Please Advise! Benched Canucks GM Starts the Job Hunt

Spinmeister Steve helps Mike Gillis set new goals.

By Steve Burgess 9 Apr 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

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Mike Gillis: If there's one area where his resume is strong, it's drama.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

I am stunned. I am shocked. When I accepted the position of Vancouver Canucks general manager, it never occurred to me that one day I would be fired. Wasn't I named GM of the Year after the 2011 season?

What should I do now?

Mike Gillis

Dear Mike,

Sorry about your recent gassing. But look on the bright side. There is so much you can do with all your newly-acquired free time. Write a book. Learn a new language. Figure out how to get fair trade value for a top-of-the-line goaltender. You never know what kind of skills could come in handy some day.

Or you could spend all day on the couch in your bathrobe watching TV. Some great shows on right now. Game of Thrones is back on HBO. It's pretty violent though -- lots of heads rolling. The difference is that on Game of Thrones, the beheadings tend to come as a surprise. In your case, the mob was baying for your head by the end of the Canucks-Anaheim game Monday night. In fact, the Canucks have set a very dangerous precedent here. One day after the fans started chanting "Fire Gillis," you were gone. Next game the fans will be chanting "Free beer," and this time they'll expect to get it.

What Canucks fans really wanted was to make the firing retroactive to last year. The old stoner discussion "What if you could go back in time and kill the young Hitler?" has been replaced in Vancouver by "What if you could go back in time and not trade Corey Schneider?" (A few dudes might go on to ponder, "What if you could go back in time and teach young David Booth to shoot at the net?")

Folks got angry. You've taken a lot of grief over the magic trick by which two of the best goalies in the game were transformed -- hey presto! -- into prospect centre Bo Horvat and game journeyman Shaun Matthias. Kind of like how the 2010/2011 GM of the Year is transformed into Couch-Surfer Mike in a few short seasons.

But you have my sympathies, Mike. These things are rarely fair. Your recent Luongo trade was actually pretty decent, considering the lack of options and Luongo's massive contract that managed to turn the team's most valuable asset into the market equivalent of a 1997 Dodge Caravan with some front-end damage and a busted transmission. Who came up with that damn contract, anyway?

Oh. Right. Maybe I'll just take back some of my sympathy. Anyway, I've always thought the Schneider trade was the real issue. Bo Horvat may well turn out to be a fine player, but you needed more, particularly in view of the awkwardness it would create. Your 2013 draft day bombshell turned out to be a suicide vest.

The Aquilinis have scheduled a press conference today, possibly to announce your replacement. The rumour mill has been suggesting Trevor Linden, who would be a popular choice. I don't know, though. Captain Canuck may be the symbol of the team, but you don't see Ronald McDonald getting tapped as CEO of McDonald's.

But I digress, Mike -- you asked a question. You wanted to know what to do with yourself now. I have a couple of ideas. One: TV production. You could be a show runner. In recent years the Canucks have been more interesting as a soap opera than a hockey team -- management could have saved a lot of money by skipping the games entirely (except for the intermissions when the coach charges the other team's dressing room). If there's one area where your resume is strong, it's drama.

And if that doesn't work out, why not angle for a job as GM of the New Jersey Devils? They have a very promising young goaltender. And they owe you a favour.  [Tyee]

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