Vancouver’s Mike Gillis met with reporters at the GM meetings in Boca Raton on Wednesday, and was decidedly tight-lipped about the future of embattled head coach John Tortorella.
“I am not going to comment on specific things about John,” Gillis said, when asked if Tortorella had lost the dressing room (per CBC). “It is unfair to him.”
The most telling part of Gillis’ scrum is that “no comment” really meant “no comment.” The Canucks GM was mum on both sides of the Tororella discussion — he refused to acknowledge rumors of a pending dismissal, but also refused to give the coach a vote of confidence.
When specifically asked about future of the coaching staff, Gillis said he didn’t want to comment, hence no vote of confidence for Torts.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) March 12, 2014
Gillis won’t comment on whether or not he believes Tortorella has lost the room.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 12, 2014
Mike Gillis wont discuss rumours of potential change in Vancouver. “Lends credibility to it if I comment.”
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 12, 2014
Gillis did call the Canucks a team “in transition” and said there was plenty of blame to go around for the disappointing season. Gillis also suggested, curiously enough, that he still has the support of the Aquilini ownership group, which is important given there’s as much uncertainty surrounding Gillis’ future as GM as there is with Tortorella’s future as head coach.
Yesterday, The Province’s Jason Botchford wrote that ‘it’s obvious Tortorella can’t come back next year,” even suggesting Torts would be turfed prior to tonight’s game in Winnipeg.
Who exactly pushed for Tortorella’s hiring has always been a big question in Vancouver. If it truly was Gillis, it was an odd choice for a general manager who had always prided himself on a progressive hockey philosophy. Tortorella is more of an old-school coach, which is why many believe it was Canucks ownership that wanted him, not Gillis.
We wondered last week if Tortorella’s system was a major part of the problem in Vancouver, and certainly nothing we’ve seen since has made us stop wondering.