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Gillis says ‘significant changes’ coming in Vancouver

May 9, 2013, 3:51 PM EDT

Mike Gillis

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis addressed reporters Thursday in Vancouver, two days after his team was swept out of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.

After making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, it was Vancouver’s second straight first-round exit.

As a result, Gillis says the organization needs a reset, as occurred five years ago when he was hired.

Some notes:

— If there was one theme from today’s press conference, it’s that Gillis believes the game has changed, and not for the better. Skill, he believes, is out. Dump-and-chase-and-battle-in-the-corners, he believes, is back. Hence, he thinks the Canucks need to “recognize the way the game’s going to be played” and “make the changes and adjustments necessary to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

— Gillis says to expect “a couple of significant changes,” though he wouldn’t say for sure if one of them would be a new coach. Alain Vigneault will be part of an upcoming “thorough review” of every element of the organization.

— Will Roberto Luongo be back with the Canucks next season? “I think it’s unlikely,” said Gillis.

— Gillis thinks the Sedins, 32, can still be major contributors despite their advancing age. However, “We have to support them better…we are going to have to get younger.”

— Gillis called 2013 “the most challenging season in my tenure here, for sure.”

  1. tdrusher225 - May 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    I don’t like the Canucks, but when he says “skill is out, and dump-and-chase hockey is back,” that makes my heart sink. I don’t want to see every team start to conform to that idea. Seeing these diverse types of teams throughout the league makes it so much fun to watch. The league needs more skill, not less.

    • letsgopens8771 - May 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      The Blackhawks would disagree with you. They don’t like to dump the puck, they just like to give it to Kane and have him take on everyone. There’s your skill.

      • r4n6er - May 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        He actually said that the exception to the dump and chase would be the Hawks or the Pens. However, he also mentioned that it requires getting a 1st overall draft pick to get a player like Kane or Towes and that the Canucks have not had a top 5 pick in over 10 years. I find it interesting that you are disagreeing with Gillis whom agrees with you…

      • 19to77 - May 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        Buy out Booth and Ballard. Don’t resign Raymond.. I’d try to keep Roy if possible, but not if he wants the same salary. Factor in Malhotra coming off the books and that’s over $13m gone and potentially up $17m if Roy is let go too.

        I’d sooner move Schneider than Luongo, since he’ll actually get a good return and their numbers are similar anyway. I’d also deal Edler – he’s young, skilled and isn’t strictly a core player for them. Targets in both deals should be tough, physical two-way forwards. Centre depth, preferably.

        Also, target Pascal Dupuis in free agency – he won’t want to leave Pittsburgh, but will the Pens have the ability to pay him his actual worth with the cap falling? They have to leave cap room for Letang and Malkin negotiations this summer/next season, and I imagine they’ll want to keep Iginla if they can.

        Clowe’s been bad this season, but he’d definitely bring the sandpaper aspect. Might also be worth considering if he’ll take a pay cut to reflect his numbers.

    • thesableo - May 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Gillis is just blowing smoke. The Canucks have been “adjusting” since they lost in the Finals (notably, trading Hodgson for Kassian, a definite skill-for-grit move) and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere. The failure of his “skilled” team is not a sign of changing times, it’s a sign of mismanagement.

      • kitshky - May 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        He said that … he specifically said he has been adjusting. How is that blowing smoke?

        His point about how the game is changing is that in conversation, even Ken Holland is concerned and that they hope a core of GM’s can ‘”push back against what has clearly become the trend in the game”.

        I still don’t see any smoke…

      • thesableo - May 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        @kitshky Brough wrote it as “[Gillis] thinks the Canucks need to…’make the changes and adjustments necessary to compete for the Stanley Cup'”. The “need to” led me to believe that Gillis didn’t think they’d done that yet.

        To be honest, I mostly just think “skill is out” is a ridiculous thing to say. Maybe the skills your players have aren’t getting the job done, but “skill” is never “out”. Though that was Brough’s phrasing too. Is there a link to this presser so I can see what Gillis actually said?

      • imleftcoast - May 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        He’s blowing smoke because he said the same thing last year when they were eliminated in five games. He’s also blowing smoke with the ‘challenging year.’ That’s an excuse. He is the boss, and responsible for doing something to make it less challenging.

    • dolanster - May 9, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      2012 = Kopitar, Doughty, Carter, Quick; 2011 = Krejci (leading scorer in the playoffs), Seguin, Bergeron, Tim Thomas

      Sure these last 2 Cup teams have their muscle, but these guys are skill all the way. Maybe “skills” that the Canucks don’t posses, and maybe more hardnosed all around, but that hardly means skill is out. Guts and a willingness to battle does not = dump and chase. Just ask Mark Messier, Bobby Orr, or Gordie Howe.

      • stakex - May 9, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        A couple things.

        First of all, Seguin wasn’t quite the same playing in 2011 that he is today. In fact, he didn’t even play in all of Bostons playoff games when they won the cup due to poor play. Also, goaltending skill is not what he was talking about.

        You have it backwards anyway. You are picking a couple skilled players from those teams and trying to say they won the cup with skill… but neither of those teams were really skill based teams in the sense Gillis is refering to. They were both more defensive minded, grinding teams that won the cup by keeping the other team from scoring.

        Thats not to say Gillis is correct that a skilled team can’t be successful (ask Chicago), but the Kings and Bruins are really bad examples since they were not skill based teams when they won the cup.

      • loinstache - May 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        While I get your point, LA and Boston are the poster children of successful teams based off size, defense and grit… it also help that theyve got skill to back it up. I think gillis is referring to that sand paper kind of team more than the actual dump and chase play.

      • botlecap - May 9, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        yeah you need both. neither grit nor skill is enough alone. and the numbers back that up.

        how have st. louis, nashville, the rangers, ‘yotes, devils, etc (grind it out teams) done the past few years? how have detroit, pit, the caps, habs, etc (mad skillz yo) done the past few years?

        for 2011, the bruins scored 81 goals in 25 playoff games. that 3.13 gfa (goals for average) was 5th best for the playoffs. the canucks managed a 2.18 gfa. the bruins were 5th in the league that year with 2.94 gfa (the canucks were first at 3.11). the image of that bruins team might have been a bunch of tough goons, but they had goal scoring skill aplenty.

        for 2012, the kings were 3rd best with a 2.75 gfa during the playoffs (and if you toss out the ridiculous pens-flyers series, the kings have the best mark). that is in stark contrast to the 2nd worst 2.25 gfa they put up during the regular season, but it still shows that goal scoring skill really helps win a cup.

        it seems to me, he’s complaining more about the neutral zone play, and really… who cares? as a fan i can’t say i really care how a team gains the zone. sure, skating the puck in is pretty, but it wouldn’t be impressive if you saw it a hundred times every game. if anything, the defensive focus requires MORE skill. teams lacking that opt for a dump and chase entry. so what? the point is to get the puck in the zone so that you can score.

        he can argue there is no skill, but i don’t think you score goals fighting for the puck in the corner. you score goals based on what you’re able to do with the puck once you bring it out of the corner. scoring lots of goals wins games, and scoring lots of goals certainly requires skill – especially against the defense and goal-tending you run into during the playoffs.

        also, isn’t defense a skill? i’m pretty sure it is. the canucks had playoff goals against averages of 3.48 in 2013, 2.36 in 2012, 2.59 in 2011, 3.34 in 2010, and 2.70 in 2009. those are pedestrian numbers at best. just ’cause you lack the defensive skill required to keep the puck out of your own net doesn’t mean there is no more skill in the game.

        the arrogance of this management that the problem is with everyone else or the state of the game is just incredible. the problem is in the mirror.

      • dolanster - May 9, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        Well said. Well said. +1.

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    They should trade the twins while they still have value. No sense in just retiring them when they are dried out. Send them to the eastern conference along with one of the goalies.

    • kitshky - May 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Can’t say you’re wrong, but I don’t know if I’d want to have to make that move … but then again, you can’t win unless you’ve got the balls to make the hard calls.

    • sunderlanding - May 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      They wouldn’t get much for them. The cap is going down, and the two of them together are pulling more than 12 million.

  3. dumbassgreg - May 9, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    the old saying you take on the traits of your leader. people say canucks whine just following example of Gillis. he basicially said everything that has gone wrong is not my fault. I will be keeping my job because i am good at kissing my bosses butt. I am a member of the mel gibson/charlie sheen religion . excuses excuses lmao. only thing he right about what wins is copied dump and chase is back. game is back to matching my less skilled Players stop your skilled ones. hockey only sports allows less skilled to control game

    • kitshky - May 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      I have yet to see a more fitting name for any commenter in the history of the internet …

      • dumbassgreg - May 9, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        sorry have to go spend sometime outside enjoying life. enjoy spending your time in your mancave on the internet looking for names lol

      • stakex - May 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Greg, you have posted five different times in about an hour on this one topic… I guess it was a short trip outside?

    • salmon90 - May 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      He was actually asked if he takes some responsibility for the failure of the team this year and said: yes of course. Sort of the exact opposite of what ‘dumbass’ (great name btw) is saying. But continue with your ‘Canucks whine’ narrative. It continues to offer much insight.

      • dumbassgreg - May 9, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        sadly most just take easy shots. i do enjoy some people who are very creative lol

      • sheckyrimshot - May 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM


    • sunderlanding - May 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      You don’t win if you have less skill. Dump and chase is a skill as well people.

      • imleftcoast - May 9, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        I’d say it was coaching and a system.

      • sunderlanding - May 11, 2013 at 3:56 AM

        So is scoring on the rush, but the players have to do it and that is a skill.

  4. jernster21 - May 9, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    If I’m any other team in the league I don’t offer anything for Luongo other than the willingness to take on his contract. Could you imagine them going into next year with both goalies again? I chortle at the thought. If I’m Luongo I don’t sign off on any deal unless it’s specifically to the place I want to go – he has the power just like Iginla did except Feaster was nice enough to accomodate Iginila – Luongo and every team in the league (who wants Luongo) has Gillis by the balls…if that’s not worth getting fired over, I’m not sure what is.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      The problem is Gillis backed himself into a corner in January when he told people he would get a lot for Luongo, that means he can’t just take the best offer, it has to be something where he gets value in return but the rest of the league knows this and knows now he has to move Luongo so no one will offer anything of value.

      As I said yesterday, I think the right move for Vancouver would be to move Schneider, you’ll actually get decent value for him, he’s at best equal to Luongo in skill and they’ve got another young goalie to bring up to backup Luongo in Eddie Lack.

      Fortunately for all of us who are fans of Canucks rivals, Gillis has proven to be anything but shrewd when it comes to being a GM, I’d be hard pressed to think of more than one or maybe two moves he’s made that have paid off for the team.

    • bucrightoff - May 9, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      At this point the Canucks might have to throw in a pick or a prospect to move Luongo. This whole situation has been badly mismanged.

  5. acieu - May 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    They don’t have him by the balls as he lacks same or he would’ve flushed Luongo this season,

  6. jernster21 - May 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Another thing I notice is: why do teams keep handing out contracts to players like they are going to be playing till they’re 40, yet when the player is barely over 30 they start to freak out and act like they’re washed up? Blows my mind.

    • dumbassgreg - May 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      gm are worried about their jobs today. who cares five years from now . i am gone

  7. dumbassgreg - May 9, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    all you need to know about gillis . he says he is concerned about malhorta health but he lets him play till he needs salary cap room.

    • kitshky - May 9, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Yep, that’s all. Your take on the situation from nowhere even close to the situation is all we need.

  8. mgp1219 - May 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    The first thing they need to change is their attitude. Then those ugly uniforms.

  9. thehighcountrybear - May 9, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Another thread where commentary and behaviour can be divided between keyboard jockeys and hockey jockeys who actually played or currently play the game…

    Bruins and Kings won their Cups without skill players…? Are you kidding me…what benchmark for skill is being used?

    And dumbassgreg, you keep posting…I love your stuff, and can read your thought train with ease. You are hilarious my friend! Your material has substance, contains references to the game through the years and it forces me to think and actually synthesize your ideas. I’ve never seen you post the cookie cutter thought processes and repetitive jargon pandering for approval that pollutes these boards; primarily by people who are driven to offer comment on everything that rolls-on by…

    in what garbage bin along life’s highway do people deposit the simple ability to listen for a change instead of continually yapping while not permitting any and all to give voice to thought and feeling? How difficult is it for these people to simply discriminate?

    It’s not their club though they’d like you to think it is…

    You greg are among the few who see the absurdity in the game and offer material suited in that very theatre of the absurd…I show some of your stuff to my friends and they roar, not at you but with you!

    Do not be discouraged by the pantywaist church social noobs who insist on attacking other posters or controlling their input. Did you read some of the ‘you said he said she said’ drivel in Penguin related articles earlier…a true powder puff derby!

    Oh baby

    I’m gonna love you forever
    Forever and ever, amen
    As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
    As long as old women sit and talk about old men…

  10. hockeyflow33 - May 9, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Gillis has done a great job of maximizing Luongo’s value by stating how badly he needs Luongo gone.

  11. travishenryskid - May 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Gillis basically admits that the window has closed. He then talks about significant changes and getting younger. He then talks about supplementing the core as the only option, which basically cancels the idea of significant changes. Vancouver is in a bad spot. They know they are dead in the water, but are unable to do anything about it. Have fun fighting for 6th-8th and losing in the first round until the Sedin’s retire. Trading Luongo and Raymond for a 2nd and a b level prospects is going to get you anywhere. If Gillis had the balls, he’d blow the whole thing up, meaning trading the Sedin’s.

  12. csilojohnson - May 9, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    How about some skill players that can play the boards…. They are out there.

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