Coaching staff await fates - Bowness knows life behind the bench can be tough
Elliott Pap believes there could be a few sleepless nights ahead for Vancouver Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness as he and the other coaching staff wait to hear if new GM Mike Gillis will shuffle the coaching deck or keep things the way they are.
Bowness came to Vancouver for the 2006-07 season after spending time both as a head coach and assistant with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes. His experience has helped him realize that the shelf life for a coach can be brief.
"We've been around long enough to know these things take time to unfold," Bowness said. "So I'm not concerned about anything one way or another. It's just going to take a little time to put it all together.
"That's just the way it is -- and that's fair and that's fine."
The coaching staff may receive an overhaul, but one area Pap feels the new boss likely won't overhaul is his third line led by gritty centre Ryan Kesler
and his trash-talking sidekick Alex Burrows. Kesler said Thursday he is "pretty anxious" to meet Gillis.
"I don't know him personally and I look forward to meeting him at the right time," said Kesler, who is back home in Michigan with his wife awaiting the birth of their first child. "He is probably going to do a great job. He's a guy who knows the players and, hopefully, he'll make us a contender."
Kesler said he welcomed Gillis's assessment that the Canucks needs more abrasiveness throughout their lineup.
"I think that was something our team was lacking last year," Kesler continued. "If we can improve that part, everything else will fall into place."
Gillis sees clean slate as advantage - Confrontation part of the job
"Mike Gillis didn't take the Canucks' top hockey spot in hopes of adding Kevin Lowe to his Facebook account," said Jason Botchford who recently spoke with the Canucks new general manager.
Gillis was named Vancouver's GM on Wednesday, more than a week after Dave Nonis was relieved from the position, and already he's got a firm grasp on what needs to be done to improve a Canucks squad that missed the playoffs by three points this season.
"I think having a different perspective creates some advantages," Gillis said. "I think bringing in different ideas, which sometimes may be completely wrong but are new ideas about how to succeed, might be a good thing.
"In some respects, people get stale when they do the same thing repeatedly in the same environment with the same people. There can be a sense of institutionalization that creeps in, which people aren't even aware of but it helps them get through the day."
The decision to hire Gillis as GM was a split vote amongst other general managers around the league, according to Botchford, with Edmonton's Kevin Lowe making it clear that he doesn't like Gillis.
"Lowe publicly expressed continuing bitterness Wednesday over the Michael Nylander negotiations last summer, even though losing out on the forward to the Capitals was, arguably, one of the best things that happened to the Oilers.
"For a variety of reasons that whole episode was handled thoughtfully," Gillis said. "Kevin probably feels it wasn't because the player didn't want to go to Edmonton and it didn't look good on them. But my obligation was to the client.
"I don't work for the Oilers, so whatever obligation he felt I didn't fulfill, I apologized to him. I couldn't have done anything differently.
"It was free-agent day and it was highly emotional. There was stuff that was out of my control, stuff that was out of their control. But, despite what happened, three weeks later we signed with Edmonton one of the top 18-year-old players in the world in Sam Gagner. We did that in the same environment. If Nylander was in Edmonton, Gagner might not have been on the team."
Fame now a family affair for Gillis - Canucks GM's daughter in spotlight in Victoria
Vancouver's new GM has been in the spotlight now for a few days, but it seems the glare is also shining on his daughter Kate, a member of Team Canada's field hockey team, writes Cleve Dheensaw.
Gillis and her teammates are in Victoria this weekend as Team Canada begins its quest to get to the Beijing Olympics. This is the final qualifier for the event.
Despite her dad's laundry list of things to do, Kate said Mike will be there to cheer her on this weekend.
"He's got a lot of things he's got to do right now [in taking over the Canucks], but he's always made time for family and he'll be here," said Kate.
"Gillis grew up in a sporting family -- mother Diane was an international track and field athlete for Canada who fell just short of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and was affected by the 1980 Moscow boycott -- and Kate was encouraged as a youngster to try out everything while growing up in Kingston, Ont.
"My parents supported me in everything I have done," she said.