No confidence in Canucks’ front-office, ownership after idle trade deadline

Coming into Wednesday’s trade deadline, the Canucks could have done just about anything and it wouldn’t have surprised us. They were “aggressively listening” to offers for both Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler, a process we imagine involves an ear trumpet, at the very least. Roberto Luongo had been moved the day before, proving, as the philosopher Kevin Garnett once shouted, anything is possible.

With the team plummeting out of contention, it seemed as though Mike Gillis and co. were on the cusp of blowing it up in the traditional sense — an oft-talked about course of action in hockey, but one that rarely ever happens.

It didn’t happen Wednesday either. The team’s lone move on Wednesday: closing the book on Raphael Diaz’s short tour of duty in Vancouver by shipping him to Alain Vigneault’s Rangers for a fifth-round pick.

(That’s Raphael Diaz, who was so integral to the Canucks’ first powerplay unit that Jordan Schroeder was scratched so the team could keep him in the lineup for the Heritage Classic. What in the world is this team doing?)

Ryan Kesler remains a Canuck, proving once again what Roberto Luongo learned last deadline: the only thing that prevents a trade deadline deal more efficiently than a no-trade clause is telling Mike Gillis you’re willing to waive it. Kesler knows it now too, tweeting a Luongo quote — “told you so” — alongside a photo of an umbrella getting hammered with rain, a day after a Florida-bound Roberto Luongo tweeted a palm tree.

Seriously, when did the Canucks get so good at Twitter? And where are they getting all these poignant emojis? And more importantly, what the hell happened today?

Well, that depends on who you ask. Earlier in the day, rumours began to swirl that it was Canucks’ ownership holding up a deal, either because they didn’t have confidence in Mike Gillis to make it, or because they didn’t want to give up on the playoff revenue from which the Canucks are yet to be mathematically eliminated.

That was Rob Rossi’s final report shortly after the deadline passed.

 

If this is the truth, especially about the playoff revenue, consider me furious. As I said yesterday, chasing a playoff berth over angling for long-term improvement reeks of money-grubbery. If the Canucks held on to Kesler to extend their season by two weeks, they are among the stupidest franchises in hockey.

But The Globe & Mail’s David Ebner countered the report, saying that it had nothing to do with confidence — either in a playoff berth or a lack thereof in Gillis — but rather, was simply a matter of the Canucks not getting what they asked for.

 

It’s important to remember where the other reports are coming from: Pittsburgh, who didn’t get what they want. It’s very possible that the reports of meddling ownership, which seem to come primarily from the Southwest corner of the Quaker State, are one last smoke bomb tossed by a Penguins’ front-office unhappy that Gillis wasn’t bluffing about holding onto Kesler unless the price was right.

But regardless of what actually happened, the rumours of front-office meddling and a lack of confidence are going to stick, for one simple reason: they’re believable. Too believable.

Ownership doesn’t have confidence in Gillis and Tortorella? Neither do the fans any longer.

Gillis is the architect of this team, and Tortorella has been at the helm during a precipitous fall from grace. Teams occasionally get worse instead of better, but when was the last time you saw a team descend into the utter chaos and ineptitude of this year’s Canucks? What were we supposed to make of Tuesday night’s total no-show? I’m not confident in Gillis and Tortorella guiding this supposed re-tool either. These last two days, with Gillis failing to make a trade I felt he needed to make, a day after reportedly watching Pat Brisson make the Luongo trade he couldn’t in 48 hours, haven’t helped.

And as for ownership and their reported meddling, that wouldn’t surprise me either. Those have been the rumours for quite some time, and nothing that happened today — again, nothing happened today — seems out of character for them.

Thing is, there are potential upsides to retaining Kesler. While the package may be worse now that you’re offering one fewer year of playoff Kesler under his current deal, you might be able to drive the price back up — or get players more in line with what you truly need — with a larger group of suitors at the draft.

And if you do keep him, you just cleared a ton of money off the books with the Roberto Luongo trade. With some young talent finally arriving next year, potentially, and with the Canucks four centres strong for the time being (Henrik, Kesler, Matthias, Richardson, and Horvat somewhere in there), some smart summer moves (say, strengthening the wings by moving a defenceman, and getting a new coach whose teams don’t suspiciously forget how to do offence) could reposition the Canucks to be back in the thick of things sooner rather than later. They might even make Kesler happy again.

But here’s the problem: it’s simply impossible for Canuck fans to see an upside right now, a future where the ship is righted. Not when we have no trust in the people at the helm.

Today’s rumours are going to stick because the Canucks have a confidence problem, and nothing that happened today did anything to fix it.

55 comments

  1. Sean
    March 5, 2014

    “While the package may be worse now that you’re offering one fewer year of playoff Kesler under his current deal, you might be able to drive the price back up — or get players more in line with what you truly need — with a larger group of suitors at the draft.”

    What “larger group”? Kesler is still the one who decides where to go. The teams that Kesler wants to go to will be the same group at the draft. Depending on how the playoff runs go for some teams… maybe even less teams will be involved.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 5, 2014

      Kesler didn’t want to go to a team that was out of the playoff picture now. But everything resets in the summer, and it’s possible that there are a few more teams he’d be willing to join at the beginning of the season.

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      • Gary
        March 6, 2014

        Harrison – not wanting you to leap onto a ‘new GM, new coach’ bandwagon, but if there is a new broom to come in, who would you be thinking of?

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  2. Rob Robertson
    March 5, 2014

    Let’s assume Gillis moves Kesler at the Draft for a roster player, a prospect and a 1st or 2nd rounder.

    Then (with plenty of cap space) go after big name UFA’s like Stastny, Bolland or Callahan this summer

    Say they also bolster their wing by trading a Dman like Harrison mentioned.

    They’ve now gotten significantly younger and added some scoring up front. With room under to cap to grow.

    Am i grasping at straws or is this plausible? Please. I need this.

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    • mb13
      March 5, 2014

      A lot of the problems are solved if the Canucks can start scoring again. ie Sedins return to form. The question is if it is the system, the usage or the age that has stifled them. Or are they just slumping (looking less and less likely).

      My question is: Should Gillis get fired at the end of the year. Which GM left the Canucks in a better position to win? Gillis or Nonis. I remember upon his hiring, Gillis was quite arrogant in that he felt the club was not close to winning. I wonder what Gillis would say if he inherited his own mess.

      Harrison – nice to see a critical take on the day’s activities. Have you had a change of heart on the Gillis regime?

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    • Chinook
      March 5, 2014

      Rob, you’re dreaming in technicolour if you imagine getting a quality roster player, quality prospect AND a high draft pick for Kesler. Maybe Gillis shares your dream. Going for all three ensures getting nothing of value. What is realistic: a very high end roster player OR prospect, and a high draft pick.

      Past experience shows that a) many free agents re-sign and b) overpaying for free agents is dumb.

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      • Rob Robertson
        March 5, 2014

        You’re saying Kesler will not fetch what Gillis is looking for. I think that’s a fair assessment.

        Let’s revise the Kesler deal to a quality young forward and a middling defense prospect.
        Also, they go after a quality UFA forward (against your better judgement).

        They’d still need a few things to happen:
        - The Sedins bounce back
        - One of their prospects that’s not a goalkeeper makes an impact.
        - Burrows scores a goal
        - Kassian becomes a permanent top 6 player

        I feel like there’s too many variables for this ‘re-tool’ to be successful.

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        • Gary
          March 6, 2014

          Hmmm…given general scoring/ageing trends the first doesn’t look that likely (not out of the question given the players they are – I’m not knocking them here, but accepting that at some point they won’t be scoring 75-95 points per year, and I hope that point is sometime after they are paid $7m per year).

          Recent history for the second isn’t great, especially if you’re thinking of forwards. After Kesler, who’s the next best drafted forward in the 2000s? Err….do we have to go back to the Peter Schaeffer and Harold Druken years (please no…)?

          Burrows – are we at the point of monkeys, keyboards and Shakespeare yet?

          Kassian – why isn’t he in the top 6 already? Wasted in the bottom 6. In some ways he’s like Schroeder (spelling fail?) – play him and see what you have rather than wasting him with 4th line minutes. But unlike Schroeder he’s in Van and not going anywhere, so it’s second line here or not at all. And if you start to question the logic of him being 3rd/4th line, you’re back to questioning Torts again – and that’s a slippery slope to a fat payoff and a new coaching hunt.

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  3. arjay
    March 5, 2014

    Not sure why it is a bad thing to wait for the draft to consider moving Kes, if at all as stated, there will be many more suitors at the draft and Kes will likely be more expansive re his NTC.

    So, with minimum $11 mill. now freed up for one or two quality free agents, some prospects in the system, potential assets from the kes or Edler move (i really thot Edler would be the one to go to PHI despite all the chatter about Kes) and a growing likelihood that everyone has seen enuf of the Torts “system” which has reduced a fairly elite line-up to “the Dithers” I think next season will be much better than this…..provided Torts is let go.

    In the “Art of the Deal”……he who blinks first; loses. MG is a patient man and also is not in a hurry to move an elite asset like either Kes or Edler for no good reason. Believe it or not, time is on OUR side………..this isn’t a race it is a process of transition….and our transition will be much faster than, say, Cgy, Edm, To, NYI, Phi, etc etc.

    The sky is NOT falling, Nuck fans…. the sky is just cloudy today.

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  4. shoes
    March 5, 2014

    The additional perk of waiting for the draft….there will be at least one team (the loser of the SCF) and up to about 10 teams that all feel they can ‘take it all’ if only they had another piece like Kesler. Every good team goes through that because 16 teams enter the playoffs with lofty ideas and only one emerges. So yeah the bidding field is bigger by a good margin and if the Canucks miss the playoffs then Kesler may feel inclined to expand his horizens about where he would go to.

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  5. Brent
    March 5, 2014

    I feel your pain Harrison, I feel your pain!

    Really, really don’t understand the Diaz deal. I liked him. And to trade him to the equivalent of a bag of pucks makes no sense. Must be something behind that butthead move. Did they need to shed a contract with the players they were hoping to get from Kesler?

    Certainly something needs to change – Torts, Gillis, both? Nun of the above?

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    • Chinook
      March 5, 2014

      I like your third option – banish both Gillis and Torts to a “nun”nery!

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    • Sean
      March 5, 2014

      We had to trade Diaz because there was no way that we were going to re-sign him this offseason. Might as well grab something out of it. It’s not like he cost us anything either (Weise was a waver pickup). We essentially got a 5th round pick (in a strong draft, for whatever that’s worth) for free.

      As for what needs to change, put my vote ballot in for “Both”.

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      • the olde coot
        March 5, 2014

        Dale Weiss for a fifth round pick?
        If it’s not I then I conclude:
        It’s someone else that’s pretty thick.
        I loved his play and attitude!

        We needed help back on the D,
        So it was Weiss for Raphael.
        Now he is gone almost for free,
        And I must wonder what the hell
        Is going on in blunderland.

        Did this unfold as someone planned?
        Was this a brilliant sleight of hand?
        Will this some miracle achieve
        So sometime hence I will believe
        That this all made uncommon sense,
        And was not mere incompetence?

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    • dontpassjustshoot
      March 6, 2014

      Just to point out: the team was doing fine through December. It was just a bad January, with a resulting loss of confidence and Olympic break leading to a failure to get back on track in a very fragmented February.

      I think not all the fans are really having a severe loss of confidence: only the more vocal ones. Just like last year, the people saying, “Whatever, but I actually think Luongo is a great goalie,” were getting drowned out by the howls of those fans who wanted to trade him, so the fanbase was defined as wanting to trade him.

      If they didn’t trade Kesler, I guess it’s because they couldn’t get a package they thought had more pros than cons. Then, they shouldn’t trade, even though we were all feeling pretty clever about predicting and expecting one.

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  6. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 5, 2014

    Ray Shero has a reputation for offering spare parts and little more and trying to call other teams’ bluffs. Seriously, when was the last time the Penguins gave up anything of value at the trade deadline? Shero must have thought he was calling Gillis’s bluff, only to find out that, in fact, Gillis wasn’t bluffing. And really, why would he have been? The Canucks didn’t HAVE to trade Kesler. He’s still an excellent player, not just a commodity, and there is no evidence, from any credible source that isn’t internet scuttlebutt and rumour parroting, that he desperately wants out. The comparisons to the Luongo situation are asinine, the two are only comparable in the sense that they were players the media expected to see traded that weren’t (at least not right away). I strongly doubt any trade was held up by management to secure a couple of extra playoff dates: as it is, the team is trending away from a playoff spot with Kesler in the lineup, so to think that keeping him somehow improves their chances all that much is a level of naivete I simply can’t attribute to Aquilini.

    Not wild about the management or coaching of this team right now, but I also don’t think this deadline was one of Gillis’s worst moments or anything.

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  7. iain
    March 5, 2014

    frustrating to see nothing happen today (sorry Raphael, we hardly knew ye), but at least we didn’t burn our future for a Pahlsson or a Roy today. i can well believe that people wanted to take advantage of us, the fanbase, and our desperation by tossing the canucks an anchor to get Kesler. however, now, the team HAS to make some moves on draft day, and not minor fiddle around the edges moves either. (i won;’t say gillis has to make them, cos i’m not at all sure he’ll be the one making the decisions come late June).

    all in all: MEH

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  8. Joe
    March 5, 2014

    Harrison,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. There should be a lack of confidence in the Tortorella / Gillis brain trust — particularly in Gillis.

    For some time I have thought Gillis and others were operating over their heads. Setting aside some poor trades and signings just look at: the handling of Louongo/Schneider and what we didn’t get for two top notch goalies: Gillis’s boasting of having boosted Cody Hodgson’s stats in order to get more from him (smart to do that but extremely stupid to boast about it); buying what turned out to be the Utica team but almost having to suspend operations because they had no home for it; announcing with fanfare a couple of years ago (or does it only seem that long ago) that the club needed to be bigger and tougher — and signing Derek Roy at about the same time.

    Now, Tortorella may have to go if his style of play has caused the demise on any real offense, as seems to be the case, but what is really depressing is knowing that if one or both go, it will be the Aquillinis hiring their replacements. They are the ones who really created this mess.

    How much are season tickets to the White Caps?

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  9. peanutflower
    March 5, 2014

    I don’t understand what people think Gillis was supposed to do. Unless someone like Crosby or Kunitz really wanted to play here what’s the point of trading anyone? Does inserting a “star” forward into a struggling line up magically equal success? There’s plenty of examples where it has not. Probably more nots than yeses. I’m for leaving the team alone right now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Gillis and the Aquilinis not trading for trading’s sake. I’m not sure I understand the Luongo thing; that was pretty odd. But going and sacrificing a known entity for an unknown one — unknown as far as fitting into the team — just seems like a knee-jerk reaction to me. I’m probably the only one who doesn’t think Gillis needs to be thrown under the bus. I hope I get proven right. :)

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  10. ganders
    March 5, 2014

    Gotta love Vancouver’s trade activity over the last 24 hours.

    First, I love the circle jerk nature of the Luongo trade (sums up the front office quite well). Bertuzzi to Florida for Luongo. Bertuzzi to Detriot for Matthias. Luongo to Florida for…. Matthias. And then Diaz???? What a cluster. Let’s give the guy a try out for a 5th round pick and an above average 4th liner!

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  11. Squatch
    March 5, 2014

    The Canucks really need to get some respected hockey guys in upper management. I am starting to wonder if Gillis’ former life as a player agent is hindering his ability to close deals. Could it be that other GMs hold resentment towards him from past negotiations and are therefore reluctant to deal with Gillis? In any event, I think his time is over. Don’t ask me who to replace him with though…

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  12. GeezMoney
    March 5, 2014

    This is what Canucks don’t seem to grasp — and the media seems too shy to report:

    Francesco Aquillini has operated farms in unsafe fashion, so much so that WorkSafe BC fined him $60,000 for using unsafe vehicles to transport his workers. If the man is cheap enough not to provide safe transportation for his workers at his blueberry farm, what else is he willing to cheap out on?

    The Canucks are a toy, but not one Aquillini is prepared to take a loss on.

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    • ikillchicken
      March 5, 2014

      I think though, the issue is not so much whether he is cheap. It’s whether he’s an idiot. Of course he want to make a profit. He’s a business man. But you’ll make more money long term with a quick turn around that gets us back to being a contender quickly. Chasing a last 1st round loss will actually cost him money if it mires us in a half decade (plus) rebuild like Calgary. I know he’s cheap. All owners are cheap. We just need to hope he’s not also stupid.

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  13. Amor de Cosmos
    March 5, 2014

    If Mike Gillis is merely Aquillini’s meat puppet — as growing rumours suggest — then firing him will change nothing. The owner will just go hire a similar replacement.

    The necessity of losing Tortorella is much more significant, at least in the short/medium term. As others have suggested there’s still the makings of a viable team here. Defence is solid. Goal, while not as strong as it was yesterday, is no dog’s dinner. The team doesn’t need blowing up, but that’s what’s likely to happen if Torts stays beyond the summer. He doesn’t have the ability to coach senior players, so he’ll want to replace them with kids who are more likely to buy into his gung-ho approach. Maybe.

    A friend from Calgary emailed me this today:

    “The whole scenario in Vancouver reminds me a lot of the dog days of the Sutter era here. Team gets to the Stanley Cup final, loses, “this is the year” for the next two or three years, then start to lose in the first round, hire a hard-ass coach to try and get them over the top (Brent Sutter), team eventually tunes them out, the GM’s asset management goes to crap in the panic (Phaneuf, Jokinen (both in and out)). ”

    It doesn’t have to play out that way here, but it does serve as a dire warning.

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  14. Reece
    March 5, 2014

    This is a pretty good example of a media induced, self-perpetuating cycle of hysteria. I hold the same beliefs as you with regards to the Canucks’ current state – they need a retooling in terms of both players and management – but it seems to me that the media is doing some gratuitous “reading between the lines.” I’m glad you addressed this by quoting sources with differing points of view (the hallmark of good journalism (: ) but it seems to me that you merely used Dave Ebner’s side superficially. To me, you’re strongly suggesting that there’s front-office meddling and while I’m not sure what the true case is, your article serves to perpetuate this belief.

    Today’s rumours are going to stick because you’re saying they’re going to stick.

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  15. jeremy
    March 5, 2014

    this isn’t complex problem. gillis was good, to get the canucks to the cup final, and to nurture a team which could consecutively win division titles and compete in the playoffs for many years. it’s still the same GM. he’s still good. he made one mistake, however.

    he hired john tortorella.

    don’t try to see too deeply here. the bottom fell out of this season when an inept head coach busted into an opposition’s dressing room WWE style and got himself removed from the team for a sustained and important period. since then he’s made no genuine attempt at making amends. the sedins, consumate professionals in every respect, are now under the whim of a man who values the ‘dog-on-bone’ scale higher than effective, flexible systems, an understanding of plyer intricacies and mutual respect. henrik skated with tom sestito and darren archibald for shifts yesterday – what message is that sending? what message is it sending to the team as a whole when he starts eddie lack for the heritage classic? it’s the same message he’s sending to everyone else, if you care to read it. “i am clueless.”

    if gillis has to go as part of an overhaul that takes tortorella with, so be it! i like him, i think he makes savvy moves and has repeatedly made lemonade out of lemons in a frantic market. but there are other good GMs around. there are few coaches that could keep doing so much damage to a canucks outfit that once had some self respect.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 5, 2014

      Henrik was being double shifted because Richardson was out of the game. The only message was that when guys get hurt, top line players take their minutes.

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      • jeremy
        March 5, 2014

        oh, right! yeah! that totally explains why he skated a whopping 17 minutes. geeze, i wonder if he can handle that immense burden…

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        • Chris the Curmudgeon
          March 5, 2014

          Only the Higgins-Hansen-Kesler “line” played more amongst forwards, and a lot of that is due to PK time (vs 0 power plays). Were you expecting to see Henrik play more with his own line? Ie: Daniel + Mr. 0 goals?

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    • chocoball
      March 7, 2014

      Not sure you can say that Gillis was the architect of the Cup run in 2011, since nearly all of the core players like the Sedins, Kessler, Edler, Bieksa, etc were brought in/drafted by Burke, Nonis.

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  16. arjay
    March 5, 2014

    Jeremy…agree with your general take…but you made a glaring error that most folks here keep making…you blame Gillis for the owners mistakes….those being the Luongo contract and the over-ruling of Gillis re the coaching hire (MG wanted Stephens out of LA). In fact, Gillis said at the presser to introduce Torts…”when WE hired…..” clearly pointing out that this was not his decision…as president of the club only one person can over rule him; and he did.

    Jettison Torts and his flawed system, make the moves needed to transition the club and return to a strong and competitive presence. It is all there to be done with the removal of the coach that FA hired.

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    • jeremy
      March 5, 2014

      you may be right on this one. if this is the case, and gillis was against torts’ hiring, maybe that will give him more leverage to have him removed in the off-season. aquilini, after all, is the guy who’s going to suffer when the playoffs are missed and i don’t think he could be that bitter a guy to blame it on gillis as well as tortorella. if we’ve got any luck at all we’ll get a 2014 mulligan, with a better choice for coach and a core of new prospects a year closer to the big show.

      a man can dream.

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      • Neil B
        March 5, 2014

        Better yet, let’s hope the management in Buffalo is still in confusion at the end of the season, and hire Nolan out from under them.

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        • Joe
          March 5, 2014

          Or Paul Maurice who is only under contract to Winnipeg to the end of this season!

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    • Rory
      March 5, 2014

      “In fact, Gillis said at the presser to introduce Torts…”when WE hired…..” clearly pointing out that this was not his decision…as president of the club only one person can over rule him; and he did.”

      I was about to make the VERY same post! I don’t think Gillis has much choice.

      In fact I think the mistake with Lack starting the winter classic points to the fact that ownership might be listening to Torts’s wishes over Gillis. Perhaps it even points to the fact that John Tortorella wanted Lou GONE. One way to get control of the dressing room would be to sideline or trade a veteran ex-captain. One who seems like he has a very different temperament to Tortorella.

      I wonder if ownership tends to involve the coach’s wishes a little too heavily in trades. Gillis did pretty well in the gap between Alain Vigneault being fired and Torts gaining influence.

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  17. letsgetreal
    March 5, 2014

    c’mon folks,
    if you had to lay blame on the current state of the canucks, you’d have to point it at the owners.
    not gillis. a GM is essentially the owner’s rep… a thankless job ’cause they take the fall when a decision doesn’t pan out. blaming gillis for everything is way too easy. when it comes to decision-making like signing players or agreeing to trades, the owners get the final say. heck, if you were the owner of the canucks you’d want the last say on any $$$ deal. i blame the owners for aggressively pursuing tortorella…totally the wrong man for the job. and i blame tortorella for all the canucks falling left & right getting injured.

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  18. JR
    March 5, 2014

    Kesler is an elite defensive Center with a mean streak who can score. This type of asset does not come along often, and could help pretty much any team.

    I find it funny that we are mad he was not traded… If he was traded for a lackluster package that would be even worse, as a team can’t expect to develop another center of Kesler’s calibre. Let him stay, especially if teams are lowballing us. Not a bad deal at all.

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  19. akidd
    March 5, 2014

    nice to hear your views, harrison. i know it’s hard to step out on limb against a team that has been known to punish media dissenters. big ups!

    worst case scenerio: tortorella, who obviously had aquilini’s ear at one time, convinces aquilini to fire gillis and hire him as coach/gm. keenan 2.0. mwu-ha-ha-ha!!

    i didn’t see a lot of value coming back for players today. if that was any indication of the market then gillis was very smart to hold onto kes. kesler remains one of the top players on the planet. he was part of an excellent american team that went toe-to-toe with canada. he went toe-to-toe with the best players in the world and his team only lost 1-0. and 29 is not that old.

    pittsburg was dumb not to sweeten the pot imo. the hawks crushed them a few days ago. crosby and malkin had no answer for toews and crew whereas kesler can go toe-to-toe with toews and it’s basically a standstill. i was all for trading kesler but for a younger potential superstar, nothing less. for me it wouldn’t take three different things but one really, really good thing. or two really good things. three good things? nope.

    gm’s tried to lowball gillis and he didn’t bite. good for him.

    btw, i don’t really get what gillis has done that is so awful. the ballard trade was iffy but we really needed a dman at the time. there weren’t a lot out there and hamhuis wasn’t in the bag yet. should’ve kept grabner tho as the panthers didn’t seem to really want him anyway.the booth trade made sense at the time. didn’t give up that much and who knew booth would be as terrible as he has been. he mishandled coho’s back i suppose, but he wasn’t the doctor. he was forced to trade the kid and got a pretty decent return, considering the situation. lou wasn’t waiving his ntc for t.o. but only for ‘some competitive team down south’ according to lou’s presser today. and schneider did outplay him so…what has gillis done that is so bad?

    he could be criticized for the moves he hasn’t made but adding big name players is not easy to do post-cap. he landed hamhuis and garrison and did pretty good in finding value in guys like tanev, santorelli, stanton etc. he kept a cup final team together for as long as he could(who wouldn’t have?). and got the whole core to resign for under-market value. maybe he should’ve got erhoff too but erhoff seemed more committed to money than winning.

    there’s the horrible facial hair of course but that came from a strange pact with don taylor. yet %70 say it’s all his fault. i don’t get it.

    now tortorella otoh has shown very quickly that he is not competent to do the job. but that was aquilini’s hire. if the owners hadn’t meddled we’d have stevens behind the bench and this season might have gone very differently.

    if they can get great value for kesler at the draft then great. otherwise i’ll have no prolbem cheering for number 17.

    the number one priority remains getting rid of torts and i hope aquilini can see that.

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    • BBoone
      March 6, 2014

      There is a cliche that it is easier to fire the coach than the players. In this case , however, the players have proven in the past they are much better than this , and the coach has clearly demonstrated he in addition to not getting the expected performance from many of his best players that he is incompetent tactically , blind to the needless physical toll he has exacted and out of control emotionally , Not withstanding the cliche quote , the history of pro sports has many examples of teams that dramatically improved with the removal of such an incompetent coach as Tortorella. He is by far the worst ever free agent signing by the Canucks and he should be “bought out ” ASAP .

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    • chocoball
      March 7, 2014

      The best player that Gillis brought in to the Canucks is Hamhuis via UFA…. But Hamhuis refused to sign with any other teams before his UFA (Nashville, Philly, Pittsburgh….) specifically so that he could explore going home to BC.

      So basically you had a star UFA player who wanted to play in BC, and he wanted the chance to explore a contract with the Canucks before he signed anywhere else….

      Gillis wouldn’t have been able to influence that decision prior to the start of UFA due to the anti-tampering rules….

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  20. akidd
    March 5, 2014

    and i know it’s early but my instincts say we got the best goalie of the three. it’s such a tough gig in this city and lack has the mental attributes that neither schneider nor lou have. dude is loose. telling kesler he was traded, in this kind of pressure packed situation? gold!

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  21. Shade of Blue
    March 5, 2014

    Why does Kesler want out (if indeed he did demand a trade)? To me the more worrisome aspect about the current management and coaching staff is what has happened that has Kes asking out? How did we flip so quickly from guys taking a discount to stay here and win with this team to guys waiving NTCs to leave?

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  22. Noodle
    March 5, 2014

    #LindenforGM
    #andcoach

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  23. sox/canuck fan
    March 5, 2014

    Wow, what a fall. Hard to look at the league standings right now and see the Canucks at 22nd. That’s very real and there’s no reason to think that the trend will change. If the draft were today that’s the 9th pick. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it become the 6th or 7th. But that’s as high a pick as is likely. They should take the great pick, lick their wounds, and move on.

    Have no idea if moving on happens with Gillis and/or Torts. Was there a point in time when the big mistake was made with Luongo? Did one early mistake get compounded in subsequent gaffes by the coaches, GMs or owners? No doubt it is embarrassing for what are all smart people to acknowledge.

    The next few years will require patience from the fans, astute amateur draft scouting led by solid GM staffing decisions, transitional Sedin leadership in the face of waning Sedinery, and at this year’s draft, a young centre with scoring and Selke potential as well as a prospect for Kesler. Screw the draft pick since it’s probable that Kesler will go to a contender who won’t have a great pick anyway.

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  24. tams33
    March 5, 2014

    Why would any free agent s sign here unless Torts is gone. I like Torts as a person but watching the basic mistakes my floor hockey team knows not to do is painful. It’s a system that is exhausting and injuring players. Why would anyone want to play here. Who signs a coach like torts to five years? Do you know anything about hockey?!
    He says a bunch of jargon without really saying anything. Apparently “doesn’t coach offense” and admits he s rarely on the ice for practice. Video learning does not translate to accurate passing or shooting, basic skills mastered with repetition. This is a clown show and if they wait to get rid of this circus of fools we will be in the toilet for a decade when no one wants to play here for someone ” who holds people accountable” rather then developing players strengths. For god sakes move kassian where he can learn and develop consistently. So frustrating

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  25. chocoball
    March 5, 2014

    The seeds of the 2011 run were planted under Nonis, and the Canucks have been nothing but a mess under Gillis…. the Luongo/Schneider affair, Corrado ELC-gate,piss-poor drafting, their head coach going insane/berserk…. Now they’ve turned Kessler into a publicly disgruntled player, diminishing any negotiating advantage the Canucks may have had in trying to move him. And I’m guessing Edler is on the verge of that too now, since Gillis has been openly shopping him.

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  26. akidd
    March 6, 2014

    ??? schneider outplayed lou for a long, long time before they let him supplant lou. they showed lou tons of loyalty while they waited for him to get his legs back under him(which to his credit he finally did this year.) lou then asked for a trade but would only waive his ntc for a very select few teams. how is that gillis’ fault?

    i won’t even get into the rest of your list. elc-gate?

    people are angry at gillis because they’re just angry about where the team is. they certainly weren’t angry in 2011. i’ve yet to hear anything rational to explain why they think gillis is such a terrible gm. he’s been loyal to his core players who were the best team in the league not too long ago and did what he could under the cap to add value without blowing up the team. ya, he’s made a few misjudgements along the way but that’s how it goes with many decisions a gm has to make. you don’t get everything right.

    his big picture strategy has been sound. tortorella has been the biggest mistake so far and that’s on aquilini. maybe gillis should have told his boss to take a flying leap but gillis wasn’t exactly in a position of strength at the time.

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    • chocoball
      March 7, 2014

      Corrado ELC….they blew year 1 out of the kid’s ELC by having him play 11 games in the NHL at the end of last year….for what?? It’s obvious that for Corrado’s long-term development, he should have more seasoning and top minutes in the AHL before being ready for the NHL…so what the hell was Gillis thinking? He’s making around $600,000 per year now, and assuming his development continues as planned, he’ll make at least around $1.5m-$1.75m for the first year of his next contract (year 4 of his career, when he’s established in the Show). So Gillis has cost ownership almost $1m….for 11 games.

      I don’t think I have to go into the whole Luongo and Schneider situation….and all the other deficiencies….

      The Canucks are a mess, and a lot of it has to do with Gillis’s inept management. Maybe the guy is a great agent and a really nice guy, but a professional manager….he is not.

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  27. The GM
    March 6, 2014

    TEN STEPS TOWARD THE STANLEY CUP: 1) Nuke management including coach and save kazillions of dollars ; 2) Appoint Equipment Manager as Interim President and GM; 3) Appoint Henrick Sedin as Playing Coach till season’s end, bump up his salary by 20%, and let him direct a system that is consistent with team chemistry; 4) At closure of season (within 4 weeks) force sale of team through corporate and fan boycott; 5) Sell team to reputable local business partners headed by Ron Toigo and Pat Quinn; I) If no sale eminent, sell to Bruce Allen or other Microsoft billionaire; 7) Buy reasonably priced season tickets and nexus card; 8)Drive the I-5 or join friends in fan-club buses; 9) Carry ear plugs for sound attenuation during loud and exciting games; 10) Watch Kesler and Bieksa hoist the holy grail with little concern of rioting outside of arena.

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  28. Andre
    March 6, 2014

    It must be said that reputations on management do not develop from a single bad year. GMMG has been messing up repeatedly, including the well-known Luongo debacle, trading Schneider for a draft pick, looking for something from Derek Roy (remember him?), etc.

    The drought we’ve seen in scoring this season is very similar to the impotent offense the Canuck have shown in the last couple of playoffs. Aside from bad luck, it feels as though this is connected to an overall change in playstyle in the league, one that smothers the Sedins. It feels like teams are much more defensive-minded and close out the space that we used to exploit for scoring goals. In that situation, players like Burrows, Kesler, Higgins or Booth ought to pick up the scoring, but we’re not seeing that. Of course, the lack of confidence shown by the coaching staff towards some players does not help.

    The Vancouver Sun web site was running a poll asking who was most responsible for the team decline. Overwhelmingly, Mike Gillis was singled out. This speaks volumes to me.

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  29. Realist
    March 6, 2014

    Previous poster w/ buddy in Calgary has it right: You get to within a whisker of winning the Cup and you feel like you’re only one piece away. You start to miss all the signs that you peaked, just missed, and are on the downslope. Canucks have just followed the path of the Flames and Oilers. Held on to Luongo until he was a giveaway. Same thing will happen to Kesler. They’ve resigned the Sedins, who are already boat anchors, nevermind by the time their contracts expire. Gillis had a chance to re-tool on the fly. Instead, the Canucks will take the slow road to oblivion.

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  30. Locky
    March 6, 2014

    For the life of me I dont understand this lack of confidence. Weve just had a luongo trade with a good return. We didnt see this team buy in order to chase the dragon this year. We didn’t see them accept what frankly was a shit offer from pittsburgh for kesler. What do you people want?

    A trade for a trades sake? Seems like. Whether we accept that ownership interfered or not (on third hand comments from a rival team no less), the sensible decision was made. The willingness

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    • Locky
      March 6, 2014

      …of ownership and management to countenance a rebuild (in comments to the media and tje existence of this trade debate – not to mention the luongo trade) but not to simply trade for the sake of it fills me with MORE confidence, not less.

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