Skip to content

Gillis says his comments weren’t a shot at Torts

Apr 7, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

Mike Gillis

Remember last week when Canucks general manager Mike Gillis went on the radio and promised to “get back to the fundamentals and principles” in which he believes — specifically, an “up-beat, puck-possession, move-the-puck quickly, force-teams-into-mistakes, high-transition game” — and pretty much everyone took it as a direct shot at head coach John Tortorella?

Well, according to the Vancouver Sun, Gillis “privately asserted” the next day that “his comments were not intended as an attack or judgment on his coach.”

Which would tend to support the less-salacious argument we posed Thursday that Gillis was, in fact, admonishing the club’s ill-fated change of direction that started before Tortorella was even hired.

Now, that being said, Gillis definitely did send a message with his remarks that anyone who wasn’t on board with his new/old vision would be “changed.”

It’s also entirely possible that Gillis, upon watching the Canucks fall apart in January, approached Tortorella about adjusting the team’s style and the two didn’t see eye to eye.

Which would tend to support what the New York Post’s Larry Brooks wrote in a column that was penned while the Rangers were in Vancouver:

Tortorella’s narrow vision has done him and his team in this year. He has become the worst kind of zealot behind the bench, believing his way is the only way to win games regardless of his playing personnel, even if that means pounding square pegs into round holes. He is a zealot, a true believer that grinding, blocking shots and packing the defensive end is the one and only route to success.

Maybe that’s just Brooks’ opinion, and his alone. But we’d wager it was based on a few conversations he had with people in the know.

Bottom line: if Gillis isn’t fired at the end of the season (yes, a big if), Tortorella will have to be open to widening his vision; otherwise, it’s hard to see how he keeps his job.

Gillis did make sure to mention Thursday that “everyone thought Alain Vigneault couldn’t change from a defensive-style coach to an offensive-style coach. If given the resources and if the players are committed to it, I think any coach can coach the team that he has.”

Related: On Canucks’ style of play, Torts accuses critics of ignorance

Latest Posts
  1. Blues sign ’14 first-round pick Fabbri

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Robby Fabbri Getty Images

    He played a key role in Guelph winning the 2014 OHL championship.

  2. Jeff Deslauriers agrees to tryout with Kings

    Sep 2, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

    Jeff Deslauriers Getty Images

    He’ll have a difficult time winning the backup job over Martin Jones.

  3. First rounder Nikolaj Ehlers signs with Jets

    Sep 2, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    Nikolaj Ehlers Getty Images

    He was selected with the ninth overall pick in 2014.

  4. Rinaldo signs two-year extension with Flyers (Updated)

    Sep 2, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

    Zac Rinaldo Getty Images

    He still has a season left on his existing contract.

  5. Datsyuk interested in playing in KHL someday

    Sep 2, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    Pavel Datsyuk Getty Images

    He’s not the only Russian star linked to the KHL recently.

  6. Five PTOs that could be coming to a NHL city near you

    Sep 2, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    dustinpennergetty Getty Images

    Which unsigned vets will look to win jobs at camp?

  7. ‘Hawks farmhand Skinner signs in Czech league

    Sep 2, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks 2007 Headshots Getty Images

    Veteran AHLer had previously spent time with the Canucks, Avalanche and Islanders organizations.

  8. Red Wings GM preaches patience after slow summer

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    Ken Holland AP

    “I think it’s a great time for the Detroit Red Wings.”

  9. PHT Morning Skate: Nerds vs. dinosaurs

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Dragon Con AP

    Tuesday’s collection of links.

  10. Oilers GM doesn’t anticipate a trade before training camp

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:01 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

    Edmonton wants to assess Leon Draisaitl, it seems.

  11. Challenging early schedule looms for Sharks

    Sep 1, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT

    Antti Niemi, Marc-Edouard Vlasic AP

    Sixteen of their first 21 games are on the road.

  12. Workhorse goalies, forwards from last season

    Sep 1, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    Part two of today’s Labor Day posts.

  13. NHL’s hardest working defensemen in 2013-14

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five Getty Images

    Part one of two Labor Day “theme” posts.

  14. Johnston believes Pouliot’s ready for NHL

    Sep 1, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

    Derrick Pouliot Getty Images

    The new Penguins bench boss previously coached the young defenseman.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Alfredsson (2208)
  2. B. Bishop (2087)
  3. M. Fleury (1880)
  4. J. Schultz (1721)
  5. D. Krejci (1715)
  1. J. Boychuk (1666)
  2. E. Staal (1604)
  3. C. Anderson (1524)
  4. R. Lehner (1474)
  5. D. Setoguchi (1303)