Pierre LeBrun of ESPN is hearing that changes in Vancouver could be “coming sooner rather than later with the Canucks, perhaps as soon as today or tomorrow.”
Gee, wonder why?
When the remaining fans in a dwindled, apathetic crowd muster up enough energy to spark a ‘FIRE GILLIS!” chant, something must be done. We’re literally a few notches of fan dissidence away from seeing Canucks jerseys hit the ice in protest. (And no, Canucks fans, that Messier jersey doesn’t count. Just because you never got around to burning it in effigy doesn’t mean it’s a suitable protest-jersey to throw at the game.)
So is that enough for Francesco Aquilini to make a change at the top? Or does he just call the John Tortorella hiring a mistakes and cut the losses ($8 million over the next four years)?
Here’s the first twist: TSN is reporting that Trevor Linden’s name is in the mix for team president. Bob McKenzie offers the following scenario:
One scenario, as yet UNCONFIRMED, is GM Mike Gillis would be fired, Linden would hire new GM and new GM would sort out future of Tortorella.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 8, 2014
This squares with a rumor Elliotte Friedman had in late March: “[Rumor is] that ownership is courting Trevor Linden. Verdict: God only knows. We interviewed Linden for our piece on the 1994 Canucks, and off-handedly asked him about being a GM. He didn't seem that interested.”
Ah, but team president on the other hand!
Here’s the thing: Gillis has clearly drawn a line in the sand. He wants a return to the style of hockey they played before Tortorella arrived. If the Aquilinis aren’t down with that, then Gillis goes. Hell, maybe they aren’t down with Gillis making that statement on the radio in the first place …
If Linden comes in, perhaps Gillis is gone. Or perhaps he becomes the Greg Sherman to Linden’s Joe Sakic, with the Colorado Avalanche obviously being the new model for teams that need both fresh thinking in the front office and public relations coup to quiet the fans. (See also: Buffalo.)
But how tough would be to fire Gillis, keep Torts and then find a GM that’s willing to work with him and a payroll that’s left Vancouver with 20 players under contract and less than $10 million under next year’s cap?
What do you think Vancouver does?