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Canucks GM Gillis still likes ‘an upbeat, fast style of play’

May 23, 2013, 4:55 PM EST

Mike Gillis

What kind of coach does Canucks general manager Mike Gillis want to hire?

That’s the big question Thursday in Vancouver, the day after Alain Vigneault was fired.

And at this point, the answer isn’t 100-percent clear.

Shortly after the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs by the Sharks, Gillis seemed to suggest the club would have a fairly different on-ice philosophy next season — one that was more about winning battles in the corners and in front of the net than using speed and skill to defeat the opposition.

“When I took this job we decided on a style of play that resulted in great success,” said Gillis. “Certainly the landscape has changed. We have to address those changes moving forward. We have no choice.

“It’s not something I necessarily, principally agree in. But that’s what we face. We have to make the changes and adjustments that are necessary to compete for a Stanley Cup. It’s my intention to do it, recognize what is going on and make sure we have a team that is better equipped.”

He added: “I don’t think the style of play is any longer a one-off; I think it’s a trend and we have to address it.”

Today on Vancouver radio, though, Gillis didn’t sound like a guy who wanted to change the style of the Canucks — at least, the 2010-11 version of the Canucks that came within a game of winning the Cup — all that much.

“I like an upbeat, fast style of play with quick transition,” he said on TEAM 1040. “We managed to do that and we were successful.”

But can a team employ that style and succeed in today’s NHL?

“I think you have to play both ways,” said Gillis. “You have to be very sound defensively and you have to be able to score goals. You need the full package, and I don’t think it’s fair to define it as one or the other.”

He added: “The L.A. Kings were a game away from missing the playoffs, and now suddenly they’re the template for everything good in hockey, and I don’t think that’s the case… The common threads for success in the playoffs are great goaltending, a little bit of luck, and having a really good, balanced hockey team.”

On that note, Gillis did say the Canucks needed more balance, and that they’ll be striving to get “a little bit younger and a little bit bigger” before next season.

  1. hawkeytown - May 23, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Off topic for a moment… Looking at that picture, he’s GOT to be related to Rodney Dangerfield somehow. “Whoa, you’re a great crowd…”

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 23, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    “I think you have to play both ways,” said Gillis. “You have to be very sound defensively and you have to be able to score goals. You need the full package, and I don’t think it’s fair to define it as one or the other.” Wow! He really said that. Nothing earth shattering there. Basics of hockey. Good for Coach V to get out of Van. Gillis will probably hire a younger less experienced coach he can influence.

  3. tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    When the Canucks are done with this guy he won’t get another GM job in the NHL. While AV probably has already heard from Jim Nill and the Stars.

  4. ron05342 - May 23, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    “The L.A. Kings were a game away from missing the playoffs, and now suddenly they’re the template for everything good in hockey, and I don’t think that’s the case…”

    Really, moron? First of all, they finished last season 13-5-3, and with a 16-4 playoff record 29-9-3. Second of all, they have 22 wins in their past 30 playoff games.

    Seems like a pretty good template to me.

    Oh, forgot to add that they steam-rolled your pathetic team in the first round on their way to a Stanley Cup, something you have not yet achieved. There is that. :|

    • loinstache - May 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      wow insecure much?

    • ikillchicken - May 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Indeed. But I don’t think it follows that they’re the only type of team that can win in the NHL. Look at the Pens and the Hawks and Detroit. There’s still something to be said for playing more of an uptempo game or at least a good two way game. What the Kings do is fine…for them. But it would be a mistake to try and turn Vancouver entirely into that sort of team. We need more of a balance and probably to get bigger and grittier throughout our middle 6 but ultimately we should still be looking to be an offensive team.

  5. shoobiedoobin - May 23, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I think Vigneault AND Gillis are douche hats, but I’ve gotta call BS on this. This just sounds like something you’d make up as a plausible sounding line of bull when asked why you fired a head coach.

    Real reason: scape goat

    Reason when confronted: Uhh, well, we uh…like a fast tempo style.

    Yeah, as evidenced by the slow plodding style that works for your slow, methodical puck possession team that doesn’t have a lot of speed. Mmmm hmmm, OK pal.

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