Canucks general manager Mike Gillis addressed reporters Thursday in Vancouver, two days after his team was swept out of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.
After making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, it was Vancouver’s second straight first-round exit.
As a result, Gillis says the organization needs a reset, as occurred five years ago when he was hired.
— If there was one theme from today’s press conference, it’s that Gillis believes the game has changed, and not for the better. Skill, he believes, is out. Dump-and-chase-and-battle-in-the-corners, he believes, is back. Hence, he thinks the Canucks need to “recognize the way the game’s going to be played” and “make the changes and adjustments necessary to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
— Gillis says to expect “a couple of significant changes,” though he wouldn’t say for sure if one of them would be a new coach. Alain Vigneault will be part of an upcoming “thorough review” of every element of the organization.
— Will Roberto Luongo be back with the Canucks next season? “I think it’s unlikely,” said Gillis.
— Gillis thinks the Sedins, 32, can still be major contributors despite their advancing age. However, “We have to support them better…we are going to have to get younger.”
— Gillis called 2013 “the most challenging season in my tenure here, for sure.”
Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.