Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/29/13 at 08:24 AM ET
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
In this, an eventful and disquieting offseason for the faithful, the key figure in the Vancouver Canucks’ various dramas has not been general manager Mike Gillis, new head coach John Tortorella or even Roberto Luongo.
It’s been owner Francesco Aquilini.
Stepping outside the traditional purview of ownership, Aquilini played an instrumental role in the decision to hire Tortorella, the decision to keep Luongo and, by extension, the decision to deal Cory Schneider. Each move, of course, will be the subject of intense scrutiny and the Canucks’ fate, both in the long and the short term, will be determined by Aquilini’s judgment in these matters.
It’s interesting, in fact, to note the change at the top of the organization. For the first four years of his administration, Gillis was basically given a blank cheque to run things as he saw fit. Whether you agreed or disagreed, there was no question over who was calling the shots, and in 2011, when they had the best team in the NHL, there was every reason to think the Gillis-Aquilini partnership would lead the team to its greatest success.
Now, it’s fair to say the honeymoon is over. Gillis wanted to hire John Stevens to coach the Canucks. Aquilini wanted Tortorella. Gillis wanted Schneider as his goalie. Aquilini didn’t want to buy out Luongo.
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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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