Yesterday, the owner of the Vancouver Canucks Francesco Aquilini shut down reports that he had contacted former GM Mike Gillis about returning to the team.
When Mike Gillis was fired as the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks in 2014, it was a rather ugly departure. Fans inside Rogers Arena filled the arena with deafening “Fire Gillis” chants that not even the 143-decibel goal horn at the arena could drown out.
On top of that, fans gathered outside Rogers Arena with “Fire Gillis” signs and were handing out T-shirts with the same message and graphic of the former GM with smoke coming out of his ears and flames beneath his head. Gillis has not worked in the NHL since he was fired.
It is his ability to lock up a solid core and add the necessary pieces that brought the Canucks within one game of finally hoisting the Stanley Cup that has many fans hoping ownership tries to bring Gillis back in a Presidential role. Then reports began breaking out that Gillis had, in fact, been contacted by the Canucks to return to the team.
Ed Willes reported on the White Towel Podcast that the Canucks had indeed reached out to Gillis. While some fans still resent Gillis for leaving the Canucks with a near-empty prospect pipeline, others think Gillis doing so was necessary in order to build the dominant Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams of 2011 and 2012. It’s too bad those teams were unable to hoist the cup.
Then Irfaan Gaffar said on Sportsnet 650’s “The Playbook” that the Canucks had reached out to Gillis, but that it wasn’t necessarily with a job offer, but that the team definitely tried to gauge his interest in a return. That’s why it was peculiar to see once again, Aquilini take to Twitter to tweet the following:
At least he didn’t say that he had never spoken to him in his life, I guess? For those that don’t know, just last week, Aquilini tweeted this gem:
Again, there were numerous reports that Aquilini had spoken to Lombardi, and one report even said that Lombardi asked the Canucks to stop calling him. So it’s quickly becoming a game of Balderdash, trying to figure out who’s telling the truth in the situation.
One interesting thing that I’d like to draw to light is that when Trevor Linden was fired last Summer, Aquilini himself said that the Canucks intended on eventually finding a new President “in due course” but had informed GM Jim Benning that he would be in charge of the hockey department in the meantime. Is now considered “in due course”?
We will have to wait and see if the Canucks do in fact decide to pursue a President, but for now, we can assume that the new President won’t be Lombardi or Gillis. Maybe next week we’ll see a tweet shutting down the Ken Holland rumours?