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Gillis: Canucks couldn’t get their “emotions together” after beating Boston in January

Apr 24, 2012, 4:38 PM EDT

Mike Gillis

Canucks GM Mike Gillis took a grilling from reporters this morning in Vancouver, two days after his Presidents’ Trophy-winning team couldn’t advance past the first round, losing in five games to the Los Angeles Kings.

A recap of the major points:

—-Gillis says the Canucks never “collectively got their emotions together” after beating the Bruins in Boston on Jan. 7 in a game that was “almost like playing a Stanley Cup final game in the middle of the season.”

—-Gillis says he has “every bit of confidence” in coach Alain Vigneault and that the media criticism “gets exasperating sometimes” given Vigneault is “the winningest coach in this team’s history, we just won two Presidents’ Trophies, lost in the seventh game on the Stanley Cup final.” That said, he fell short of guaranteeing Vigneault would be back next season.

—-Before any decisions can be made about coaches or players, Gillis says his own performance and future will need to be discussed: “I am the president of this team and the general manager, it is my responsibility what happens on this team. So before we get to anybody else we are going to discuss my role and how I have done.”

—-On the goaltending front, Gillis thinks Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider can continue to co-exist on the same team. However, he needs to meet with them and the coaching staff to see if it can be a “workable relationship moving forward.”

—-The Canucks won’t resort to a defensive philosophy, even after defense-first teams like the Blues, Kings and Predators beat offensive-minded teams like the Sharks, Canucks and Red Wings in the first round.

—-Based on what he heard at the GMs meetings, Gills says the league wants the game to be offensive, so that’s how he’ll try to build his team: “I believe in offense and I think the league does too. If not, they should change the name of the game to ‘goalie'”

—-On why he traded Cody Hodgson at the deadline: “There clearly were issues that were ongoing. I spent more time on Cody’s issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years. We made a determination that he didn’t want to be here, we built him into something we could move. There were six young players that I would have traded him for if any of them were ever made available. One was made available at the trade deadline and it was Zack [Kassian].”

Here’s more from Gillis about the coaching situation:

Related: Luongo: I’ll waive my no-trade clause

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Sure Luongo and Schneider could still coexist, but that just wouldn’t make any sense for the organization or for Luongo himself. He’s played his last game in Vancouver.

    • bigtganks - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      They can co exist, but it’s not fair to either and you can’t have that much tied up in two goalies in a capped league. If there were no cap, then giddy up.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        Even if there was no cap, having two starting goalies just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Luongo is far from damaged goods and can probably net the Canucks a decent return.

      • bigtganks - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        Yah, I agree.

    • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      The only way Vancouver can move Luongo is if the CBA changes to allow them to assume a substantial portion of his cap hit. he has degraded to a 2nd tier goalie. What will he be like in 5 years, much less 10? Without a change in the CBA, he’s all but immovable.

      • leepetertk - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        Luongo had an excellent season this year and he played well in the playoffs. The goalie for the Canucks, whether it be Schneider or Luongo, was the MVP for the team.

        Immovable in contract and position maybe, but not in play. Luongo is an upgrade in goal for many teams. However, other teams may not be ready to commit to the contract and the position at this time.

      • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        Upgrade? Sure. But he’s no longer really an elite goalie. You certainly can’t compare him with Lundqvist, Quick or Thomas now.

        He will be a desirable commodity IF the CBA changes. If it doesn’t, any GM that takes his contract on is taking an enormous risk.

      • cableguymike - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        Disagree. For one thing he isn’t losing his job because his play has fallen off. In fact, those in the know say that in terms of the changes he’s made to his style of play he hasn’t looked better. He’s being moved because a young up and comer has just been that much better and has made him expendable.

        Also, his cap hit won’t be a problem as it’s beyond reasonable and easy to work with for any team that picks him up. The only problem a team might have is the actually paycheck over the next several years before it finally falls off near the end.

        When you factor in cap hit in relation to his resume and factor in that he’s still playing at or near the top of his game then it’s really not going to be that hard a sell.

      • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM

        Those in the know? There’s been a big falloff just since last year. Check his sv% His cap hit would be a tough fit for most contenders, but that’s not the big hurdle. The problem is his term. Who wants to sign onto a $5.3 cap hit for a player who will be 43 at the end of the term? Answer: nobody in his right mind. Change the CBA so that VAN can absorb a big portion of the cap hit and a buyout later in the term becomes a more reasonable proposition. A change in the CBA is needed to make a Luongo trade realistic.

    • mb65dod - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      Halak and Elliot coexist…

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        True, but Luongo strikes me as the kind of guy who wants to be the unquestioned #1 goalie. Halak and Elliott obviously don’t mind splitting time. They’re more of an exception that proves the rule.

  2. loinstache - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    I really like Gillis. He’s made his gaffs, but he’s also made some really smart moves. He’s quite honest, and always seems like he’s got a very prepared plan of action.

  3. pastabelly - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Gillis might be right when it comes to the Bruins-Canucks game. The Bruins stumbled to the finish line after that game. Vancouver finished with the best record in the league. But he knows his team well and maybe that was the case.

    • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      Bruins were stumbling for much of the 2nd half. If Gillis is right about the effect a win in January had on his team’s emotions, its small wonder they have been unable to win the Cup. A team THAT fragile will NEVER win the Cup no matter their talent.

      • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        Let me qualify my remarks by saying that I have a REALLY hard time believing what Gillis said about the Bruins’ game is true. It defies credulity that any professional sports team would be that fragile that a win in mid-season would totally screw them up emotionally. And, if it did, why didn’t their reegular season performance January to April reflect that? They were 25-9-6 after the Bs game. That doesn’t sound like a team that was emotionally reeling. Which makes the comment baffling.

  4. leepetertk - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    I was surprised he came out and stated the Hodgson issues. There were enough rumors but I thought he would have taken the high road and say “no comment”. If you are a young player going into the Canucks organization, do you feel good about your GM now? In burning the Hodgson bridge, he hurts some others.

    Granted, all these things might be true about Hodgson, but rarely does a GM talk so candidly in the media about them.

    • bcisleman - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      MG and AV threw Hodgson under the bus early and never stopped. Small wonder he didn’t want to stay there.

    • travishenryskid - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      Seems to me he was feeling the pressure because Kassian didn’t help this year. He’s deflecting blame for trading a popular player that probably would have been more useful. When a first place team fails in the first round, a trade like this is easy to point to and can make a GM feel pretty vulnerable, and he’s clearly taking a defensive stance on it.

  5. jason9696 - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    He pretty much threw Cody Hodgson under the bus. LOL

  6. polegojim - Apr 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Am I the only one here who thinks this is crap? This is PURE spin control.

    He actually proved my ENTIRE point over many, many posts – – weak minds, weak emotions, weak coaching, weak weak weak weak…. and now the GM steps up and confirm it, using it ALL as an excuse??? WHAT???

    Let’s see… $68,211,000 total Canuck salaries and $2,965,695 average for PROFESSIONAL hockey players. PROFESSIONAL – MEN – an ENTIRE TEAM?

    And… now… you Canucks fans can expect exactly the SAME if…heaven forbid… you actually play a MEANINGFUL game in January… REALLY??? The game was 4 MONTHS ago and the emotional toll was TOO GREAT to compete for the CUP??? THE STANLEY CUP??? Cry me a river boys and bury your heads.

    They need to start handing out Testosterone in the Canucks locker room instead of tissues and estrogen tabs. Holy Canadian West Coast Batman… now… I’ve heard EVERYTHING!

    That fries my bacon to a crisp and you should be disgusted.

    • loinstache - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      I loved the part where your argument consists of capitals and question marks, real convincing analysis.

      • polegojim - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM

        I worked very hard on the delivery.

  7. neelyisgod - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    So your season goes down the tubes after a regular season games over 4 months ago vs the defending Stanley Cup champs?!? And I can’t even remember what I did an hour ago….

    • somekat - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      I will say this, any team in the east that advances must be AMAZING. They’ve all played Boston since Janruary, most of them several times. How did they keep the focus?

      I get it, they are all equally unfocused, so it cancels out?

      Washington is an enigma, inside a riddle, wrapped in a mystery. My only explanation is that they are so un-focused, that it has thrown the Bruins off their game…..3 times

  8. ray2013 - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    They scored something like 8 goals in five games, and secondary scoring would definitely have helped the Canucks. Hodgson was having a borderline R.O.Y. season, and provided additional scoring. He sure could have helped against the Kings. So he negates the flack by criticizing Hodgson in a way that no one outside the organization can really verify, and no player or team official is going to contradict. Very classy Gillis.

    • polegojim - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Bingo! Scapegoating is NOT noble. It’s cowardly.

      I would have preferred him just to say…. “We Lost. Our heads weren’t in it. We apologize to our fans for not playing up to our ability and expectations. You have my personal promise, that beginning with our coaching staff and best players…we’re going to fix it.” and…CUT.

    • demons87 - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Give them a break, Scoring 8 goals in 5 games is much better than scoring 8 goals in seven games like they did in the finals last year. They were out scored 12-8 whereas they were outscored 23-8 in the finals. That’s improvement.

      • polegojim - Apr 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM

        OHHHHHHH Yes, this year was SOOOOO MUCH better… sheesh.

  9. loinstache - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    How the hell is Gillis scapegoating? He points out pretty holistic critics of his organization while maintaining honesty and professionalism. It’s only when he gets asked about CoHo that he FINALLY says, “I spent more time on Cody’s issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years. We made a determination that he didn’t want to be here.” As a Canucks fan who hated to see Cody go, this is excellent to hear. Finally a reason why he was moved. A rookie demanding that much attention is NOT an asset to a team-based organization.

    Do I like the CoHo trade? Not at all. But I finally have comfort in knowing why it happened. And for God’s sake stop sensationalizing everything, some of you are acting as if Gillis just blamed Cody Hogson for the Canucks loss.

    • polegojim - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      The difference between you and me on this? I know the difference between BS and chocolate ice cream…. and you’re just swallowing anything brown.

  10. lesleyvissersfacelift - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Shouldn’t the fact that the team couldn’t get their emotions together for four months reflect poorly on the coach?

    • loinstache - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      Yes. I’m of the camp that coaching should be intensely scrutinized in this off-season. AV has been incredible for the Canucks, but the team needs a new atmosphere and a large part of that is the coach. Sometimes you need a piece that your coach can’t offer to make the next step, regardless of how good that coach is.

      If not removed this season, pay a lot of attention next year and look for patterns. IE if Canucks have the usual awful Oct/Nov, switch things up.

  11. shiplore - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    This franchise is delusional.

    Let’s recap the last year+

    1) Many many mentions of President’s Trophy.
    2) Lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in 7 games where there goalie WAS the problem – his back up wasn’t used.
    3) Many many mentions of President’s Trophy.
    4) Traded a top 6 forward for a bottom 6 grinder 2 years less developed in reaction to #2 (note: toughness had nothing to do with goalie’s terrible play.
    5) No-Show first round this time replacing goalie with said backup except this time the starter was playing very well. Lots of fingers point to lack of secondary scoring (see #4)
    6) GM holds press conference, blames meaningless regular season game, intimates he’s trading starting goalie, talks about President’s trophy, Slams top 6 forward he traded. Defends coach that did 2,,3 and 5.

    Wow. Good luck with all that.

  12. kitshky - Apr 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    To me all this “rabble rabble” about Cody and Luongo is missing the point … there was some pretty incredible things to come out today and I have to say I’ve almost come a complete 180 on whether AV should stay or not.

    I absolutley love the guy, his interviews are awesome, his record is awesome, seems like a quality guy, winningest coach in Franchies history (…ya like that’s hard, but I digress) but when you read some of the comments today basically saying they jus kinda …lost interest!? Couldnt get motivated or recollect themselves for 3 months out of a complete nonchalonce indifference!?

    Call it a scapegoat or whatever but there is clearly a serious issue with the message right now. (And don’t give me any crap like “put the C on this guy, or put the A on that guy” , you dont need a letter to lead.)

    They’re still a ridiculously talented team that Gillis has on track to contiue adapting and getting bigger & better, and unlike ‘poleojim’ I haven’t been in the room all year so I don’t have his inside information, and sure they may seem to be a mature and tight group, but there’s a stank comin out of that room… and it smells a looott like dysfunction.

  13. cableguymike - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Everything that MG said about CoHo had all ready been said by his agent on Twitter. Right before he claimed his account was hacked and deleted all of it. I liked CoHo but good riddance. The Pass It To Bulis blog did a good job of showing how the team inflated CoHo’s numbers to make him appear more valuable. Worth checking out:

  14. cableguymike - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Numbers don’t tell you everything. Yes. People that actually know more than you, or I or 98% of fans about goaltending. Following Kevin Woodley for some actual insight into the position.

    Yes. Because he’s going to play until he’s 43. It’s called retirement. It’s called a loophole in the CBA. A loophole that the NHL has been trying to close for a while now.

  15. vismund11 - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Canucks are like… the Sharks. lol They always seem to choke.

  16. cableguymike - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Furthermore, what GM is looking past the next 3-5 years (tops) anyway…

    It’s a win now or move on league.

  17. cableguymike - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Also, I could be wrong but Lou would be fairly cheap to buyout in the final years of his contract because of the drop off in salary. Can anyone confirm the buyout terms under the current CBA? My understanding is 2/3 of the remainder against the cap for double the term.

  18. jkaflagg - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    One mark of great players and teams is the ability put events – both good and bad – behind them and focus on the task at hand. The idea that a regular season game in January somehow affected a team in an April playoff game doesn’t speak too highly of a team’s mettle.

    By contrast, the Kings blew two goal leads in their final two games of the season with San Jose to drop from 3rd place to 8th – yet were able to regroup and beat the Canucks in the first two playoff games on the road…..

  19. ron05342 - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    This has to be one of the lamest excuses I have ever heard. What kind of team folds after a meaningless regular season game in the middle of January?

    If you can’t get up for the playoffs, then you don’t deserve to be there. Lost in all of this is the Kings kicked Vancouver’s ass up and down the coast. Should have been over in four.

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