Sheesh, I was kidding when speculating about what next week will bring. But the sitcom of the Vancouver Canuck management (nearing their 40th celebratory year!) continues with Mike Gillis' rapid ascension to the throne of Vancouver Canucks GM or, if you will, "The 0-38 Chair".
Like most of you, I knew he was an agent and it pretty much ended there. Most reports seem to be crucifying the guy off that bat because he's never been a GM which seems short sighted. I'm actually more excited that Gillis isn't a member of the old boy's club of GM's because I'd prefer he spend more time using his knowledge of the game and management skills (however limited they may appear to be) towards building the right damn squad and less about boat trips, wedding invites and back slaps. Call me naive, but as long as Gillis has a strong understanding of the game (check), a vision for the team next season (check), and is going to assemble a team of aides and assistants around him to help fulfill that vision then sign me up.
Besides, I'm not sure you need to be part of that darling GM inner circle to make ends meet. Following Burke around, how much more training and inner circle respect did Nonis need? When his team needed it so badly, all those years in the back and front office netted him Matt Pettinger for Matt Cooke (a trade, mind you, he admitted he worked on for months). I know that's not painting the situation entirely fair, but Nonis had all the mentoring and training in the world and, if you leave out Luongo, he accomplished very little so if Gillis has to be the exact opposite and learn the mechanics of being a GM on the fly, so what?
I also like Gillis being more blunt then his predecessor. He called the team average (gasp!), said Luongo is the only "double-A asset" the team has and admitted some things we blogging heads have wondered aloud like if the Sedins are true front liners, is our scouting department full of monkeys and the franchise's never-ending affection for drafting complete busts. It took him all of ten minutes to chuck Stan Smyl under the bus as far as player development goes. He didn't, however, chuck Vigneault under that same bus, though I am sure you could have the Penguins top line and Alain would saddle Crosby with Ritchie.
My only concern so far is calling out the obvious issues is one thing, fixing them is another. So it's who Gillis surrounds himself with and his first couple moves out of the gate (the draft, trades and what of Sir Naslund) that concern me. Making those first steps are crucial to right the ship and put this team on some forward momentum for the first time in a long time. All easier said then done.
And what a fondness for other players that Gillis has represented? Like Tony Gallagher suggested he needs to draw that line in the sand between agent and GM immediately. I find it hard to believe he can draw a line in the sand that easily (as do some others), but time will tell.
Gillis could blow this team up in a million different ways, but I get the feeling he'd rather create something now, in the next two Luongo-guaranteed years. So with $20 million in cap money to spend, a relatively high draft pick, a deep defense and some prospects to tow, prepare to see some creative destruction (I don't quote Schumpeter enough).
Next topic: Gillis needs a nickname. Suggestions?