Canucks extend Mike Gillis; Alain Vigneault to follow?

The long awaited, much-ballyhooed meeting between Mike Gillis and the Aquilini Ownership group has taken place, and we have news to report: the Canucks’ General Manager has emerged from this meeting … still the Canucks General Manager.

The team announced Monday that Gillis’s contract as president and GM of Canucks Sports and Entertainment has been extended, although the duration of the new contract was not announced.

(This leaves the door wide open for endless speculation over the term. Is it a two-year extension? If it a 50-year extension!? There’s simply no way of knowing.)

I don’t have much to say about Gillis’s extension by itself. I’ve gone on record many times as saying I like the guy, so I’m happy to see him remain in charge. He’s made some mistakes in his time — with two years to evaluate it, we can safely say the Keith Ballard trade has been a bust, and the David Backes/Steve Bernier offer sheet scenario was a bit of a fiasco, in retrospect — but I like the way he runs the team overall, from the emphasis on advanced stats and other metrics, to the way the team manages the cap, to the way he and his assistants are always scheming to bend the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There were some schemes he pulled this year I didn’t like, such as sitting the veterans in the preseason, making roster moves based on cap flexibility rather than merit in an effort to preserve bodies, and slyly suggesting the team to take their foot off the gas a little down the home stretch, but I’ll happily take a GM who’s trying unorthodox things over, say, whatever the Hell’s going on in Edmonton.

(Seriously, consider the way the Oilers are run and then recall that Steve Tambellini was next in line to run the Canucks when Gillis was hired instead of him. You think Gillis is so bad? You’re spoiled. Sometimes I wonder if fans realize their expectations are so high because of the work Gillis has done over the last four years.)

No doubt the move won’t satisfy everybody, especially after the way this season ended. First-round exits turn a great many fans into reactionary crazies, and many are in full-blown “blow it up” mode right now as a result. The fact that, instead, things will stay the same will undoubtedly draw out the “It’s been 40 years” crowd that sees Canucks’ fandom as the desert outside of Egypt because they have no idea how to enjoy fun and successful regular seasons.

More interesting than Gillis’s extension, however, is what it might mean for Alain “Giggly when sleepy” Vigneault.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman has been reporting that Gillis’s continued employment hinged on the Aquilinis also showing a willingness to re-sign coach Vigneault. While the coach and GM were something of an arranged marriage when Gillis took over for Dave Nonis in 2007-08, they’ve become kindred spirits over the last four years. Both are as forward-thinking as NHL front-office types get and it often goes unmentioned how complicit they have to be in one another’s schemes for them to pull a lot of these shenanigans off.

Staging Cody Hodgson to be traded, for instance, requires some serious buy-in from the coach, no?

This is the primary reason I suspect Gillis is reluctant to make a coaching change: what if the new guy doesn’t mesh with him in the same fashion? Gillis and Vigneault enable one another in a unique way. They’re strangely symbiotic.

In a conference call immediately following the announcement, Gillis talked about unfinished business, and I get the sense he’d like one more crack at finishing this business with Vigneault in the fold before he considers a change there. I’d expect an extension for the bench boss to be announced shortly.

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38 comments

  1. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    May 8, 2012

    Sometimes I wonder if fans realize their expectations are so high because of the work Gillis has done over the last four years.)

    Yes, yes they are. We fans were over the moon in the 1991-92 season when the Canucks came out of nowhere to (1) have a winning season (only second in team history and first since 1975), and (2) win the division (ditto on both accounts). The fact that fans feel so entitled that failure to win a 1-in-30 lottery is cause for firing everyone shows how (unreasonably) high expectations have risen.

    Billy Beane said it best: he could position the Athletics to make the playoffs, because he had 162 games to do it. What happened after that was pure chance and he had no real control over it. Canuck fans (and NHL fans in general) still have not internalized how random the playoffs are, and how good teams, by necessity of a bracket system, must almost all “fail”. To get angry at what is almost a statistical inevitability is like shaking your fist at the wind.

    I hate when people use the phrase “hasn’t won a thing”. It is untrue 100% of the time, and they literally just mean “the Cup”. (Joe Thornton “hasn’t won a thing”, except a crapload of hockey games and many playoff rounds. Trevor Linden “never won a thing” except division titles, multiple playoff rounds and 15/16th of a Stanley Cup, which evidently you cannot “learn” from like the 7th defenseman who gets a ring).

    Everything-sucks-equally-but-the-Cup is such a ridiculous way to go through life. You’re VP of a successful corporation? Only Vee-Pee? Man, that sucks — you may as well be in the mailroom, right? And the second-best company in the world?! Well, we all know “second is the first loser”. What a horrifically sad, inaccurate way to see the world when basic laws of relativity point out that only one entity can occupy the top spot, no matter how slim the margin is.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 8, 2012

      Very nicely said Jyrki. The attitude that you’re first or you’re last has always driven me crazy too, and I’ll certainly have to use that line about the leadership credentials of Trevor Linden vs a Cup-winning 7th defenceman. Anyone complaining about the team or the management last year deserves a slap upside the head. However, the issue when considering this year was that the team took a major step backwards (ie: won 1/15th as many playoff games). Many people share the blame for that, and one of them is Gillis. Enough to cost him his job? Maybe not. But certainly enough to make him deserving of criticism.

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    • Frank N.
      May 8, 2012

      Haha! I’m Dutch (living in Vancouver) and Oranje, my national football team, is known as the eternal runner up. We managed to lose 3 World Cup finals, but we are revered for the invention of Total Football in the 70′s and our attacking style in general. It is our national psyche to love and preach the attacking style; we take pride in it. Would we have loved to win some titles? Hell yeah. But would we rather have won titles with defensive style (/negative) football? Hell no.
      It’s similar how I feel about the Canucks. They played some great hockey these last years. And although they did not win the Cup last year, we by far played the best and most attractive hockey. And to me, that is also worth something!

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    • cathylu
      May 8, 2012

      Thank you J21! Perfectly said. Our team is still great, cup or no cup.

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    • Mt
      May 8, 2012

      Yup, well said. The funny thing to me is that the math is so simple: there are 30 teams now which means each team, on average, has a 1 in 30 chance. And given that, will win, on average, once every 30 years. 40 years is on the poor side of that but not by too much. The ‘woe are we the poor un-stanleyed fans of Vancouver’ always seems rather infantile. Losing is part (even a good part) of sport. I’m as excited at the prospect of the ‘nucks winning a cup but, as a fan, don’t feel entitled to it. Okay, rant over.

      As for AV, I’d be so surprised to not see him extended now. If Gillis was considering dumping him, I would have expected somewhat ambiguous quotes like “we have to analyse the coaching situation like all other situations and then move ahead with our plan. Once we do that we’ll be in touch with Alain about the possibility of an extension.” Instead he only talked about the contract negotiations as the next step in the process.

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        May 8, 2012

        To be fair, through most of the Canucks’ history there were 14-21 teams in the League, so the odds were not as bad. Really, the Canucks pissed away the 1980s when anyone could make the playoffs in their sleep and they frequently were the one team that did not. (Not to say they would have won Cups with the Oilers hanging around, but even a slightly serious approach to analyzing the game and player development could have given any one team a huge edge in an era where no one really thought too much about these things). So 40 years is definitely “underachieving” by any measure, but the idea that they have simply been the worst has lost all meaning since the Pat Quinn era, ever since which the Canucks have been, on the balance, one of the more competitive NHL clubs, with a blip around the Messier years. This includes teams who have won the Cup — I don’t really see how the Calgary Flames, for example, have a more illustrious history than the Canucks do, apart from that one Cup. Had the Canucks won last year, I think by any objective measure they would have vaulted the Flames in terms of overall success. Even whittling it down to Cup droughts, you have teams like the Blues, Kings and Leafs who have gone longer, as had the Rangers and Blackhawks until recent wins, and the Bruins and Flyers almost as long.

        I just hate the black/white mentality that says Cup=everything, meaning that you’re living in a league where 97% of participants are massive, unforgivable failures every year. The Carolina Hurricanes could never make the playoffs again, and the fact that Joe Fan would consider them “more successful” than a long-term contender is absurd. Fans do this with individual awards too… if a guy is the runner-up for the Vézina trophy 7 years in a row, he’s probably the greatest goaltender of his time, even if he was never ranked the best in a single season. But fans will say he’s “never won a thing”.

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      • John in Marpole
        May 9, 2012

        I was thinking exactly the same yesterday while listening to Botchford on 1040 explain that the reason AV should be replaced is because he hasn’t won anything in 6 years. Apparently the other 29 NHL teams all won something or other during those 6 years? Really?

        The Province sports folks seem to have enmass taken on the role of the unruly mob with pitchforks and torches waiting outside of Canuck Castle to lynch the monster (s) within, and they’ll use anny manner of logic twisting to support their demands.

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        • Frank N.
          May 9, 2012

          I listened to 1040 a few times last year. However, I heard them mostly spew stupid unwarranted rhetoric so I never tuned in again until recently. What a mistake on my part…

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    • Nee
      May 8, 2012

      Excellently put J21, particularly this part:

      “Billy Beane said it best: he could position the Athletics to make the playoffs, because he had 162 games to do it. What happened after that was pure chance and he had no real control over it. Canuck fans (and NHL fans in general) still have not internalized how random the playoffs are, and how good teams, by necessity of a bracket system, must almost all “fail”. To get angry at what is almost a statistical inevitability is like shaking your fist at the wind.”

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    • Zach Morris
      May 8, 2012

      Joe Thornton won the Art Ross and Hart in 2005-06, in recognition of turning Jonathon Cheechoo into a 56-goal scorer

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    • Canuck Jeet
      May 9, 2012

      Amen Brother!

      We’ve been treated to some great, fast-paced hockey over the last decade and most of the previous one. And, have been so competitive and so close that we’ve lost to the eventual Stanley cup champions many of those years and in many cases posed the toughest challenge (Wings, Ducks, Blackhawks, Bruins .. Kings this year?). I too would’ve liked a better result against the Kings (or the Wings in the season of Dan Cloutier’s flutterball) but sigh …

      Would much rather see Canucks hockey than the drivel that’s being served up by the lesser lights who’ve succeeded in securing longer playoff runs. Eventually, the cup will find it’s way to Vancouver (just as twin Art Ross tropies and President’s cups have found their way). In the meantime, I look forward to enjoying one of the top teams compete the “entertaining way” during the regular season and will keep my fingers crossed during the playoffs.

      GCG!!!!

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  2. Mark Ragnar
    May 8, 2012

    May I use your post as a boilerplate response to those I am too lazy and inarticulate to reply to myself?

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      May 8, 2012

      Go for it. ;)

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  3. peanutflower
    May 8, 2012

    Could never ever have said this better myself, so I’m not going to even try. I will however make a comment about how horribly and irrationally entitled Canucks “fans” are these days. Geez, why not sit back and watch some great hockey, and rejoice that your team will (hopefully) continue to play great skills hockey, unlike what is likely to be a horribly boring western conference final and likely SCF. If you want to complain about something, complain about how part of your ticket price is being sent to buy white t-shirts for the now magically appearing Coyote fans. I bet the Aquilinis just love that…

    Anyway, glad to see GMMG is sticking around, and I hope he brings along the rest of the VERY SUCCESSFUL contingent with him. I look forward to another exciting season made even better by a well rested team.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 8, 2012

      The owners, including the Aquilinis, extended Bettman’s contract last year. They should have nothing to say about the Phoenix situation. Personally, I’m loving that, because the fact of having a league owned team win the Cup might finally put an end to that ridiculous situation.

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      • peanutflower
        May 8, 2012

        Yeah, well, it’s totally amazing that the owners did extend Bettman’s contract. Obviously, one would assume, he offers more to the owners as business people than we as simple fans can see. I just like to watch the game, mostly. :)

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  4. Chris the Curmudgeon
    May 8, 2012

    Well I can’t say I’m too surprised. But just to expand, there was also the Booth trade (returns questionable at best), the Luongo million-year contract and of course, the shameful way they handled their top prospect, let alone the trade. I think Gillis has made good moves too, and I most certainly would not advocate blowing up the core of the team, but there have been more cock-ups than you seem willing to admit. And I can’t get over the fact that we are so easy to give him a pass for the team not being ready to win in the playoffs this year. For all the tired excuses that could be trotted out, we finished in 1st place! Seems like one thing that might be vindicating the management a little is how thoroughly the Kings whipped the Blues (made our series look close in comparison), in that it shows that LA being a solid, well-prepared team coming together at the right time was as big of a part of that first round result as Canuck shortcomings.

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    • bergberg
      May 8, 2012

      Nothing like kicking that dead horse, eh?

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 8, 2012

      There’s no kicking. I’m just providing a contrasting point of view to the glowing endorsement of Gillis put forth by the Bulies and supporting it with examples. You are free to disagree, but I feel the facts support my point of view as much as they do theirs. I think Gillis was full value for GM of the year last year. But such an award is measured not by absolute success, but relative success, otherwise Ken Holland or Ray Shero would win it every year. So just as taking a big step forward earns Gillis accolades, taking a large step backwards earns him criticism, and when criticizing, it is important to provide justification.

      Also, bringing up Cody is only part of that, as Harrison also seems wont to skirt the Booth trade, which frankly doesn’t look good either: Samuelsson, as much as he’s lost a step, might have helped the team in the playoffs (he was particularly effective against the Kings 2 seasons ago, to the tune of 7 goals past Quick), while Booth contributed effectively nothing. Sammy had shown chemistry with a number of Canucks in the past, while Booth, for as much as his effort is there, doesn’t really seem to have chemistry with anyone on our team. And Sammy is now a free agent, while Booth is a big cap hit for the next three years. Sure Booth’s had potential in the past, but he’s 3 seasons removed from a season that justifies his salary. And while that trade did rid us of Marco Sturm, that signing was another example of a blunder by Gillis.

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  5. bearspaw
    May 8, 2012

    I think people have forgotten how to enjoy the things we have. It amazes me how everyone thinks they know so much more than the people actually running the ship…good for the Aquilini’s to stay the course…I Believe in Blue and can’t wait for October!

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  6. peanutflower
    May 8, 2012

    Well, you keep going on about the “shameful” treatment of Hodgson, but I think the problems with Cody and his entourage started pretty early on. He was misdiagnosed by his own doctors as well as by the Canucks doctors, so nothing shameful there. Or was it the fact that Gillis spoke out about what a pain in the ass Hodgson and all his drama was? Nothing shameful there. The rest of what you say, well, I guess it remains to be seen what happens to Luongo, but really, what’s wrong with a long contract for a really good goalie? Really good. As in top five in active goalies in the NHL. Luongo was rarely injured, so it’s not like the Dipietro infinity contract. If Schneider hadn’t come along we would all be still cheering for Bobby Lu instead of sending him packing.

    People get all riled up about the 8th place team beating the 1st place team, but really, weren’t the Kings boasting a better record in the last half of the season than the Canucks were? I was pretty surprised that the Canucks finished in first place, and they probably shouldn’t have. They played their playoff game in January and it seemed like that took pretty much all that was in in the tank. Salo was never the same. Kesler should never have started playing when he did, so all in all it was a minor miracle that they did finish in first place, and thus created some pretty high expectations that probably were unrealistic.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 8, 2012

      What’s wrong with that contract is what’s wrong with every long term contract: they are almost always a bad idea. Dipietro, Lecavalier, Yashin, heck even Rick Nash. Even when the players are good, those contracts become albatrosses hanging around the team’s neck.

      And by the way, Schneider didn’t just “come along”. He’d been in the Canucks’ system for a few years and it was plenty clear by 2010 that he was the real deal. The Canucks seem to be allergic to bringing their developing players along to replenish the team, and the fans seem to consider that normal because the team has been chronically unable to draft effectively for much of its history. The same thing is true of Cody: 20-year-old kids don’t just suddenly have a lot of “drama”. Both sides are clearly somewhat to blame for that situation and as you know, I hold Gillis responsible for his share of it: after all, we’ve only heard one side of that story, in no small part because “classless, selfish, drama queen” Hodgson has decided to forgo defending himself so as not to air his dirty laundry in public like Gillis did.

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      • Brent
        May 8, 2012

        Agree that Gillis and AV share the blame with the Hodgson situation, but he doesn’t speak out because people around him do it for him.

        I also agree with you (in previous posts) that too much has been made of his defensive lapses. Same for many offensive players. I wonder what the stats were for the Sedin’s when they were at the same level. They still can be defensive liabilities in their own zone, especially at the end of one of their long shifts. The main reason for the trade was he wanted out, and they were not going to risk keeping him around affecting the room. Be good to see what the players REALLY think of the trade. We need inside sources.

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          May 8, 2012

          If your room can be brought down by the wishes of a 20-year-old rookie, it wasn’t much of a room to begin with.

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      • Tamara B
        May 8, 2012

        The ONLY reason Hodgson has decided to forgo defending himself is because he has other people doing it for him.

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        • APCanucks7
          May 8, 2012

          Also I think it should be pointed out, that the two people who spoke out for Cody were Rich Winter and Gary Roberts. His agent and his personal trainer, who also happen to work for Cody. I would take everything they say with a grain of salt, since he pays them and it would be in their best interest to defend him. It’s not like Cody or his dad would be afraid to fire them, since they are on their third agent since turning pro.

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          • BedBeats
            May 8, 2012

            Indeed. Served a fellow (i know, it is not lost on me that this rides on conjecture) who named dropped enough info regarding CoHo. He claimed that Cody’s father has been up the arses of every club that Cody has ever played for. He titled him as “meddling”. Personally i really have no opinion about Hodgson, and never really thought of his trade as a blunder. Certainly the team subtracted a small source of offense, but ultimately we have to wait and see how the trade works out for both sides.

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          May 8, 2012

          None of them has offered any specifics or gone into the situation that far. They just say they think Cody is a good guy. I think so too, just like seemingly everyone who’s ever met the kid EXCEPT Mike Gillis. It seems likely that there was some friction between the two camps. But really, aside from conjecture from the ridiculous hacks employed by the Vancouver newspapers, and the eventual presser from Gillis on the subject, what have we actually heard about it? Everything is second-hand. Cody himself (not his loudmouth agent or his seemingly overbearing father) had several opportunities to take potshots at the team or the management, when it would have had no bearing on his future moving forward, and he didn’t do so. That is a sign of maturity and class, and yet people give him zero credit for it. And the reason is that people believe what they want to believe, and in this case, they want to believe Gillis because they want to believe IN Gillis.

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          • peanutflower
            May 8, 2012

            Come on, now, Cody’s dad is an experienced (controversial) politician who was at one time touted to be Bob Rae’s successor. There’s every possibility that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, and that Cody is the benefactor of some pretty firm education on correct political behaviour.

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            • Brent
              May 9, 2012

              Mike Harris’s successor. Bob Rae was with the provincial NDP back then, Mike Harris is WAY to the right.

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        • Josh D.
          May 9, 2012

          People seem to forget that Cody is from a Political family. Why do you think he has other people speak for him?

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      • canuckistanian
        May 8, 2012

        “Dipietro, Lecavalier, Yashin, heck even Rick Nash”

        All overpaid and underperforming. Much harder to say that Luongo is overpaid. Many will argue he has underperformed, but the stats still have him as one of the top goalies in the league, and based on that comparator group, I would say he has performed quite well for his 5.3 per/yr. Much better than say Bryz…

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          May 8, 2012

          The comparison still stands. Lifetime contracts really have one major effect: they tie a team’s fortunes to the player. I think Luongo’s played quite well for much (if not all) of his tenure here. But the fact of that contract now is that it ties management’s hands going forward. The team would probably prefer to move on with Schneider, but the task of moving Luongo now goes from trying to get big assets in return, to also trying to move a major contract in the process, much diminishing the return. Or Gillis may be forced to trade Schneider as a result, which would be just another example of how a lifetime contract imposed inflexibility on a roster decision.

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  7. Brent
    May 8, 2012

    I think this is a good thing. Sure there are some moves he has made that don’t look all that good (I also miss Samuelson, but do feel that Booth has potential to do better), but as you said,what is the alternative? Their are a lot of positives with Gillis. I really like the way he works on team preparedness and sleep. This is a really big deal with the travel schedule we have. Also the fact that the boys are on a fairly tight lease while traveling, influences on their eating and exercise habits, utilizing advanced stats, etc. This is all good stuff. But I also think that giving him a pass on “mailing in the season because the team was tired” as has been suggested is a bit much. I think he was as surprized as we were at the short playoff run. Maybe he didn’t expect to get all the way to the final, but he expected more than we got.

    I also think having AV back is a good thing as well. However, I certainly thought he was gone when he didn’t show up at the final press conference and then just left town. Maybe we will see some changes in the assistant coaching area? My feeling on this has to do with your article where you discussed predictability. We have the talent (or most of it anyway) but need to mix things up a bit, and that may mean we need to bring in some different assistant coaches.

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  8. Andre Boudrias' Jock
    May 9, 2012

    Solution: make Chris the Curmudgeon the GM !!! Yawn. Let it go, bro. Sound like you just want to be right.

    This thread started with some interesting DIFFERENT angles, and ended up back with the usual crud we have to read/hear all the time. Which is not to say you are wrong. Just that it is tiresome. The Luongo deal is long probably because that was the ASK price for a goalie who at that time looked like the franchise. It is revisionist at best to forget that. And the current CBA at that time allowed it. Gillis had a simple decision: keep Luongo or let him go. And as with ALL player development issues, there is no “science” to it, that governs it all. That’s why we WATCH the games. Sorry for the all caps !

    But you are plotting the perfect lineup on your own piece of paper. It doesn’t work that way. What my many years of experience has taught me is that it is simply a critical mass of great players who are durable who make up teams who win the cup. In more recent times, this is a shorter prospect, and even harder to achieve (after free-agency etc.). To whit: the Oilers of the 80′s – no matter how great their adoring fans were, and I assure you they were, and no matter how great their owner (yes, the immortal Peter Pocklinton), and their then shiny GM (yes the immortal Glen Sather, who has won diddly since), those Oilers – they WON because they had one of the greatest (if not the greatest) player ever to lace up skates, surrounded by durable and talented teammates (no need to recount them all, but they were deep and many).
    NOW, in this era and since Gretzky went to LA, it is nigh impossible to keep such a team together. So, your “window” is smaller. And then, it goes back to great players, how many, how durable, and heavy heavy doses of luck – if for no other reason that there are roughly 29 OTHER teams also trying to do the same thing every year, or find a way to counter talent and durability (see: LA Kings/ Phoenix Coyotes/ New Jersey Devils, and …).

    In essence: it is a game. Chill the hell out. If I hear Cody one more time…
    Sorry he is NOT Steve Yzerman, Bernie Nichols, Jaromir Jagr, Jerome Iginla, Steve Shutt, Guy Lafleur, Joe Sakic, or Bobby Hull etc. He is at best equivalent to Chris Drury. AT BEST. And time has yet to tell on that. He is NOT a franchise player. He is talented serviceable, second or third liner. THIS is a failure of Gillis? Letting this all-star go? Come on.

    Now, the question of whether Gillis got the best DRAFT selection that year, is another matter. Can this GM and this organization DRAFT better? Yes. I think so.

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  9. akidd
    May 9, 2012

    am a little late to the party here but just wanna shout out a question to pitb. if kesler injured his shoulder in feb and coho was traded on feb.27 the chances(unless kesler injured his shoulder on feb 28) are that gillis made the coho deal knowing his stud second-line centre was injured and ‘questionable’ to take on the extra responsibility that came with his departing collegue.

    so isn’t that a gob-smacker? lots of different implications. didn’t know how serious the injury was? if so another demerit point for the canuck medical staff. completely throwing away the season? strategically i agree( but not so sure i would if i were a season-ticket holder.) and if so then why not have the suergery in february so it’s not wash, rinse and repeat next year with kesler’s performance. was the hodgson/canuck relationship so bad that they had to trade him even with their star 2nd-line centre down?

    lots of angles to mull over here in a town that likes to mull over angles.

    to trade coho with kesler injured takes some serious moxie. i’ve got lots of questions. the main one being, which i’m posing to you now, why is nobody in the media, asking questions?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 10, 2012

      I’m guessing one of the reasons that the questions haven’t really come up is that media availability is extremely limited during the off-season. You’ll notice that the quotes in the articles about Kesler’s surgery are either coming from his agent or are old, recycled quotes. Players, staff, and management are extremely difficult to contact for comment at this time of year.

      It is an interesting question as to how bad the injury to Kesler was. It apparently dates back to mid-February, prior to the trade deadline, but that could mean that it simply came up as a sore shoulder that wasn’t thoroughly investigated until it became a chronic issue. NHL players have all sorts of aches, strains, and pains throughout a season and it’s understandable that it would take a while before something like Kesler’s shoulder injury, something that he was obviously able to play through, would be seen as something more serious.

      Hindsight is 20/20: it’s easy to look back and say that the team should have known exactly what the injury was, but it’s possible that they had no idea at the time how serious it was, without it really being the fault of anyone. Players play through minor injuries all the time. It’s definitely worth asking when they knew it was serious, though.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 10, 2012

        To follow up on this (and it’s going in a Spitballin’ in a moment), here’s a great post about labrum tears (actually about Kesler’s hip surgery last year) that points out how difficult labrum tears are to detect. The main symptom is just pain and it can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause. Normally an MRI is required to diagnose the injury. I would want to ask when the Canucks medical team actually diagnosed the labrum tear: the article I linked to says that labral tears can go undiagnosed for as much as 2 years.

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