Mike Gillis has become the first casualty of the Vancouver Canucks’ miserable season.
The Canucks relieved Gillis of his duties as team president and general manager Tuesday, one day after Vancouver was officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
“On behalf of my entire family, I would like to sincerely thank Mike Gillis for his hard work and the many contributions he made on and off the ice during his tenure,” Canucks Sports & Entertainment chairman Francesco Aquilini said in a statement. “The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mike’s leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal, but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed.”
The shutout loss dropped the Canucks to 35-33-11 (good for fifth place in the Pacific Division) after leading the NHL in points in two of the last three seasons. The half-empty crowd at Rogers Arena spent much of the latter part of the game chanting for Gillis to be fired.
“Personally I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said of the fans’ reaction, via the National Post, “but at the end of the day, the fans come and they can do whatever they want. Put it this way: We’re all going to take the blame for this. It’s not just one or two guys. It’s the whole team. We’re going to take what we get, move forward, push through this.”
It’s unclear what Gillis’ firing means for head coach John Tortorella, who also has been on the hot seat in his first season behind the Canucks’ bench.
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