Willes: An outside-the-box look at prospective Canucks coaches
Who can fill the sandals left by Alain Vigneault? Ed Willes has a few suggestions
Ed Willes writes (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) that yoga practitioner Deepak Chopra could fit right into the Canucks’ organization as an outside-the-box candidate as coach. Chopra would get the Canucks feeling very good about themselves and, right now, that’s something they need. He has his weaknesses though: Chopra might succeed in taking the Canucks to another plane of existence, one where hockey isn’t played.
Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, PNG
Mike Gillis said many things on Wednesday which gave one pause, but, for Canucks’ fans, one of the most important concerned the timeline for identifying and hiring a new coach.
It seems there isn’t one. It seems Gillis is going to take his time with this hire.
“I imagine it will be patient and thorough and we’ll consider every possible contingency we need to consider,” Gillis said in describing the process he intends to use.
“I don’t have a time frame. We’re focused on getting the right person, moving ahead and executing a plan we have that will get us back to the level we expect.”
OK, not a big surprise there. If we’ve learned anything about Gillis over the last five years, it’s that he doesn’t rush into big decisions. Sometimes his patience has paid dividends. Sometimes — see Roberto Luongo — it hasn’t. But Gillis will do this on his own terms, in his own time, which is an interesting approach given the current state of the Canucks and the offseason work that is planned.
The NHL draft, just so you know, is just over a month away. There are currently two other teams looking for a head coach and it figures more will follow. If Gillis doesn’t feel a sense of urgency over this decision, perhaps he should.
Still, the more pertinent question is what the new coach will look like when the hire is made. Gillis, of course, is an outside-the-box thinker who might look in some non-traditional areas for the new coach, someone who doesn’t register as an obvious choice, but someone who will grab the attention of this market.
So, who might that someone be? What might that someone offer over an experienced hockey man? Sure, Dave Tippett or Lindy Ruff might be the more orthodox choice, but it seems the Canucks have to make a bigger splash with this move and bring in someone who’ll shake things up.
We’ve given this matter some thought, and here’s a list of candidates Gillis may or may not be considering. And look at the bright side: He wouldn’t have to worry about losing any of them to another NHL team.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Strengths: Proven track record as manager at Manchester United; one of the greatest coaching minds of the past 20 years.
Weaknesses: Salary demands for a member of the British peerage might be out of the Canucks’ range; incomprehensible Scottish accent might not play well in this market.
Strengths: Similar to Ferguson, a winner every place he’s been and a much nattier dresser.
Weaknesses: Technically, has never seen a hockey game; might have trouble getting the 4-4-2 formation past officials.
Strengths: As one of the leading practitioners of new-age medicine, he’d fit right into the Canucks’ organization. Would also get the Canucks feeling very good about themselves and, right now, that’s something they need.
Weaknesses: Chopra might succeed in taking the Canucks to another plane of existence, one where hockey isn’t played.
Strengths: Admittedly a long-shot but Harper’s political future isn’t exactly secure these days and he does have experience running a large organization.
Weaknesses: Not good with the media. Would only draft right-wingers.
Chef Rob Feenie
Strengths: Don’t know how much he knows about hockey but would be a massive upgrade in the area of nutrition. I mean, have you tasted his butternut squash ravioli?
Weaknesses: Might cook with too much butter.
Strengths: As one of Hollywood’s most in-demand directors (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge), has a big-picture grasp of an organization and gets total buy-in from every member of his team.
Weaknesses: Canucks would have style but they might not have substance. Still, you’d love to see what he’d do with their uniforms.
Strengths: As one of the co-founders of Facebook, seems to be in tune with the computer age and what sells to kids these days.
Weaknesses: Probably doesn’t need the money.
Strengths: The Canucks would love to hire the NHL’s first woman coach and Clark has an intriguing resume.
Weaknesses: Against all odds, she has a job these days.
Strengths: One of the leaders of the analytics movement in sports, shares many of Gillis’s philosophies.
Weaknesses: On-base percentage not terribly relevant in hockey. Brad Pitt is also an option here. You have to admit, he’d get the fans back.
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