Gillis' arrogance was his undoing

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Mike Gillis

In today’s world, arrogance is shoved down our throats daily on social media. From people posting pictures of themselves in a bathroom, to showing off what someone is about to eat for dinner, Twitter and Facebook have enabled everyone to be a little cocky about themselves. This is fine for the average human being, because we are not judged by the masses, but being arrogant as the face of a multi-million dollar organization? That’s not going to cut it.

And so, we are finally here. Mike Gillis has been let go as President and GM of the hometown Canucks. He never connected with the fan base, and though the business side has thrived through his tenure, the on ice product has been in a steady decline since the peak in 2011.

Though his six year run has been deemed the most successful stretch in franchise history, the ultimate truth is they only got past the second round once, but it never seemed to be his fault.

The Gillis interview with the Team 1040 last Thursday was the most honest he has been with the media since taking over. Unfortunately, it also showed a complete lack of leadership. Any President/CEO/Manager of a major corporation who admits his organization got away from their vision doesn’t deserve to hold their position. The entire fan base saw the change from run and gun, to a tight a checking style that has resulted in one playoff game win in three seasons since making it to game 7 of the final. If your principal was possession hockey, you stick with it, and make sure your product is as well.

Coming off the embarrassing sweep by San Jose last year, the fans hear of a reset in off the season. During the 2013 post season presser, Gillis answered questions with a chip on his shoulder. He blamed injuries and a falling cap, as if the 29 other teams in the NHL don’t have the same problems.

His personnel moves have been questionable at best. You can give Gillis credit for stealing Christian Ehrhoff, signing Olympian Dan Hamhuis, and seeing the potential in Zack Kassian, but lets not look past the Booth and Ballard deals, as well as not producing one regular in the lineup through 5 years of drafting.

I ultimately believe the goalie fiasco that plagued this team since the 2012 playoffs was the beginning of the end for Mike Gillis. Your team had the luxury of having two legitimate number one goalies, and ended up with Bo Horvat, a third line center in Shawn Matthias, and a complete wildcard in Jacob Markstrom. Hey, we all get that it must have been tough trying to unload a $60 million dollar contract you gave to Luongo, but it would have been nice to hear Gillis admit it was a mistake, instead of deflecting the blame onto changes of the CBA.

That is the biggest issue Canucks fans have had with Mike Gillis, the lack of accountability and action. He could have unloaded Luongo to the Leafs at the 2013 deadline for spare parts and eating 10-15% of the salary, while having Schneider anchor the Canucks for ten years to come. He could have unloaded Alex Edler at the draft for a package that is rumored to have included any number of good young prospects from the Detroit Red Wings, but chose not to, and now you would be hard pressed to get anything close to that value for Edler.

Mike Gillis has always come across as an arrogant guy, who was surly and standoffish with the local media. The master “plan” he always spoke of never quite materialized the way he had envisioned, and he never acknowledged that what he was trying to do was not working. Had the Canucks finished the job in 2011, Gillis would have gotten a 5 to 7 year grace period where no one would question any of his moves. Instead, it became a blame game for what plagued the team, and his refusal to admit that he was wrong ultimately led to his undoing.

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Jas Kang 
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