Paying severe price for boredom
It’s the fact that the Canucks were losing games the boring way, that’s why Nonis was relieved according to the Province’s Tony Gallagher.
“It's one thing to lose, but quite another to lose in boring fashion,” writes Gallagher. “And if there is one thing an owner cannot have, it's watching his customers fail to be entertained, and on many nights this season that was certainly the case, this team often excruciatingly boring even on nights when they won.
“And make no mistake, the Aquilini family wants to win the big prize, not lose in the most excruciating way they did many times this season, particularly down the stretch after it appeared a playoff position was almost certain.”
Nonis failed to execute any moves at this year’s trade deadline to address Vancouver’s lack of scoring, and this also led to his dismissal according to Gallagher. Although it was a difficult decision for Canucks managing partner Francesco Aquilini, it had to be done, but Gallagher believes there could be someone waiting in the wings to take over the GM position.
"It was a very difficult decision but I'm not going to answer questions tonight," said Aquilini in confirming the decision to fire his GM. "I'm not going to discuss any of these things now. The team will have a press conference [today] and that's all I am prepared to say."
Aquilini would not answer questions as to whether the search for a replacement has begun or the time frame he expected it would take to name a replacement.
There's also a possibility that Aquilini already has his man lined up and he could be named as early as today.
Canucks’ slide puts career on rocks
The sun reports that the firing of Vancouver Canucks general manager Dave Nonis could leave quite a few people in limbo within the organization.
“Nonis could soon have company in his misery, as his removal as head of the hockey department imperils everyone from head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant GM Steve Tambellini on down to the scouting department headed by Ron Delorme,” wrote Gary Kingston and Iain Macintyre.
“Nearly all contracts of hockey staff dovetails with Nonis's, which had a year remaining at about $1 million. The next general manager will likely want to hire his own people.”
The Sun pair also believes that the affect of Nonis’ firing will trickle all the way down to the signing of Swedish youngster Fabian Brunnstrom, who was rumored to be coming to the Canucks.
“In the short term, the Canucks can expect to lose prized Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom, whose agent, J.P. Barry, confirmed earlier Monday that Vancouver was his client's first choice but hinted it was contingent on the Nonis remaining in charge.”
The Sun reports that directly following the firing, rumours surfaced that Canucks ex-general manager Brian Burke could return to the fold, “but a Canuck insider said that was ‘laughable’ and would require ‘bloodshed.’”
Nonis compiled a 130-91-25 record in three seasons in charge.
Canucks relieve GM Dave Nonis
Ben Kuzma gives some insight into Nonis being relieved as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks:
“Dave Nonis was asked to defend the season in a 3 p.m. meeting Monday. Francesco Aquilini didn't like what he heard and three hours later, he acted in a swift and decisive manner.
“The Vancouver Canucks chairman and owner fired Nonis as general manager of the NHL club largely because it failed to advance to the playoffs for the second time in the last three years.
“In a prepared statement, Aquilini hinted that the defensive-minded team that produced a 39-33-10 record was not to his liking, despite a rash of injuries that crippled the club for the stretch drive.”
Kuzma spoke with Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness Monday night to get his thoughts on the firing:
"I'm very shocked, like I'm sure everyone will be," said Bowness. "I've been in the league for 33 years now and this is the best game in the world, but it's a tough, tough business. And today is an example of that."
Bowness added that it's tough to fathom that the Canucks were playing for the Northwest Division lead on March 21, but then lost six of their next seven games to miss the playoffs.
"We all know how disappointed everyone is with the finish," added Bowness. "Wins could have turned that whole thing around for us."
Eight who generate interest
Jason Botchford compiled a list of eight general managers who will garner some attention as the Canucks search for a new GM:
1. KEN HOLLAND, GM, DETROIT:
Why not? He's widely considered the best in the business and the Canucks would be foolish not to make a concerted run for him. He's from Vernon and a return to his home province has to be just a little intriguing. Prying him out of Detroit will not be easy, and many will say it's impossible. But the Wings do have Steve Yzerman waiting in the (ahem) wings. Yzerman taking over as Detroit's general manager seems a question of when, not if. So, why not now?
2. JIM NILL, ASSISTANT GM/VP, DETROIT:
If Holland can't be lured, Vancouver could go after his right-hand man. If the Canucks conclude the real way to build a long-term winner is through the draft (duh) then Nill should be a strong candidate. No team has drafted better than Detroit, especially when you consider where the Wings have picked. Try Henrik Zetterberg in round 7, and Pave Datsyuk in round 6 (and the Canucks thought Alex Edler was a steal).
3. BRIAN BURKE, GM, ANAHEIM:
Many would perceive it as a step backward, but there is enough evidence to indicate the Canucks are at least willing to see if you can go home again. The fiery Burke burned plenty of bridges in the Lower Mainland, but buffed his resume with a Cup in Anaheim. Although he has said he wants to stay in California, a trip back to a strong hockey market is alluring.
4. STEVE TAMBELLINI, ASSISTANT GM, VANCOUVER:
Has to be considered. Choosing him, however, is pretty much going with the status quo. Tambellini has been with the Canucks for nearly 20 years and was named vice-president of player personnel in 1998. He has been interviewed for other general manager jobs. In 2002, he was director of player personnel for the winning Olympic team. Inexpensive, inoffensive choice.
5. PAT QUINN, LONGTIME PLAYER, COACH AND GM:
The Canucks may not see Quinn as a long-term answer but he could join the team in an interim role. Could help through a difficult time.
6. DAVID CONTE, VP HOCKEY/SCOUTING DIRECTOR, NEW JERSEY:
Lou Lamoriello doesn't want to let him go, but it may be worth a shot. For more than 15 years, Conte has been helping the Devils uncover gems in the draft, especially in the late rounds. Just like the Wings, New Jersey has uncovered top prospects without high draft picks.
7. DOUG ARMSTRONG, FORMER DALLAS STARS GM:
He was the fall guy in Dallas after the Stars got off to a 7-7-3 start. His teams in Dallas were talented underachievers (sound familiar?). During his tenure, Dallas went 210-109-35-23. They were the third-winningest team in the NHL, but won just one playoff series in five seasons.
8. DAVID MCNAB, ASSISTANT GM, ANAHEIM:
If you want a diamond in the rough, McNab is the guy. He's done an effective job behind the scenes and has enough experience to make the next step. He was the catalyst in getting the Ducks to sign college free agents. This produced the likes of Dustin Penner and Chris Kunitz.