This morning (April 23), the Vancouver Canucks introduced former player agent Mike Gillis as the team’s new general manager.
Of all the things Gillis had to say at his introductory news conference at General Motors Place Wednesday morning, one stood out above all of the others. When asked how close he felt the team he was inheriting was to being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, the Canucks new general manager bluntly offered "Not close at all."
That's a far cry from what Dave Nonis believed about the team he was leaving behind. It's also one of the reasons Nonis is no longer in charge.
Gillis said all of the usual things any new GM says when taking over a hockey club -- he wants to win, he needs time to evaluate his staff and players, he has his own ideas about how to turn the club into a winner. Only time will tell. Gillis may not have managerial experience when it comes to running a hockey club, but he certainly knows the game of hockey, having been a former player and most-recently a highly-respected player agent.
He showed well in front of the microphones in his first public appearance as Canucks GM and he deserves every opportunity to prove that he can get the job done. And admitting that there's plenty of work to do is probably a good place to start.
Gillis succeeds Nonis, who was fired on April 14 after the Canucks failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years.
One of a new general manager’s first decisions is whether or not retain a team’s current coach, and so the city waits in anticipation for news on the future of Alain Vigneault.