June 12, 2013

Pucks On The 'Net: Canucks Coaching Situation

Seriously? The Vancouver Canucks are interviewing John Tortorella for their vacant head coaching position? Not only that, but GM Mike Gillis is committing to interviewing "four or five more" candidates. That would be on top of the four or five he has already included. Has any other team publicly acknowledged pursuing so many different options?

I know, I know. Gillis has to consider every possibility. After all, the choice of the next Canucks coach will be Gillis' most important hockey decision he has made in his 5 year tenure. And it will have fascinating implications - good or bad - for the next 5 years. Or more. He has to do his homework and leave no stone unturned.

But to me this whole situation suggests to me that Gillis - the man paid to be the visionary and to make the vision come true - is really not sure which direction to take this team next. If he was firm in his plan, he probably would not be interviewing such a wide range of candidates, but rather zeroing in on the candidates most likely to fulfill the mandate, so as to not miss out on the top choice.

I certainly hope that I am reaching on this thought. Mike Gillis' franchise "reset" requires concise vision. That is a word that I can not emphasize enough

Is Mike Gillis the right guy for this reset? Will he hire the right coach and make the right on-ice moves to keep the Canucks at the top and take them to the promise land? Only time will tell. In the meantime Gillis is notoriously cautious and thorough in his decisions. Meanwhile the fan base is impatient. Hey, after 42 years they have that right.

Here's some more Pucks On The 'Net

  • I think Vancouver fans are very weary of hiring Tortorella for two reasons:
  • Torts in Vancouver would bring back scary memories of Mike Keenan's sideshow circus act tail-spinning into oblivion. The Canucks might be on the decline anyway, but let's do it without losing our dignity!
  • In all seriousness, hiring Tortorella would strongly suggest that Gillis' mandate from ownership is to keep trying to win immediately. Given the serious lack of prospects in the system and the regressing and aging team, I think that would be an unwise mandate. Vancouver fans want to see their team continue to challenge, of course. But they also want to see the prospects cupboard restocked for long term security. 
  • One candidate's name that I thought was interesting - and really has not been mentioned anywhere before, that I know of - is Jacques Martin. I really have no idea why but my hunch remains that John Stevens is a serious possibility.
While we are speaking about Canucks coaches, congratulations must go out to former Canucks coach and GM Harry Neale for his honouring by the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 76 year old Neale stepped from behind the benches and into the broadcast booth about 30 years ago and was a long time lead colour analyst for Hockey Night in Canada. Neale has been named as the 2013 recipient of the Foster Hewitt Award for outstanding contributions made as a broadcaster.

Congrats also go out to Jay Greenberg who will be honoured for hockey journalism excellence with the Elmer Ferguson Award.

Both Neale and Greenberg will be honoured in November as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Induction Showcase. On July 9th the HHOF will announce the 2013 induction class of players and builders.

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