Kukla's Korner Hockey
Vancouver, B.C. - Canucks Sports & Entertainment announced today that Mike Gillis has been relieved of his duties as President and General Manager.
"On behalf of my entire family, I would like to sincerely thank Mike Gillis for his hard work and the many contributions he made on and off the ice during his tenure,” said Francesco Aquilini, Chairman, Canucks Sports & Entertainment. "The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mike's leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal; but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed.”
"I also want to thank our fans for their support for the Vancouver Canucks through a difficult and frustrating season," continued Aquilini. "We haven’t met their expectations or ours. We are committed to bringing the Stanley Cup to Vancouver for our fans and we will continue to do everything possible to reach that goal."
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Whether or not there is anything to the Trevor-Linden-for-president rumors out there, it certainly sounds like something that would please the Canucks’ fan base regardless of whether it’s an astute move or not — something that won’t be known until it’s well down the road.
A businessman just looking at the Canucks’ bottom line in the next year or so would be particularly attracted to an incoming-Linden’s effect on season ticket sales, as his presence might produce a lesser drop-off than might be expected after this season. But the problem seems to be that this move is being made to keep the present coach in place.
Therein lies the problem.
If John Tortorella stays, you will still likely be looking at the Sedins playing all that time and putting up 50-point, injury-filled seasons. How that’s going to lead to more wins and, even more improbably, more entertainment is a total mystery.
via Pierre LeBrun tweets,
Hearing whispers that perhaps change is coming sooner rather than later with the Canucks, perhaps as soon as today or tomorrow...
Nothing concrete as I said, but those are whispers out of Van city. Will it be the GM? or the coach? We shall see...
... But, more than anything, the Canucks need leadership from the most important men in the organization, the kind of leadership the Red Wings have with Holland and Babcock. What they don’t need is the GM calling out the coach and the coach having to defend himself in a public forum. They don’t need the perception that ownership meddles in the affairs of the general manager. They don’t need the constant whining about the league, the rulebook and anyone who criticizes their operation.
Gillis had the right idea all along when he looked at the Wings and said, “That’s the way to do it.” That, at least, was the easy part. As for the hard part, he’s still trying.
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province on the Vancouver Canucks. Read more from Willes on this topic...
A day after general manager Mike Gillis expressed doubt over his own future and that of his bench boss, Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wouldn't let himself be drawn into the speculation.
"Mike Gillis is my boss and I can't speak for Mike," said Tortorella of his boss's comments on Friday afternoon. "I don't know how to answer to him because I can't speak for him. I don't want to do that. Mike and I are always talking, but to answer that, I just can't. It's not fair to him or me."
Sitting six points out of the final Wild Card in the Western Conference with only five games to play, the Canucks are set to miss the playoffs for just the third time in 13 seasons and first time since 2008. Still, Tortorella expressed no interest in publicly discussing his team's and, by extension, his own future.
"You're digging at a spot I'd rather talk internally about," said Tortorella. "That's probably something we can talk about after the season is over. I have to worry about coaching a hockey team. We have five more games, a team that needs to better and that's my focus."
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
While everybody and everything will be up for review, what shouldn’t be lost in the conversations or the defending of turf — call it the Gillis line in the sand — is how Tortorella suddenly supplanted John Stevens as the front-runner to replace the fired Alain Vigneault. Or how the new coach, who vowed to push a veteran-laden team hard, pushed them over the edge with a defensive-minded system that produced fatigue, a pop-gun offence and that crazy tunnel tirade.
Following his first game back from a six-game suspension, a 2-0 loss in Detroit, Tortorella said: “We need to change the complexion of our hockey club. Either with our play or with different people. Because we look like a slow team. I thought our best forward was David Booth, which is good for him but not good for us.”
Imagine how that was received by players and management? The coach was obviously defending his turf. An injury-riddled roster was testing his motivational mettle because it was going to be a struggle to make the postseason in re-alignment while butting heads in the Pacific Division.
via Team 1040 tweets,
According to @GMMikeGillis - 'my responsibility to get (team) back on top; 'fans have every right to voice displeasure'
On whether Torts will be back next season; @GMMikeGillis "I'm not sure I'll be back next season"
Here's a link to the entire interview w/ @GMMikeGillis http://ow.ly/voueB
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
John Tortorella, self-deprecating in a way he never once was in five years in New York, took the words out of everyone’s mouths Monday, which is not such an easy thing to do.
“What is fair?” the coach of the Canucks replied when asked if it is fair to draw any conclusions in comparing his team’s lack of success with the success the Rangers are experiencing under Alain Vigneault in Year 1 of the cultural exchange behind the benches of the two franchises. “You’re going to make your own opinion.
“It’s kind of a unique thing with me and Alain. I’m losing games so I’m an idiot and he’s winning games so he’s a smart guy. Rightfully so.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
This season, Tortorella has attempted to turn them into a grinding, shot-blocking, defensive-first team — which is fine if you’ve got the personnel of, say, a Los Angeles or St. Louis. But the Canucks don’t and their attempts to play that way have been a disaster. Defensively, they’re eighth in the West in goals allowed and tied with Edmonton for the fewest goals scored in the conference.
They have, for pity’s sake, two goals fewer than Nashville.
Individually, meanwhile, the only veteran to produce near his career norms is Chris Higgins. Every other Canuck who toiled under Vigneault isn’t anywhere near his expected numbers, and even Zack Kassian, whose play has been one of the team’s bright spots lately, has 13 goals and 26 points on the campaign.
Given everything that’s happened, it’s hard to conceive of Tortorella coming back next season. The players have given it an honest effort but, whatever Tortorella is trying just isn’t working. It’s doubtful the team would buy into another year and it’s a certainty the fan base wouldn’t buy another year of the same. It looks like one and done for Tortorella, who made a fatal coaching mistake this season: He tried to mould his players to his system instead of moulding his system to his players.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
The mood afterwards was morose. The Vancouver Canucks had clung to threads of hope, fractional odds of making the postseason, and when it counted, they folded.
Oh, there are still fractional odds, near zero now, but the season is essentially over for the Canucks, and it ended ugly on Saturday night at home, a 5-1 punch-up at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. Coach John Tortorella could not do what he was hired to do, coax some fire out of a veteran group. The team was flat, and its best players did little. All that remain are six games and questions, the future of the coach, the future of the general manager, the future of a roster of underperformers.
In the locker room, a large scrum of reporters crowded around Daniel Sedin, in the absence of his brother, injured captain Henrik. Daniel has scored a single goal in 2014 and Saturday night was a non-entity. “It’s tough,” he said. Nearby sat Ryan Kesler, his hockey pants on, his shirt off, disbelief on his face, a tattoo of his children’s names and a Superman symbol with a K instead of an S on his right shoulder.
“We find a way to lose this game rather than a way to win,” said Kesler. “Good teams find a way to win.”
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