Even since Steve Tambellini was fired by the Edmonton Oilers last year, the position of being the worst General Manager in the NHL has been vacant.
We all saw this coming, from the way things have been mishandled in Vancouver over the past couple of years. And now, it is official: Mike Gillis is the worst GM in the league.
He has had far too many missteps, so many in fact that he is more laughable than other league punching bags, such as Paul Holmgren over in Philly, who never seems short on making baffling moves and contract signings.
Here are some of the lowlights of Gillis over the past while.
- Signed goalie Roberto Luongo to an insane, cap-circumventing contract. 12 years for a goalie is absolutely insane. Poor decision.
- He made his goalie his team captain. A silly gimmick that backfired.
- Said he wanted to trade Luongo. He couln’t/wouldn’t pull the trigger. As far as rumours are concerned, he had a deal on the table with the Maple Leafs last year, and chickened out.
- Traded his new #1 goalie, Cory Schneider, to the Devils for nothing more than their #1 pick. They drafted Bo Horvat with that one. Other rumours persist that other teams had offered much more for Schneider before the draft. This was a shocking move, but showed his allegiance to Luongo once again.
- Hired John Tortorella as coach of his team. Not a bad coach, but a bad coach for the team that he had assembled.
- Re-signed the fading Sedin twins to long and expensive extensions. Sure, these guys have been the cornerstones of the Canucks over the past decade, but they have already begun a mid-30’s fade, and one year in, this looks like a bad deal.
- Watches as his coach plays backup Eddie Lack a lot more this season than anyone would have expected. Sure, this is more of Torts’ fault, but I’m sure Gillis could have at least stepped in and said something about Lack getting the start in the Heritage Classic.
- Finally trades Luongo. Back to Florida, where he had wanted to be all along. Gets not much in return. Another prospect goalie, who could eventually push Lack for playing time, but that’s about it.
- Seems to run organization so poorly that another top player, Ryan Kesler, has asked out of town. It will be interesting to see how Gillis manages to botch this move as well.
- So much drama on one team. A good manager would have found the problem early and taken care of it. His rotating #1 goalies was a perfect example of gross mismanagement.
Overall, his tenure has been poor. For years, he had a top-contending team, and even got them to the Finals once. But could never put them over the top. Now, they are being forced to rebuild on the fly, as so many of the pieces he has put together have not worked out. Now, a team that had perhaps the best goaltending duo in the league before the draft last year, now has a couple of kids in net, hoping for the best. A coach who isn’t liked. Aging stars who are locked up for years to come at a significant cap hit. Players trying to get out.
And only one person to blame: Gillis. Even though I have no affiliation to the Canucks, it’s time that this clown is let go, and they get somebody competent in there who can run this team, and help turn them around before their very small window is completely closed.
Some pretty big moves again today leading up to the NHL trade deadline tomorrow. Looks like the lead up will again be better than the actual deadline day. But, at least, there are some big moves to discuss.
Bryzgalov from Edmonton to Minnesota: The Wild needed a goalie, and like Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 stated yesterday, someone like The Universe has better numbers than Martin Brodeur. He definitely lacks in playoff experience, and can’t really be relied upon, but a semi-solid vet is something the Wild needed as they push to the playoffs. The Oilers get a measly 4th round pick in return. Feels like they could have at least got a mid-level prospect. Surprised the Wild didn’t go for Jarolsav Halak.
Miller from Buffalo to St. Louis: Mentioned this one in a previous post. A strong move by a strong team. It makes the Blues better, and they are already really, really good.
Fasth from Anaheim to Edmonton: The Ducks are silly deep with their goalies this year, and they haven’t even played standout prospect John Gibson yet. Fasth was definitely the most expendable of their goalies, but it is another upgrade for the Oilers. For a team that started with the absolutely abhorrent tandem of Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera, now having Victor Fasth and Ben Scrivens is a massive upgrade.
Luongo from Vancouver to Florida: Least surprising move…if it happened a year ago. It feels like the Canucks could have, and should have, got more for Luongo, but terrible GM Mike Gillis dragged his feet for far too long. Are we going to pretend that the Leafs didn’t offer up more for Lou last season? Not even really sure why the Panthers made this move, although it will help them meet the salary cap floor for the next few seasons. Plus, I think everyone is in love with the idea of Luongo being teammates with Tim Thomas for at least a little while. Tons of tire pumping to be going on.
Now we can sit back tomorrow, and hope that some forwards are on the move.
With the men’s Olympic hockey tournament underway, here are a few thoughts I’ve had from the opening games. At this point, all teams have played at least two games and we really are already separating the good from the bad and the ugly, as happens every year. The prelims really are just a warmup for the teams we know are going to make it to the medal round anyway, as they try and fuse a team together and get some momentum before the elimination games really begin.
- Great job by Slovenia, the tiny former Yugoslav nation with fewer than 200 registered male hockey players, on getting their first ever Olympic win, over the reeling Slovakian team.
- Even though Finland hasn’t dominated, as a Canadian fan, I am scared of what Tuuka Raask could do in the medal round.
- The US team has looked dominant, maybe the best team in the tourney so far.
- 4 goals by TJ Oshie in the shootout against Russia? Incredible. That will be seen as a classic game in no time.
- Tough blow for Sweden, who were the favorites in my mind. Losing Henrik Zetterberg really hurts. He is a beast, and probably their best player. They have good team depth, however, and should be able to make a run at a medal without him. That D combination of Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is terrifying.
- The uniforms: as awful as they were when they were released, they actually look pretty decent on the ice. That goes for most of the teams. I really like the Finnish flag jerseys, the Czech whites, and the Canada reds. Still a huge thumbs down for the black Canadian alternates, and those Russian ones look like a big mess with the white eagle heads. And is Austria just wearing the Canadian jerseys from 2010 with a different logo? No points for creativity there.
Now, specifically on the Canadian team:
- I want Carey Price as my goalie moving forward. Luongo played well and got a shutout, but that was against Austria. I just don’t trust him to rise up like I would Price.
- Crosby has been quiet, which shouldn’t really be a concern. He didn’t do tons in Vancouver, either, before scoring that one little goal of his…
- I am endlessly impressed with our defense. Weber and Doughty have been great in both ends of the rink. Everyone else has been solid as well. No glaring giveaways, and it looks like they are all playing well together. This bodes well as we move forward, since in these short tournaments, D and goaltending are paramount.
- Why is Rick Nash on this team again? I love to hate him.
- Hopefully Canada got a scare from its close opening game against Norway. European teams can really shut it down out there, and Canada has to be willing to get dirty in the corners and messy in front of the net to get some mucker goals in order to bear those teams. For example, Switzerland gives you no chances, so you need to capitalize on every sniff you may get.
- I don’t know if I like playing two easy teams off the hop. I would rather have had the Finns as a second game, a truer test for the team. Then an easy one to close the round robin. This would have given them a bit of a break going into the medal round. Now, they will be playing tough and meaningful games for the rest of the tournament. No more simple ones.
- Again, those black jerseys were terrible.
It is very exciting going forward, to see which nation will rise above the others. There are still so many contenders out there, and it really is too tough to call at this point. The US looks like the team to beat, but that could change in a moment, which really is the best part about the Olympic tourney.
Go Canada Go!
So it has finally been announced after months of debate, that will surely carry on now that we can debate who made it and who didn’t. In Canada, it is no secret that the majority of us base our Olympic viewing around the hockey team, and so many of our hopes rest on the team assembled for each Games.
Here is the list of players that made it:
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getlzaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews.
Defense: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber.
Goalies: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith
Some of my thoughts on the picks:
- I feel like Rick Nash is done. He is now dealing with concussion issues, and only has 8 goals this year. He has always been tons of promise, with little follow through. Sure, he has nice hands, skates well, and is a big body, but I would have chosen James Neal over him in a heartbeat.
- I want Price to be our starting goalie.
- How amazing is that D? Far and away the deepest group in the tournament.
- Perplexed by Hamhuis getting named to the team. I may have gone with Seabrook as by defensive D-man instead.
- Don’t like Marleau on this team. He was solid in Vancouver, but has a history of not showing up in the biggest games, and I feel like his time is done.
- One of the more controversial picks, Kunitz, is fine by me. Anyone who keeps Sid going is fine.
- Glad that Jamie Benn, one of the biggest camp snubs, made the team. Big, can skate, can finish.
- Same for Sharp. He has been way too hot lately to ignore. Throw him with anyone and he’ll score.
- Jeff Carter? I never actually thought of him in the discussion for the team. Would rather have Martin St. Louis on there. Or Claude Giroux. Not nearly the same size as Carter, but it wouldn’t matter on the large ice.
- There are two Canadian players who are 5’11”. And they are the smallest, with everybody else over 6′. That is a big team.
- Smart moves: leaving Taylor Hall, Joe Thornton, and Dan Boyle at home. Hall can’t play in his own end and is very poor without the puck, Thornton is too slow for the big ice, despite being a generationaly good setup man, and Boyle is over-the-hill, having a poor year, and I was surprised he was being considered.
- Shocked Logan Couture didn’t make it, even with his recently injured hand. He will be on the next team, for sure.
- I think there is a good combination of finesse, scoring, and grit on this team to rightfully be a favorite for the Gold. Canada, Sweden, Russia and a darkhorse Finland (I just love those goalies) are my Top 4 teams. The US isn’t far behind.
- Weakest area is in net. I’ve never been sold on Luongo, as we won last time in spite of him, not because of him. Price has been big before, but has also gone through major slumps. I think Smith is a systems goalie, and kind of surprised he is on there ahead of Corey Crawford.
- Too bad those uniforms are just so ugly. I thought for a moment that they were growing on me. But then they weren’t. Will probably still buy one, thought. Sadly.