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Tasty Fruit Leather

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Mike Macri

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<table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>FACT (possibly not): The bags under Mike Gillis's eyes are not in fact from working hard, but instead, are a place where he stores fruit leather so he can have a healthy but delicious snack on the go.

FACT (definitely so): He can make me cry by simply staring at me for more than three seconds (I had to avert my eyes every time he directly addressed the camera during his press conference).

FACT (true): His wispy, dirty blonde hair would look great with a little bit of product and some chunky highlights. I mean, right?

The preceding facts proved two things: I’m a man’s man, and I don’t know a damn thing about Mike Gillis. I’m willing to bet that you don’t either, Jeff McDonald.*

If the past week has taught me anything about this city, it’s how much stock we put into press conferences. When Francesco Aquilini struggled his way through his presser, the call-in shows were flooded with opinions that the owner of this franchise had just come from a double root canal and couldn't feel his tongue, and in fact bit it several times as the cameras rolled.

Aquilini, according to most, had no plan going forward, and fired Dave Nonis for no other reason than sheer boredom. When Mike Gillis was named Nonis’ successor after little more than a week of “interviews,” the prevailing opinion was that Aquilini had gone out and got a puppet; a player agent without a day’s worth of experience running a franchise. Ahh, but the winds of public opinion in this city are about as stable as a Spears' family picnic.

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR2308_GillisPresser07_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Following Wednesday’s press conference in which Gillis was introduced, the sentiment began to change. Gillis addressed the team’s draft record as a source of primary concern among a myriad of other changes he promised to implement. For the most part, he said the right things at the right time. There will be changes to the offense. Our goaltender won’t be going anywhere. Pre-disposition. Going forward. Going forward. Pre-disposition. The puppet was suddenly a man with a plan.

The point is, falling too far on either side of the fence right now is an exercise in futility. No one knows what kind of job Mike Gillis is capable of as General Manager. While his experience isn’t exactly conducive to immediate success in his new position, it doesn’t act as a necessary preclusion to it, either. Former agents-turned-GMs have had mixed results in the past: Pierre Lacroix won two cups with the Avalanche, while the Coyote’s Mike Barnett once won the black gumball at his local video store (he used it to rent Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’).

<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR2308_GillisPresser13_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Gillis might very well be the fresh perspective that this team so desperately needs after ostensibly being run by the same management since the mid-80s. With no sentimental ties to anyone in the organization, Gillis has an opportunity to make objective decisions based upon past performance that could propel the team into a rarified air that we’ve dreamed about for upwards of 38 years. On the other hand, the overwhelming challenge of running a franchise might be too much for the first-time General Manager, and the Canucks could spiral into a tailspin of misery and despair - a state from which recovery can only come in the form of years of first-overall draft picks or franchise re-location. It could go either way, really.

But for now, and to borrow some terminology from the man himself, we should be evaluating Gillis on a going-forward basis, without any pre-disposition.

* Even if you aren’t Jeff McDonald, this still applies. But can you imagine if that was your name? You’d be all “whaa...how’d he do that?” Magic, Jeff. Magic. Now go back and finish reading the rest of this thing. If you already finished it and saved the footnote until last, go back and re-read it. There are subtle layers that you missed the first time.</td></tr></table>

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