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Paying the price: Gillis fired by Canucks

Apr 8, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT

Mike Gillis

Mike Gillis has been fired as president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

“On behalf of my entire family, I would like to sincerely thank Mike Gillis for his hard work and the many contributions he made on and off the ice during his tenure,” said owner Francesco Aquilini in a release. “The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mike’s leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal; but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed.

“I also want to thank our fans for their support for the Vancouver Canucks through a difficult and frustrating season. We haven’t met their expectations or ours. We are committed to bringing the Stanley Cup to Vancouver for our fans and we will continue to do everything possible to reach that goal.”

Last night, the Canucks were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2008.

As of now, John Tortorella remains the head coach.

Assistant GM Laurence Gilman has reportedly been told he’ll remain with the club.

Aquilini will address the media Wednesday morning.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    I am not surprised. His radio interview last week was, as I described in that story, his swan song.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      In an even more astonishing development today, the sun rose in the east.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        Kaptaanamerica disagreed with my comment (swan song) in that earlier article, writing, “The torts hiring was entirely on ownership. That’s why MG is safe.”

        Gillis appeared to have thrown down the gauntlet in that radio interview, more or less saying to the owners, “It’s either him (Torts) or me.” He got his answer.

      • imleftcoast - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        Kaptainamerica is routinely proved to be wrong, but doesn’t let that stop him. Gillis’s fate was sealed last Thursday. Ownership indicated they did not appreciate the comments. Further to KA’s wrongness, Aquilini denies he hired Torts, and sent letters to the media threatening them if they continued to report ownership hired him.

      • kaptaanamerica - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        You were right Pat. The level of obstinacy of the Aquilinis was higher than I imagined and the level of thin skin. Not surprised FA is threatening to sue the media in that case.

        @imleftcoast – I can’t be right all the time. Your “routinely” comment is out of line. Present facts if you are making such assertions.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM

        Thanks, kaptaan. Nice level of conversation here. Mostly.

        As I wrote last night (below, responding to clark16), I still think Torts is next.

    • clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Yup–Like I said…Gillis set up the ultimatum to ownership in that radio interview–me or him. They made their choice…

      Honestly–you’d have to be either desperate or a moron to take that job with the Canucks. All the responsibility–no authority. Classic dysfunctional leadership hierarchy. I wouldn’t expect to see much from the Canucks while Jerry Jones, Jr. there is your owner…

    • fabmazz26 - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:28 AM

      The entire organization needs not only a make over, but a face lift too. There’s a perennial losing culture in our sports teams in general in Vancouver, and I really don’t understand why “fans” still invest, monetarily or emotionally, in a team that historically either under achieves or simply chokes in times when it matters most (see 2011 Stanley Cup Final). We haven’t had a character team since our ’94 roster…and they choked too. From the players on the ice to the suits in the boardroom, year after year “one woe doth tread upon another” it seems. Here’s a few fun facts for you die hard Canucks fans: The Canucks are the only Canadian franchise to never win a Stanley Cup, and Vancouver, the third largest city per capita, doesn’t even make the top 10 list for [hockey] player-producing cities in Canada. Go figure. Blame it on the rain yaa, yaaa!!! Or for the rest of you who just simply don’t care…fresh air :)

      • fabmazz26 - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:35 AM

        …And on behalf of my entire family, good riddance.

  2. stcrowe - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    It is about time.

    • imgoingtowichita - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Or 13 months too late … Depends on you view the current goaltending situation.

      • stcrowe - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        I see your point.

  3. tronn25 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Hahaha. And the s**t show continues. I hope they hire a can of Nutella to replace him.

    • spezzdispenser - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      a can of nutella could be put to better use

  4. thegloriouspast - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Despite the poor asset control situation he was placed in because of Torts, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come to the NY Islanders if the Islanders decide to part ways with Garth Snow.

  5. pirovash88 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Lol, as expected. Torts is next!!

    • pirovash88 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:14 PM


    • clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      Torts won’t be next. You don’t understand. Either by virtue of the $$$$ left on his contract or just general idiocy on the part of the owner–Torts WON…

      The next GM will be set up to fail in a very unfortunate situation where, like Gillis, he will have Torts forced upon him. Again, like Gillis, he will be the GM tiger with no teeth. The team will stink and they’ll blame the new GM who will run around chasing his tail in personnel moves (again–like Gillis did last season) that make no sense. Torts will manage to the owner (who really doesn’t truly know the game) and the new GM will have to authority over Torts… Like I said–set up to fail.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        Interesting points, clarke16. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if Torts goes at season’s end. Gillis – now that the Canucks are mathematically eliminated; Torts – after the last game.

        I thought the same as you about the $$$$ issue; however, I’m giving Torts’ chance at surviving at 50 – 50 here. He’s made a number of mistakes that tainted the team this year, the most glaring one being his foray into the Calgary dressing room. Not a good image.

        Plus, what GM would want the job knowing that the owners support Torts? The new GM would have to support Torts’ style, etc. hook, line and sinker. I just don’t see it.

        You might be right, though. Time will tell.

      • dueman - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        I think that you are dead on the money Pat. Usually when a new GM comes in, they like to hire their own coach. A coach that thinks the game similar to themselves. I’m thinking that Torts is done at season’s end.

      • clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        Whether Torts stays or goes at season’s end will pretty much conclusively tell us whether it was Francesco or Gillis who made the hire, Pat. Torts stays = Francesco’s hands all over the pie…and if that’s the case, as I expect–the NEW GM WILL ONLY BE HIRED with the understanding that they are to co-exist with Torts. So–who worth their nut-cup would take that job? Gillis pretty much set up his exit because he wasn’t about to tolerate it for another year. Like I said before–you’d have to be a tool, a fool or a desperado to take a job like that where you are being judged and your whole fate is determined by things you aren’t even empowered to control…

        They’ll undoubtedly get a GM lite in there or just give the whole show to Torts. Either way–it’s doomed to failure. We shall soon see if ‘cesco is a truthful man…

  6. nobandwagoners - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Too bad you can’t fire the owners.

    • charlieconway96 - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Being a lifelong fan of perennial let downs and dumpster fires of teams, I couldn’t agree more.

  7. desertfan - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    This team is a mess.

    Gillis has not changed a thing in the operations.

    They need some hockey people to start with the scouting training and the whole organization.

    Everyone should go!!!

  8. canucks30 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM

  9. canucks30 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Suddenly the Canucks organization just became 30% less arrogant

    • thailer35 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      30% may be an aggressive estimate with Torts still there.

  10. canucks30 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Time to bring Trevor Linden home.

  11. 950003cups - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    I guess Lamoriello is next. Gillis had more cap-era success than Lamoriello. Except that Lamoroello heisted Schneider for a high 1st pick.

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      I would think McPhee would be next

    • jsutan - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      You’re out of your mind if you think Lamoriello’s job is in jeopardy. He’s the Steinbrenner of the NHL and the only way he’s leaving the Devils is through retirement or by casket.

      • moarjam - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Steinbrenner wasn’t an employee…he owned the team. Of course his job was never in jeopardy.

  12. jpelle82 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    why wait i guess. will be interested to see who they lure in to replace him

  13. phillyphanatic77 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Interesting timing but certainly no surprise. Completely justified. Gillis just dropped the ball too much in the past few seasons. And the way he handled his goaltending was truly idiotic… and now the Canucks have no #1 instead of 2. Interesting to see who takes over. Please stay away from Hextall.

  14. salmon90 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    GM of the year in 2011 – fired in 2014. Yikes. Tough business. This was more a crowd pleaser than anything. Personally, I think Torts should have been first to go. Hope the new GM thinks that as well.

  15. gbart22 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Such a mess. It has been a joy to watch them implode from the inside out.

  16. mcphillthy - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Gillis poor mnagement will set this organization back years! Look at the islanders still trying to recover from the milbury days. I am not a Vancouver fan but it’s been past his time to go.

  17. sjsharks66 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    This should have happened a long time ago.

  18. sjsharks66 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Next they should axe Torts and hire Laviolette.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      If they liked AV then Vancouver fans would probably like Lavy. His aggressive offensive system would atleast look better with that roster than Torts. And someone like Kassian would probably thrive; he loves those kinds of players.

      Always felt Lavy got a raw deal in Philly. His message/approach got stale but he always has success in his first 2-3 years somewhere. Ppl may not want him but I actually agree he’d be a good candidate to get production out of that roster. Solid motivator+ sharp offensive mind.

      • kaptaanamerica - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        Agreed. I was always a fan of Lavy/ Nolan.

  19. jason9696 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    I would feel a little sorry for him if he didn’t come across as such an arrogant pr***.

  20. pavelfitzgerald - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I always thought Gillis got far too much credit in Vancouver. He inherited the core of that team from Brian Burke (i.e. Sedins), relied heavily on Craig Hesinger of the Manitoba Moose to find him diamonds in the rough (i.e. Alex Burrows, found in the ECHL before becoming a force in the AHL) & made some awful trades/signings (i.e. Keith Ballard, David Booth, Luongo’s contract, all the NTC’s, etc.)

    The next GM is going to have an awful time trying to blow up that core with the NTC’s. It reminds me of the Maple Laughs 2.0 after JFJ gave out all those awful contracts.

    Lastly, you had Luongo & Schneider at the end of last year & now you have Lack & Markstrom. I think Lack can be a starter in the league, but he probably would’ve benefitted from backing up Luongo this year & next instead of becoming the default starter. Poor kid never stood a chance ..

  21. muckleflugga - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    good luck mike … travel well and may good fortune find you

    i look forward to seeing canucks become the menace they were by mid october … anybody who thinks this team is in serious trouble is delusional … ghouls presiding over what will prove to be an abbreviated run of bad mojo will be dining on crow soon enough

    hockey out west is far more enjoyable with a strong canucks and with flames burning brighter hockey will be good again

    go canucks … bring it on home

  22. djshnooks - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    It’s funny I was just arguing with someone how the Canucks were further ahead than the Sabres for a rebuild. I guess not.

  23. blomfeld - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM


    As nice as it is to see Gillis get the axe, his firing is nothing more than a ‘reactionary’ move by the Aquilini family on the eve of Canuckle season-ticket renewal day. Word here in Vancouver is that sales are ‘not’ expected to go well, with the greatest concern being a feared ‘precipitous’ drop in corporate commitments. As such, this desperate effort to placate their customer base will likely have little effect in terms of preventing an overall drop in renewals (corporate & private) by as much as 30%.

    As for Torts, he’s going no where but ‘up’ … in fact, don’t be surprised if you see him now take on the ‘dual’ role of Coach & GM, at least for the foreseeable future. The removal of Gillis does not come cheaply, therefore ‘cost-saving’ efforts will now become the order of the day. It wouldn’t surprise me either if the Sedin brothers now ‘suddenly’ announce that they’ve agreed to take a pay cut. Same thing with Burrows, Kesler, Bieksa, Kassian, etc. And then you’ve got Luongo down there in Florida, ‘smirking away’ to the tune of US $850,000.00 (per year) for the next decade. Suffice it to say than an invite to a ‘spaghetti dinner’ will be in the mail to him shortly.

  24. selldannysell - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Ted Leonsis, are you paying attention?

    • govtminion - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      No, he’s not, or he’d have done this last summer to McPhee.

  25. suckit619 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    I wonder if the fans will riot

    • kaptaanamerica - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      I haven’t received an invitation to the bbq……….

  26. hockeyflow33 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Well this is completely shocking!

  27. slysipops - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    ANNOUNCEMENT : the VANCOUVER CANUCK hockey front office tries to show gratitude toward the faithful ( but suffering ) fans on the opening day of the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ! there will be a free concert for all fans on the recently melted surface at the rink….featuring….THE WHO !!!! enjoy fans and remember…’s only a game !……………….. JOHN TORTARELLA ….please report to the front office……………….. JOHN TORTARELLA …… please report to the front office !

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