teams go to bat for various causes in their community. (*such as Canuck Place, being a well known one in Vancouver)
But while these causes collect money to help people, we seldom—unless we personally benefit from those charities—actually see where the money ends up. So here’s one small-scale example of how, when you throw a buck or some of your time towards your favorite hockey-related charitable cause, you are making a difference.
Update 11:23am PT: Judge has ruled that Aquilini doesn’t have to share his hockey team. More details at bottom of post.
Here’s a round-up of the issues behind a major lawsuit being decided in Vancouver today. Nearly eight months since testimony began in this trial, a judge will finally be addressing the question: Who owns the Canucks?
From Bob Mackin at 24 Hours Vancouver,
Will B.C. Supreme Court order Francesco Aquilini to relinquish ownership of the Vancouver Canucks and General Motors Place today?
Or will his family proceed with plans to build an office tower next to the Garage and cash more VANOC cheques?
We’ll find out this morning when Justice Catherine Wedge delivers the verdict from last year’s blockbuster court battle.
Here’s what the pundits of the press box have to say…
Yesterday’s Player of the Day.... the Sabres must be so pleased.
I realize this sort of thing happens all the time, but seriously: no one can find a pic of this guy in a Flyers’ jersey?
The guy’s getting a bazillion dollars to play in Philly over the coming 5 years. I think “franchise player” is a reasonable definition of Briere’s job at this point.
It just makes you wonder at the people doing the marketing around this league sometimes. The NHL’s own media guide also still promotes Briere with the same photo.
And what is really the point of “Player of the Day” if not marketing the league and the player?
Canucks CEO Chris Zimmerman was asked how regular fans will be able to afford to take in a game at GM Place. Zimmerman says when you compare the Canucks to other NHL franchises, ticket prices are quite reasonable. “Some of the pricing is driven by supply and demand, and then we obviously assess the ticket prices against all the other Canadian teams. We tend to be in the bottom half of the prices, looking at the prices across Canada.”
Hmm. The increase in ticket prices for this season was pretty bloody substantial. But even assuming that Zimmerman is correct in simply following the theory of supply and demand (after all, the Vancouver fan base has clearly been willing to pay) there is a cautionary tale out there that the Canucks might want to keep in mind as well: the Detroit Red Wings.
It’s definitely not a boring week in the hockey business when the very league we love—despite all the ways it drives us nuts—receives notification of a lawsuit filed against it by one of it’s own member teams, MSG and the New York Rangers.
The lawsuit alleges that the NHL monopolizes control over team promotion. The Rangers appear to be the only team left in the league that hasn’t handed over their website, as everyone else has followed the new standards. And that hasn’t sat well with the NHL:
As a hockey fan, I’ll admit that I have a tendency to act morally superior to fans of all other games—as if “my” sport and “my” players are better than all others.
I’m told I suffer from Arrogant Hockey Fan Syndrome to some extent (which might be defined as: “the rabid belief that no other sport is anywhere near as fun as a hockey game” or “hockey players can do no wrong” or “everyone seems to hate us, but we know we’re better than you” etc). But who can blames us? If nothing else, the NFL, NBA and MLB certainly make it easy for an NHL fan to feel morally superior lately.
But there is one arena in which being a hockey fan really doesn’t provide one with much to brag about: acting. And nearly all related efforts at self promotion have been downright scary. Which brings me to Exhibit #1…
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]