From GM of the Year to ‘moron’ in one season; what’s the deal with Mike Gillis?

If I were David Poile, Doug Armstrong, or Dale Tallon, this year’s nominees for GM of the Year, I’d be praying that the award goes to someone else. All you have to do is take one look at the season Mike Gillis has had to suspect that, maybe, the NHL General Manager of the Year award is cursed.

Gillis deserved the award after 2010-11 but, since winning it, nothing has gone right for him. He couldn’t sell Christian Ehrhoff on taking a haircut and forgoing free agency. All he could rustle up on July 1 was a clunky old Marco Sturm, hockey’s equivalent of snagging a boot while fishing. Six games into Sturm’s tenure, he was moved to Florida along with Mikael Samuelsson for David Booth, who underwhelmed. Samme Pahlsson, acquired at the trade deadline, earned praise during the regular season, then withered in an arduous, 5-game postseason.

But Gillis’s worst move on the surface — the one that really hurt his approval rating — was the Cody Hodgson trade. Not only did many, many fans fall out of love with Gillis over this one, which yielded no immediate payoffs, but on Monday, Gary Roberts, trainer to the young stars, called the Canucks’ GM a moron and a dud.

Last year, it was all accolades for Gillis. This year, the Quinoa King of the East is calling him names. What the Hell happened?

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One of the reasons NHL teams sign veteran players to Professional Tryout Offers (PTOs) is to give an unsigned free agent a chance to make the team, but this is not the only reason. For Mike Gillis, it’s likely not even the primary reason. Coming off the shortest off-season in team history, Gillis and Vigneault clearly had no interest in icing a lineup in either Calgary or Vancouver last night that bore any resemblance to the actual Canucks.

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Mike Gillis looked calm, cool, and collected while he spoke to the media yesterday, but his words belied his Freeze-ian exterior. Like Howard Beale, Gillis is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. This is, of course, the Mike Gillis version of “mad as hell” that takes the form of a list of statistics rather than an impassioned diatribe. Clearly, Gillis could use a speech writer and some acting lessons (perhaps from Scott Rintoul).

Gillis, in his patented monotone, harangued the reffing in the series, pointing out the discrepancy between the penalty calls for and against the Canucks, particularly in the last four games. He even highlighted some particularly egregious missed calls and lambasted the officials for their inconsistency. Is he right? Does it matter?

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You’ve got to hand it to a lot of Canuck fans. They really know how to get their hopes up. True, it’s not as bad as last year, when the White Towel was already planning the parade route after the first round, but there’s still a lot of ridiculous “this is our year” nonsense going [...]

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