Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/6/14
As the hockey gods love folly like the rest of us or perhaps were newspaper reporters before achieving godliness — don’t laugh, it could happen — the Vancouver Canucks’ year-end team photo was scheduled for Friday morning. The day after Mike Gillis’s scorching indictment on radio of the style of team the Canucks have become, the general manager sat in the front row very near head coach John Tortorella, who may still have had his boss’s bootprints on his back but was facing forward to the camera. Between them, like neutral Switzerland, sat assistant general manager Laurence Gilman. Smile everyone. It may be a while before Gillis and Tortorella are that close again, although they did chat briefly after the photo shoot and before the Canucks practised, nine more sleeps until the end of their failed National Hockey League season. The NHL is not investigating Gillis’s apparent hit-from-behind on Tortorella, but everybody else seems to be. It is understandable Gillis is upset at what has become of the Canucks and demanding a return to attractive, uptempo, puck-possession hockey. But it’s unfathomable he made his ultimatum publicly, with still five games to go this season and Tortorella under contract for another four years and $8 million. And even if, as Gillis privately asserted Friday, his comments were not intended as an attack or judgment on his coach, it’s impossible not to see in them the grim implications for Tortorella. “I’m tired of chasing a moving target,” Gillis told TEAM 1040 radio about the Canucks’ style. “We’re going to get back to the fundamentals and the principles that I believe in, and that’s how we’re going to play. If people don’t want to comply ... we did this six years ago — we made hard choices. And those hard choices are going to come again if we don’t see people get on the same page.” If there’s grey area in that quote, it must be the newsprint.
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