Skip to content

Don Cherry: Canucks GM Gillis threw coaches ‘under the bus’

May 23, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT


Who deserves the blame for the Vancouver Canucks recent struggles in the postseason? Canucks GM Mike Gillis cited that as the reason he fired head coach Alain Vigneault along with assistants Rick Bowness and Newell Brown.

Some would argue that the wrong people were let go and it sounds like Don Cherry is in that camp.

“Three good guys thrown under the bus,” said Cherry on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

“As far as I’m concerned the general manager threw three good guys down the drain and that’s a shame. His fault all the way.”

So what did Gillis do wrong in Cherry’s mind? Keeping Henrik and Daniel Sedin was one of the choices that Cherry disagreed with. Cherry feels the Sedin twins under performed in the playoffs. He also put the goaltending controversy between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider on Gillis.

“He’s the guy that kept them around. He’s the guy, the general manager, who had the controversy with the goaltenders,” Cherry said.

You can watch his commentary on the Canucks’ situation below (it starts around 6:00):

  1. huberdeau11 - May 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Usually don’t agree with the guy, but he has a point. Controversy or not he kept both goalies and they lost in the 1st round. Blame the coach sure, but if you’re the GM a lot of the blame has to fall on Gillis’ shoulders.

    Maybe he will see this team has peaked and its time to retool.

    • salmon90 - May 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      If he hadn’t kept both goalies Joe Cannata would have started the series for the Canucks.

      • 19wasthebest - May 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        You can not blame Loungo for the offence not scoring. And no I am not a Canucks fan.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      It’s funny how many times people have wrote “I don’t usually agree with Cherry”
      Cherry knows hockey and coaching, most of you agree with him more than you probably realize.

      • colby7 - May 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        … and when he strays from Hockey, he offends people.

        I recall the one Retail Comercial he did where he just shouts “I KNOW HOCKEY AND I KNOW DOGS BUT I DONT KNOW MUCH ELSE”

      • spochiefsfan - May 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Agreed. I’m a big fan of The Cherry. Grew up watching Rock em Sock em. Definitely agree with him on this one.

      • dirt2013 - May 23, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        The jacket he is wearing in that pic should also be under the bus.

  2. jwcarlson - May 23, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Looks like someone from The Hunger Games movie.

    • eastcoastcynic - May 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Betraying some middle age here, but Cherry looks like a villain from the 60’s Batman TV series.

  3. hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Well then Gillis should have fired himself…is that what he is saying? That’s even dumber than his jacket.

    Everyone in the league, including Gillis, knows that there is now a great coach on the market in Vigneault – this will work out fine for him. But it’s the nature of the beast, never said Vigneault didn’t do a good job, just said the team ‘needed a change’. That’s the way it works. Sucks, but it’s life. And I don’t think trading the twins when they were already in the playoffs and have another year on their contracts would have won Gillis any fans.

    • badintent - May 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      The owners should have fired Gilles . This is mostly on him. He gave Luie that insane contract and the rest of the GMs are now getting ready to take him to the cleaners twice over.He didn’t learn from the KIngs last year that you need some really big defensemen for the playoffs. Losing to an 8th seed was pathetic.Canucks have always had slow or small or both defense men. And Canucks have always put all their $$$ in the first two lines, everyteam has known for years that Canucks 3rd line was and is a dog.Gillis got to go now.
      And that playoff power play is the dog of dogs…………………………………….. That’s on the Sedins addiction to over passing.Gilles overpaid them too.

      • kirkmcleansbaby - May 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        “Losing to an 8th seed was pathetic!” – How does that even make sense?!? LA won the Stanley Cup last year. There were other teams that lost to them too…… does that mean that they are pathetic too?!? *facepalm*

      • badintent - May 24, 2013 at 1:56 AM

        When your team wins the western conference , you Should win the first round. everytime. you could count on your palms’ fingers how many times the 8th seed has beaten the 1st seed in the first round. ( I know the Sharks are the exception to that rule.) LA was a lousy team that pulled some great trades at the deadline to completely change the grit and determination of the team and give them grinders for leaders. Something the Canucks only have on the 4th line.Class dismissed

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      No, what’s he’s saying is ownership should have kept the coaches, fired the GM and given the Sedins one more year to figure it out or leave town.

      SMH, get a clue

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Not my point, at all. In real life, the GM is going to get a chance to plead his case and make the coaching change before he’s fired as GM – especially when the team that is put together is consistently making the playoffs. I agree he’s a joke, but my point is that this is the way it works, it’s a B*tch, but honestly…get a clue.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        The 1st thing you asked was if Cherry was suggesting Gillis should fire himself.
        He was not
        If questions you ask are not your point, well what can I say? Other than you’re confusing and make no sense.

        BTW, In “real life” owners can fire GM’s and allow the new GM to make decisions. It happens all the time.

  4. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I don’t disagree with the the fact that Gillis should have gotten the boot. However, Vigneault has failed to win the SC with some very good teams. To me, and I can be completely wrong, it’s time for a change. A change for the team, and more importantly for Vigneault. The hockey coaching sphere is big enough that he doesn’t need to be working for an organization who gave Luongo a kick a$$ contract, and was not able to deal him. No doubt it was a distraction to the team this year, and that blame falls on the organization. I see Vigneault coaching in Quebec if they Coyottes move there this year, or whenever it happens. French speaking coach in a French speaking city.

    • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      If you have the Sedin twins as your core, you do not have “some very good teams”, not for the playoffs. Vigneault failed because he had a GM stick him with the Twins, Burrows and Kesler, and nothing else. They were always going to fail in the playoffs regardless because you can’t win consistently in the playoffs with the Sedins leading the charge.

      It’s really that simple
      The Canucks will still fail in the playoffs no matter who is coaching there with that roster

  5. polegojim - May 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Time for a complete house cleaning… including the GM.

    The owner should realize that there’s no way that he doesn’t share blame for failure… but maybe he’s related to Matt Millen.

  6. tfaltin - May 23, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    For once I agree with Cherry. Gillis built a mentally soft team that could rack up regular season points but could not fight any adversity. The Bruins exposed them for what they were and it’s been downhill since. To have Scheider and Luongo on the roster and have that constant drama is inexcusable. The Hodgson trade was another whiff for a team that later struggled for depth down the middle. The balance of blame between GM and Coach is a funny one, it’s different every time (see: NYR). In this case I think AV did what he could to keep this team above water, mentally as much as on the ice. Gillis should be out.

  7. pavelfitzgerald - May 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Gillis largely inherited the core of this team & failed to put the pieces around it to be successfull. The Luongo mess was his fault & so was his contract signing (lack of) ability. Dvid Booth, Keith ballard, etc were signed or traded for & were grossly overpaid. Garrison is grossly overpaid as well. Gillis has created a mess there & may have to make some below market place deals to get under the cap

  8. tmoore4075 - May 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    I agree with him to a point. Gillis has made some questionable deals recently and some questionable no deals by not getting rid of Lou. He should be gone as well. BUT this team was still pretty good and AV didn’t get the job done over the years. Outside of 2011 (which was still a disappointment since they had a 2-0 and 3-2 lead) they never got out of round 2.

  9. buffalomafia - May 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Salut’! To Don Cherry!!!!

  10. modellforprez - May 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Lord Steven Abootman here. never nothing nice to say aboot anyone

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Head of the WGA? The World Canadian Bureau.

  11. redgreentape - May 23, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    It is like this in the work place, the Mgr ( in this case the GM ) blames the people under him for his stupid moves , to save his own butt. At some point the “blame the other guy ” won’t work and he will be out.

  12. babych44 - May 23, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Listening to Cherry is like reading a 25 year out of date textbook.

  13. r4n6er - May 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Hey PHT you really couldn’t have edited that video a bit better?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1812)
  2. P. Kane (1474)
  3. M. Richards (1312)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1303)
  5. N. Backstrom (1164)