This game was critical for the Vancouver Canucks. There was a lot of pre-game discussion regarding the coaching swap that occurred between these two teams.
And in the end it was former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault who came away with the victory last night. This was largely because of the superb goaltending skills of Henrik Lundquist.
Lundquist had 34 saves on the night, stunning the crowd with several acrobatic saves. Martin St. Louis sealed the victory scoring his first goal as a New York Ranger. This loss has all but eliminated any chance of the Vancouver Canucks making the playoffs this season.
This wasn’t a terrible game for the Canucks by any means. They had plenty chances, but just couldn’t beat Lundquist. So since the Canucks look to be heading into an early off season, the next question is simple. Who’s to blame for this disastrous season? I believe GM Mike Gillis is responsible for this disappointing season.
There are several reasons as to why he has to take the blame. First, his roster moves over the past few seasons have not benefited the team very much at all in my opinion.
This can go back as far as the Cody Hodgson trade to Buffalo. Kassian is a good player, but I think Hodgson would've been a better player to try and keep. Also, I believe Gillis should’ve done more to keep Maxim Lapierre and Derek Roy. Because let’s face it Derek Roy would be a pretty good fit on the top line right now in the absence of Henrik Sedin.
And then there are the recent goaltender trades to consider. Schneider was traded for Bo Horvat and Luongo was traded for Jacob Markstrom. Well Bo Horvat has not played for the Canucks first team very much at all, so that’s not benefiting the team. And the Luongo trade was basically a statement that Gillis was already in off season mode. Jacob Markstrom has shown potential and will certainly be an asset in the future. But it’ll take at least a couple more years for him to become the goalie the Canucks can depend on to steal some wins.
Overall, these decisions by GM Mike Gillis are the reason the Canucks are heading into an early end to the season. Some people may say it’s because of head coach John Tortorella’s style of play. But ultimately Mike Gillis is the one that brought him in as well. I do hope the Canucks give John Tortorella another chance. After all, this is only his first season and Gillis certainly has not given him much to work with. I believe if Mike Gillis is still the GM of the Vancouver Canucks next season, it’ll be a long time before the Canucks make the playoffs again.
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