Canucks and Beyond

Fallout of Nonis Firing

04/15/2008 at 3:11pm EDT

The Vancouver Canucks have a press conference scheduled later this morning—I’ll update this post as soon as it happens. (11:10am PT: Updates now below)

Meanwhile, Spector summed up the msm reaction to the Dave Nonis


firing earlier today:

The firing caught many hockey observers by surprise and some were quick to offer their opinions. TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes it’s the wrong move, citing the good work Nonis had done over the last three seasons in building the Canucks roster and that he couldn’t be held at fault for the rash of injuries to key players that hampered the club this season. Iain MacIntyre also suggested the team ownership had jumped the gun, while Ed Willes of the Province considered it a panic move and a farce.

Nonis must really be a nice guy, because I can’t remember a time in Canucks history where so much hockey media actually thought a Canucks GM should not be fired.

Anyway, some idle speculation before the press conference starts…

—Brian Burke talk has already started.

Vancouver’s CBC television broke into the national playoffs coverage last night to announce the Nonis firing as breaking news, and before the story had progressed past 3 sentences, someone on the set had already mentioned the words “Brian Burke.” Burke talk is coming up elsewhere, too. If today’s press conference is announcing anything besides the name of the new GM, we can expect more of it.

—Vancouver has finally been properly introduced to Francesco Aquilini.

Canning Nonis, the Canucks’ owner has put his first serious stamp on this team. The question is, did he do it because he believes Nonis can’t do his job, or because he has his own ideas for the future of the Canucks?

At the moment, it just looks like a powerplay by Aquilini. (But then again, I’m not someone who thought that Dave Nonis should’ve been fired, to be honest.)

—How does this affect the Brunnstrom deal?

A couple people speculated about this in the comments of this post last night. I figure the possibilities are:

(1) Brunnstrom is already signed and Aquilini fired Nonis as soon as he delivered that new contract to his office, while the ink was still wet. (*Unlikely. That would be too sleazy even for an NHL owner, I’d think.)

(2) Brunnstrom will never be signed because he’s now a bit concerned about the nutcases running the show in Vancouver

(3) Someone else besides Nonis (possibly Steve Tambellini?) has been handling his negotiations. (Also unlikely.)

If you like to bet, pick option #2.

In the Detroit Free Press, Helene St. James wrote that Brunnstrom future got a little less certain today:

“We’ve heard he’s reconsidering [Detroit],” general manager Ken Holland said this morning.

I can believe it. The Canucks look like a jetliner in free-fall at the moment.

More later. Press conference should help… although, if Aquilini turns Alain Vigneault into a joint GM/Coach, I swear I’ll go on a hunger strike.

Press Conference

(11:00am PT: being updated live…)

Aquilini took the podium and talked about:

—the disappointment of the team not making the playoffs. talks about being a big fan of the team. The fans “deserve a better season than the one we gave them.”
—so - despite the fact that Dave is a “terrific person” he had to be let go.

He also said that, as owners, they have two responsibilities:

(1) to get the best leadership possible
(2) give them the resources they need to get that done.

Aquilini states uniquivocally that Dave Nonis had their permission to spend right up to the cap during the season.

They are actively looking for a new GM and the timeline is just “as soon as possible.”

Tommy Larscheid (from Team 1040) seems a bit unimpressed with Aquilini’s decision and comments, asking him at one point “How did you sleep last night?” and then mentions that (paraphrased) “you’ve mentioned the word leadership about 10 times now, so define leadership”. (Smartass, Tommy!)

Aquilini states that Tambellini is ‘acting’ as operations manager for now, but doesn’t go so far as to call him acting GM.

Aquilini states that the new GM will be the one to decide on the new coach, etc.

When asked about the style of play that the Canucks play, the “entertainment value”, Aquilini states “the style of play I like is ‘winning’”. (Clearly another smartass…)

Ah. Someone else in the press corps asks Aquilini to define “leadership”. Methinks the Vancouver media isn’t buying into much of this explanation for the firing.

Conference over.

Wow. That didn’t go well for our team’s owner at all. Holy.

More Reactions…

Updated at 11:45am PT etc…

Jim Hughson has been speaking to Fan590 this morning, and wasn’t sounding too impressed with the Nonis firing, either. He made the following points on the air:

—Canucks had a lot of injuries, and could not recover. And so the owners panicked and it was ‘goodbye Nonis’
—Nonis had a plan for this off-season that would have gotten the Canucks up to par. Now Hughson feels it may be as much as six years before stability is established.
—mentions that the Aquilinis are not Brian Burke supporters at all.

Gary Kingston summarizes the press conference in the Vancouver Sun.

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