Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis says team never the same after emotional win in Boston over Bruins
‘I didn't think we executed as well or played as well from that point for the remainder of the season,’ general manager says in season-ending address
Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis faces the media at Rogers Arena on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, discussing what went wrong with his team in a first-round playoff exit against the L.A. Kings.
Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG
VANCOUVER — Mike Gillis thinks his team peaked about three months early.
In his season-end post-mortem today at Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Canucks general manager said he didn't think his team was ever the same after its emotional 4-3 win over the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Jan. 7
"I really felt the game in Boston for some reason was such an emotional and challenging game, it was almost like playing a Stanley Cup final game in the middle of the season and from that point on I don't think our team ever really collectively got their emotions together," Gillis said.
"We had some injuries that disaffected us and we just didn't seem to play consistently as well from that point. There were certain points where our goaltending was so good it got us through. As a group I didn't think we executed as well or played as well from that point for the remainder of the season."
Gillis indicated he had concerns about the team even as it closed the regular season by winning eight of its last nine games.
"Heading into the playoffs we won a lot of games at the end that I thought our team was somewhat indifferent in and met a team in the playoffs that was very well coached," he said. "They played hard, they won some games that could have gone either way and suddenly you are down 3-0 in a series and it's very difficult to climb your way out of it."
The Canucks were knocked out of the first round by the Los Angeles Kings, who won the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series in five games.
Gillis appeared alone at today's news conference, without head coach Alain Vigneault.
But Gillis indicated he fully supported Vigneault, who like Gillis has one more year remaining on his contract.
Gillis said he will meet with ownership in the next few days and everyone's future will be discussed.
"My future will be discussed first," he said. "I am the president of this team and the general manager, it is my responsibility what happens on this team. So before we get to anybody else we are going to discuss my role and how I have done.
"Then we will move onto every element of the organization like we do every year. It's not going to change, everyone will be evaluated on what they have done, how they have performed and we'll make decisions after that."
Gillis acknowledged that the play of Cory Schneider has changed the goaltending "landscape," but did not rule out having both Schneider and Roberto Luongo back next season.
He also defended the trade-deadline deal that sent Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for winger Zack Kassian and defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani.
"There clearly were issues that were ongoing," Gillis said of Hodgson. "I spent more time on Cody's issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years.
"We made a determination that he didn't want to be here, we built him into something we could move. There were six young players that I would have traded him for if any of them were ever made available. One was made available at the trade deadline and it was Zack."
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