Mike Gillis

Gillis: Vigneault fired because results weren’t there


“When I took the job five years ago, the assumption was that Alain was going to be fired,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said.

They found a way to make it work then, but no longer.

So why did Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis decide to fire coach Alain Vigneault this time “after a thorough review?”

Simple: The results weren’t there.

The Vancouver Canucks have been terrific in the regular season, but they have only won a single postseason game over the last two years.

“The fact remains that we didn’t win the games we had to win in order to be successful,” Gillis said in a press conference today. “The message has to change and we have to be better.”

One area Gillis didn’t seem to appreciate questions about was the subject of Vigneault’s potential replacements.

“I know some people out there think this was a simple, easy decision to make — it’s not,” Gillis said. He intends to take his time before making a selection.

When pressed further, he got a bit more combative.

“Actually, I was gonna pull someone out of this room and hire them, offer them the job right now,” he remarked, according to the Vancouver Sun’s Harrison Mooney.

Regardless of who Gillis picks as the team’s next bench boss, that likely won’t be the only change that’s made this summer. As far as he’s concerned, everyone in the organization played a role in the Canucks recent shortcomings and “everyone will be addressed.”

“The NHL is changing and evolving rapidly,” Gillis added, which is consistent with the sentiment he expressed during his end of season press conference.

All the same, Gillis doesn’t think firing Vigneault will make him any more of a target. As far as he’s concerned, the pressure he’s been under has already been incredibly high for years.


Official: Canucks fire head coach Vigneault, assistants Bowness and Brown

Here’s an (updated) list of available NHL coaching candidates

PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head


Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals


If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson


It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.