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NHL hoping for outdoor Heritage Classic when Canucks host Senators

Tuesday, 07.23.2013 / 9:35 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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NHL hoping for outdoor Heritage Classic when Canucks host Senators

VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and new head coach John Tortorella faced questions from fans Tuesday night at the club's annual summer summit.

Gillis and Tortorella, who discussed the team's plans heading into the 2013-14 season, were joined by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly for the occasion at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons and have just one post-season victory since losing Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins.

The lack of playoff success cost Alain Vigneault, the franchise's all-time winningest coach, his job in May after the Canucks were swept by the San Jose Sharks.

Tortorella, fired by the New York Rangers after they were eliminated in the second round by Boston, was hired as Vigneault's replacement, with the former Canucks coach taking over in the Big Apple.

Gillis' choice of Tortorella as coach has been criticized, along with his handling of Vancouver's goaltending situation, which resulted in Cory Schneider's trade to the New Jersey Devils after the Canucks could not move Roberto Luongo and the nine years and $64 million remaining on his contract.

The Vancouver GM has also come under fire for the team's poor draft record under his watch. Only one Gillis draft choice, Cody Hodgson, now a member of the Buffalo Sabres as a result of a trade, has become a regular NHLer.

The Canucks will enter the 2013-14 season having won five straight Northwest Division titles, but Vancouver's schedule will be more difficult in the new Pacific Division following NHL realignment.

Gillis will also have to contend with a reduced salary cap that drops to $64.2 million from $70.3 million.

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