Many saw Mike Gillis’s layered and intriguing comments during Thursday morning’s Team 1040 radio interview as an ultimatum of sorts, directed either at Francesco Aquilini — either my way, or John Tortorella’s way, some suggested he was implying — or at the coach himself (in which case, swap “Tortorella’s way” for “the highway”).
There’s definitely some merit to this reading. “When you have an entire team’s level of performance drop off there has to be reasons for it,” Gillis said, before pointing to reasons that seemed systematic. He talked about the team getting away from the way he wanted them to play — the way he built them to play. He referenced the change in Alain Vigneault’s coaching style when the new GM arrived on the scene six years ago, implying that a similar adjustment was necessary here.
Ray Ferraro felt Gillis was drawing a line in sand. Via the Vancouver Sun:
“That is as big a distancing from the coach as I’ve seen,” Ferraro said in an interview Thursday. “That’s pushing you to that side of the room and I’m on this side of the room and whoever is making the decision upstairs, you’ve got one or the other.
“I see it as totally unlikely that both are gone and totally unlikely that both are back.”
Thus, it’s one or the other. Gillis or Tortorella? That’s a tough call for Canucks’ ownership, and one that shouldn’t be made alone. So we’ve decided to pitch in and help, with another edition of This Guy or This Other Guy?
Tortorella has a weird tendency of running his stars into the ground. Brad Richards has found new life under Alain Vigneault. Meanwhile, the Sedins have all but lost theirs. They are corpse twins now, which is a pretty good idea for a movie.
Speaking of mismanaging players, one year ago, Mike Gillis had Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Now the Canucks have Eddie Lack, Jacob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias, Bo Horvat, no jobs, no hope, and no cash.
The Luongo situation was exacerbated by John Tortorella’s inexplicable decision to start Eddie Lack for all games after the Olympic break, when Luongo returned from Sochi tainted with Olympic gold, including the Heritage Classic, thereby turning it into a sideshow.
But Gillis assembled a team to play a certain way, and Tortorella has them playing a different way. It seems weird to be coaching a different team than the team you have, but what do I know? I never played the game.