VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A lot of Canucks fans have a hate-on for general manager Mike Gillis, unleashing a torrent of criticism online as the team struggles for a play-off spot, dumps Roberto Luongo and has yet to pull the trigger on a game-changing trade ahead of today’s NHL deadline.
Speaking on Rogers Sportsnet, Gillis says management feels “strongly” about how the team has performed this season.
“We felt this was an opportunity to really evaluate our group, look at what we have and start making some changes and move in a bit of a different direction.”
Gillis says the team has diversified and gotten younger with the Luongo trade which has also, more-or-less, taken his massive contract off the Canucks’ books. His next move may make or break his career with the team as it struggles for even a shot at making the playoffs after five years as champion of the old Northwest Division. Fans will be demanding his head if they don’t.
Social media certainly hasn’t been kind to Gillis — the Fire Mike Gillis Facebook page a good example — with comments like “Boy, that Schneider trade (basically for a bag of pucks) sure makes sense now. Awesome job Gillis… :/ ”
“Lu, when you win the Cup in Florida, please come back to Vancouver and shove it up Gillis’ a**,” posts another disgruntled Canucks fan.
There has been a battle on Gillis’ Wikipedia page as well, with someone repeatedly editing it to say he is the worst GM in Canucks history.
Is the criticism fair?
News1130’s Rick Dhaliwal with Sportsnet Radio says it’s certainly not surprising given the Canucks’ goaltending controversies dragged on for so long.
“At the end of the day he lost both Corey Schneider and Roberto Luongo so you can understand why so many people are taking shots at Mike Gillis. But the bottom line is he got rid of a pretty big contract, he’s got a little more flexibility in terms of the salary cap and he can go out and get some more players.”
He has until 3 p.m. today to do that, with some suggesting his job as GM is on the line.
“They’re in tough. They’ve scored eight goals in their past eight games, they’ve lost 10 of their last 11 but, you know what, I don’t think Gillis’ job is in trouble. He’s tight with the owner, he’s going have time to turn the ship around slowly, not right away. He will be given time to get that job done,” says Dhaliwal.
Meanwhile, the vitriol continues to flow on Twitter.
The latest photoshop magic? A new team logo featuring the Titanic on the end of the iconic hockey stick.