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Ed Willes (The Province) RIPS Mike Gillis


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http://www.theprovince.com/touch/story.html?id=8363573

Not in Gillis to acknowledge any responsibility for Canucks' failure

Given everything that happened this season, Thursday’s wrap-up presser might have been the time for Mike Gillis to present a slightly different persona; someone who acknowledged the anger and frustration of this market, someone who took responsibility for the Vancouver Canucks’ spectacular postseason failure.

But that wouldn’t be Gillis. That wouldn’t be the man who convinced Francesco Aquilini he was the portal to a glorious new future for the Canucks. No matter what you think of Gillis and the work he’s done as the franchise’s overlord, he remained true to himself on Thursday; a man utterly convinced in the rightness of his ways, a man who holds, if not all the right answers, enough of them to make the Canucks an elite team.

"Five years ago we came in here and reset this organization and it’s time to do it again," Gillis said.

OK, how much resetting he did five years ago is a matter of some debate. But this discussion is no longer about what Gillis has done. It’s about what he will do and if he can fix the mess the Canucks now find themselves in – a mess which is very much of his own making – he will justify the unconditional faith ownership has placed in him.

If he doesn’t, the Canucks are looking at a bleak, miserable future and you won’t have to look too long or too hard to find the man responsible.

Gillis, understand, is trying to clean up the Alaska coastline after the Valdez. Oh, the Canucks won’t be terrible next season and they’ll likely remain in the playoff picture. But that will be because the core Gillis inherited from the previous regime is still good enough to keep this team relevant.

It’s the issues around that core, however, where he faces his biggest challenges and they are monumental in scope. The Canucks, in no particular order, have to get younger, bigger and cheaper next season when they already have just under $58 million committed to 14 players, seven of whom have no-trade or no-movement clauses.

This means any rebuilding plan has to start with Gillis asking Aquilini to buy out the last two years of David Booth’s and Keith Ballard’s contracts (just under $17 million if you’re scoring at home). Then there’s the little matter of Roberto Luongo to consider and the very real possibility the Canucks will have to eat some of that deal to move the former face of the franchise. And they might have to pay Alain Vigneault not to coach next season. And they’ll be trying to change the look and feel of the team after five years of mostly abysmal drafting.

"I think we recognize changes have to be made and I love the challenge of it," Gillis said.

Good, he won’t be disappointed by what lies ahead.

How all this will affect Gillis’s relationship with Aquilini is the next question and that’s an interesting one because, despite the recent developments, it appears to be as strong today as it was in ‘08. That relationship has also been the driving force behind this franchise for the last five years and, when things were going well, it was central to its success with Gillis using Aquilini’s backing to create a new kind of organization built on outside-the-box thinking.

But now? Well, considering what just happened it can reasonably be asked if the assorted sleep doctors, nutritionists and sports psychs really make a difference or they’re just new-age hocus pocus. You can guess where Gillis stands on this one and he referenced the team’s commitment to sports science and analytics when he was asked how the Canucks could raise ticket prices next season.

"You don’t know what our costs are," he said.

And therein lies another crucial issue facing the GM.

For the first four years of Gillis’s stewardship the Canucks were a money tree, selling out every game while maximizing sponsorship and revenue streams. The faithful, for their part, didn’t care how much Aquilini was making – just as they don’t care how much he spends on sleep doctors – as long as the team was holding up its end of the bargain.

But that changed this season as the golden glow faded from around the Canucks. It’s something that’s hard to quantify but there was a level of dissatisfaction, an ennui, that was hard to miss and recapturing the imagination of this market’s fan base might be the biggest challenge facing Gillis.

Then again, he has a few to chose from.

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Posted · Hidden by Admin 2, May 14, 2013 - Bodee on Gillis
Hidden by Admin 2, May 14, 2013 - Bodee on Gillis

I agree with the reporter.

Gillis should have seen this coming after the 2011 Finals. Many of the other teams did because I started a thread at the time "Should we be getting bigger?" or something like that and of course it was flamed on here by many of the flat earth society.

We didn't need to scrap the team, (that's how Gillis paints it to defend his inability to trade) we needed 2 or 3 good big physical players of the type some of the other teams were trading for.

Now he says he "wasn't sure if it was a trend or just short term thing" Honestly, what the hell is he talking about? You don't change your team to a trend, you reinforce the team. That's all we needed, not rebuilding, just 2 or 3 of the right kind of player. Yet again he loses focus.

Hell we even let Torres go and many on here seem to think he would have made a big difference.

The following year the same thing happened again.

Gillis is too arrogant, too pompous and too stubborn to address our issues. He needs to go.

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Lol don't know this guy but he doesn't seem to know anything about hockey.

Abysmal drafting???

2008 Hodgson, was an excellent pick, what happen after is another story

2009 Schroeder, still a work in progress, but how could you not take on chance on him when he fell to 22nd? I believe

2010 no 1st round pick.

2011 Jensen, too soon to tell

2012 Gaunce, too soon to tell, but looking really good right now. Odd are we are gonna see him at WJC.

Late round pick might not have been great though.

Buyout, every team will use at least one probably. Might also be the reason tickets are going up 3-5%.

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Pretty Simple folks, ask yourselves if gillis should go based on this

Sedin Sedin Burrows

Higgins Kesler Grabner

Torres / Manny Repacement w size and faceoff ability / Hansen (Not Roy)

Kassian Lappierre Tanner Glass

Very little changes and he could have addressed his problems by simply NOT making bad trades

Not to harp on the guy but reality is the lines above address our issues. Perhaps not a cup guarantee but certainly a team that has everything it needed

Grabner became a 30 goal scored and is doing well in the playoffs. At the time I said Mayray should be gone because of his outside play and size relative to grabs...sure enough...wrong guy traded

Torres - well we know the issue there 750k but we're happy to have 4 ml and 5 ml sit? hmm

Tanner glass, excellent 4th liner that brought what this team needed, size, hits, responsible defensively, character.

2nd line with a scorer and speed and someone who gelled with Kesler very well

Third line that if we had replaced manny with size would have been one of the toughest to play against in the nhl and would tire out defenses the way it should, and enough talent to pitch in and score once in a while

4th line with size and in your face play

no trades needed by MG (other than a 3rd line center), just the smarts NOT to trade away players that could have filled the holes you created.

this is all of MG's doing, he should be gone before AV.

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Ed Willes is perhaps the only Vancouver sports writer that doesn't openly cheer for the Canucks. He is objective to a degree and I think he's pretty spot on most of the time.

Not sure what people want after a tough season. Articles talking about Gillis and his love for whatever his hobbies happen to be? The team is coming off an embarrassing playoff defeat in which they lost their composure. There has been a whole year of this goaltending issue and nothing has changed. The team has at least 7 NTC clauses, they are in serious cap trouble and Gillis is going to have to ask his boss to spend a whack of money to buyout players and pay the coach for a year if he decides to fire him. He is in trouble. Can't sugarcoat it forever.

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What a tool, he rips into Gillis then presents the very problems faced when teams have to try to upgrade.

There's no magic wand that puts guys into place who'll "fix" things. I like Gillis' patience and the fact that he doesn't react in haste or to pressure. He's stubborn, but that's a man who stands by his convictions and doesn't flounder because a reporter thinks he knows better.

When Gillis signed people to contracts, he didn't have the luxury of being able to forersee the future or how they'd work out...you do your research then it's a bit of a gamble.

And big contracts are part of how things are in the NHL bd71....it's hard to avoid them when players become available and are sought after by multiple teams. You put the players in place and hope that it pans out. What do people want him to say "I'm sowwy, we will go buy you a new toy to make you feel better"? No, he has to stick to what he knows - which is finding a way to offset the ridiculous lowbar standards that the league has set with officiating and now change direction from what should be a formula for an exciting game and success to one that will work in this climate.

A skilled team should have been a good recipe and they tried to aim there in the past...but then things changed and he had to also address the fact that guys were allowed to hack, whack, chop and drop the skilled players in a gong show. "Gillis is a year behind" (nn) because things keep changing. After the Bertuzzi incident, they were going to crack down on the crap but guess what, they look out of one eye out there. When you crackdown, initially, it has to be in full force...not a pick and choose deal. Some of the stuff happening has been completely let go and overlooked, so a team that thought it was going to be clamped down on now has to deal with the realization that it's not. So they're a year behind because the league keeps going in circles and it's back to the drawing board as a result.

Now, as he's stated, he'll have to put a team out there in a dump and chase/work in the corners environment that won't give us the exciting hockey that should be. Don't blame him for what he's having to work around, he doesn't control that. This league doesn't know which direction to go in...on a nightly basis the rules change and, with that, so does the agenda for coaches and management in trying to chase that down. I believe he can (work around it).

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To me," a year behind " points to many things.

If you are going to get bigger and protect the Sedins you don't trade your best asset for a rookie that will not fill that role.

If you are going to reward Luongo you take into consideration that he has just suffered two serious groin injuries.

I heard Gillis state yesterday that the team must surround Hank and Dan with support,meaning protection.

Yet Gillis has failed to protect the team's major assets for many years while they were in their prime physically and mentally.

Luongo hung out to dry for over a year is a great example of "a year behind".

This will not continue because if it does,the gate receipts will dictate to Francesco what will happen next.

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To me," a year behind " points to many things.

If you are going to get bigger and protect the Sedins you don't trade your best asset for a rookie that will not fill that role.

If you are going to reward Luongo you take into consideration that he has just suffered two serious groin injuries.

I heard Gillis state yesterday that the team must surround Hank and Dan with support,meaning protection.

Yet Gillis has failed to protect the team's major assets for many years while they were in their prime physically and mentally.

Luongo hung out to dry for over a year is a great example of "a year behind".

This will not continue because if it does,the gate receipts will dictate to Francesco what will happen next.

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not sure if this reporter went to the bathroom or something when gillis clearly said that next year will be the year the younger guys step up because the cap is going down and, obviously, didn't want to talk about buying out booth and maybe ballard because, call me crazy, that's the team's business and he would like to keep that business away from the media as much as possible. sounds like another butthurt journalist who gillis called out during that meeting for asking a stupid question and actually expecting a real answer

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What a tool, he rips into Gillis then presents the very problems faced when teams have to try to upgrade.

There's no magic wand that puts guys into place who'll "fix" things. I like Gillis' patience and the fact that he doesn't react in haste or to pressure. He's stubborn, but that's a man who stands by his convictions and doesn't flounder because a reporter thinks he knows better.

When Gillis signed people to contracts, he didn't have the luxury of being able to forersee the future or how they'd work out...you do your research then it's a bit of a gamble.

And big contracts are part of how things are in the NHL bd71....it's hard to avoid them when players become available and are sought after by multiple teams. You put the players in place and hope that it pans out. What do people want him to say "I'm sowwy, we will go buy you a new toy to make you feel better"? No, he has to stick to what he knows - which is finding a way to offset the ridiculous lowbar standards that the league has set with officiating and now change direction from what should be a formula for an exciting game and success to one that will work in this climate.

A skilled team should have been a good recipe and they tried to aim there in the past...but then things changed and he had to also address the fact that guys were allowed to hack, whack, chop and drop the skilled players in a gong show. "Gillis is a year behind" (nn) because things keep changing. After the Bertuzzi incident, they were going to crack down on the crap but guess what, they look out of one eye out there. When you crackdown, initially, it has to be in full force...not a pick and choose deal. Some of the stuff happening has been completely let go and overlooked, so a team that thought it was going to be clamped down on now has to deal with the realization that it's not. So they're a year behind because the league keeps going in circles and it's back to the drawing board as a result.

Now, as he's stated, he'll have to put a team out there in a dump and chase/work in the corners environment that won't give us the exciting hockey that should be. Don't blame him for what he's having to work around, he doesn't control that. This league doesn't know which direction to go in...on a nightly basis the rules change and, with that, so does the agenda for coaches and management in trying to chase that down. I believe he can (work around it).

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