With the Vancouver Canucks spiraling and sputtering toward the end of the season that is almost assuredly going to end without a playoff berth, tensions are rising. For a team that has become a playoff mainstay over the past few years, this season has been a failure.
The Canucks offense has dropped off to being 28th in the league in goals per game under new coach John Tortorella. So even without one full season on the job, there has been some anticipation that Torts could pay the price.
General Manager Mike Gillis is no less embattled in his role and on Wednesday he met the media in Boca Raton at the GM Meetings. Of course the big questions for him were about the Canucks this season and the rumors about Tortorella's job security.
Gillis didn't give Torts the vote of confidence. No, he didn't give a vote at all.
Mike Gillis wont discuss rumours of potential change in Vancouver. "Lends credibility to it if I comment."— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 12, 2014
"I am not going to comment on specific things about John. It is unfair to him" and to the team.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 12, 2014
That's probably the best approach because no matter what a GM says, people will read into it in a different manner. Of course by dodging the question that will still cause people to wonder but c'est la vie.
The same questions were asked about whether Tortorella had "lost the room" and Gillis gave the same answer, no comment. No reason to bring gasoline to a book of matches.
Rough season or not, Elliotte Friedman points out there is a lot of reason for the Canucks to remain patient for now.
Tortorella ($8 million) and Gillis (at least the same) each have four years remaining on their contracts. The Luongo deal saved the organization approximately $28 million in cash, but are you immediately going to start eating half of it?
If I was advising the Aquilinis, I'd be asking them the following questions: If you supported Gillis's deadline plan, is it really a good idea to fire him a week later? Isn't it worth seeing who your most competitive people and players are during this stretch to help make the best long-term assessments about your organization?
This much we know; it's going to get a lot more interesting in Vancouver before anything else between the futures of Tortorella, Gillis, Ryan Kesler and the team as a whole. It just might be a while before we hear anything about it.