Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
So we’ve I.D.ed the true problem in Vancouver. It’s not Tortorella, and it is clearly no longer Gillis. It is meddling ownership that at some point likely told Gillis he had autonomy to make hockey decisions, then changed its mind when it mattered most. Now, danger time arrives: Will the Aquilinis stay married to their wrong-headed hiring of Tortorella and hire Jay Feaster, perhaps the only prospective GM in the entire hockey world who would keep Tortorella as coach of the Canucks? Talk about the very definition of a compounded mistake.
Nothing against a competent GM in Feaster, who did a decent job in Calgary. But we’re saying this right now, and as clearly as we can: If Feaster gets the Canucks GM job, this team is in trouble. Because that means the Aquilinis think they are hockey smart, and the Canucks will lose for a long, long time if ownership is going to make the important, hockey-related decisions.
... the only problem is that there won’t be a quick fix for whoever happens to come in next. The reality is, Gillis actually inherited a very good situation, was a decent steward for a while, didn’t do enough to make it better and in the past month or so, watched helplessly as it all went up in smoke. Messy – and when it gets messy like this, all you can do is what the Aquilini family did Tuesday. They gave the people what they wanted.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail on the firing of Mike Gillis. More from Duhatschek...
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.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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