If you missed Mike Gillis’ post-season comments on Tuesday morning, you missed quite a bit. Here’s some of the points Gillis made, and a brief reaction on those comments.
Gillis says the Canucks play dropped off after the Boston Bruins game in January.
Hard not to agree with this sentiment. The Vancouver Canucks and the media billed this game as one of, if not the biggest game of the season. They looked emotionally and physically spent after the win and the intensity of their play dropped off substantially afterwards.
Gillis: “I have every bit of confidence in Alain [Vigneault].” … “Re-evaluation starts with me first. I’d like to be here.”
Gillis doesn’t like the stress of his job, but he enjoys the challenge. It sounds like if his services are retained, so will Alain Vigneault. Is it easy to suggest that either both of Gillis and Vigneault stay or both of them go, with no in between.
Gillis: “I spent more time on Cody [Hodgson] and his issues more than anybody. Cody did not want to be here. I don’t regret doing it… I’d do it again.”
This was the bombshell. Gillis threw Hodgson under the bus, saying that he explored several trade options and that there was a list of six players he would trade Hodgson for. Zack Kassian was on that list.
Gillis: “We have confidence in both of our goalies, and I know a lot of teams are envious of our situation.”
Without giving away too much, Gillis acknowledged that the team will re-evaluate their goaltending situation and go from there. He didn’t rule out the possibility of both goalies being back next season.
Gillis on Luongo: “If you take a look at his body of work, you’ll see that he’s an elite-level goaltender. We’ve got a ton of confidence in Roberto.”
Gillis on Cory Schneider: “It wasn’t by accident he was played in big games. We wanted to see if he was as good as we thought. He is. The emergence of Cory as such an outstanding young goalie has changed the landscape.”
A little more on Luongo and Schneider. To borrow an old quote from last June, Gillis did an admirable job of pumping both goalies’ tires and perhaps their trade value as well. He refused to pick one over the other.
Gillis: “I think we need to get younger, I think we need to get bigger and stronger.”
This seemed a little confusing, given the Canucks traded for Zack Kassian but didn’t play the kid. It does, however, indicate the Canucks are going to aim to have Kassian one day playing top-six minutes. It also gives you an idea that the club will keep Ryan Kesler down the middle and David Booth on the wing for the foreseeable future but expect them to look to add another piece.
Gillis says the Canucks won’t change their style of play despite the success of defensive teams this postseason.
Pretty self-explanatory, but also confusing given the Canucks struggled to score and receded into a defensive shell down the stretch. The Canucks style of play got dry and boring, and the team will need to re-invent themselves if they want to get back to a high-octane style.
Gillis says he’s not going to give up on Mason Raymond, but he needs to take a step forward.
Bombshell number two. Most people had Raymond left for dead at this point, but it sounds like he will be back. The patience from management and coaching staff is likely waning, however, so Raymond will be qualified over the summer and will have no choice but to be exponentially better.
Gillis has not talked to his players so it’s too early to suggest who will go and who will stay.
Gillis’ way of saying ‘no comment’ without showing his cards. He keeps things under wraps so it shouldn’t be expected he’s going to give an indication of who will and will not be on the roster next season. If history has shown anything, though, Gillis will make a significant move.