Opinion

Hodge: NHL trade talks disaster for Canucks

Next to watching the Super Bowl game for the sake of the commercials, the National Hockey League trade deadline day(long) coverage on the television is probably the most watched non-game sports event of the year.

This year, it might be argued that considering what a one-sided romp the last Super Bowl game  was, it was as much a non-event as was the Seattle/Denver NFL championship game.

But as always, however, I digress.

As a hockey nut from Western Canada, this year’s NHL trade deadline was sadly akin to the past couple of years, which is a polite way to say it was a disaster for Vancouver Canuck fans.

If you had not already jumped off the team’s bandwagon when the club hired the rude and rowdy John Tortorella as coach at the start of the season, surely you are leaping off now with the latest stupidity displayed by the team’s top gurus.

Canuck management’s lack of class and foresight leads one to ponder a key question.

What kind of meds is Canuck general manager  Mike Gillis on? Are they legal prescription or black market because they obviously cause brain damage. Either Gillis is a complete hockey moron who needs to be fired yesterday, or he is simply a weak puppet who jumps to the demands of the meddling owners—determined for some reason to tank the franchise. Which is it?

At the beginning of last season,Vancouver had a goaltending dilemma involving the fact they had two outstanding goalies who both deserved to be starters. Nice problem to have perhaps, but still a problem.

An insane long-term contract made trading Roberto Luongo difficult, while Cory Schneider showed tremendous promise and had a long future ahead of him.

All last season the debate raged over who should stay and the controversy distracted everyone on the club.

Just prior to the start of the year (on draft day), Gillis shockingly traded Schneider to New Jersey for a draft pick, which turned out to be first round prospect Bo Horvath.

Two days ago, Gillis traded Luongo to Florida for third or fourth line forward Shawn Matthias and young (but so far very unimpressive) puckstopper Jacob Markstrom.

The return value for the combination of Luongo and Schneider is really the equivalent of a bucket of pucks and a smelly goalie glove.

Canuck fans are in shock, as are the NHL broadcasters and supposed hockey pundits over the Canuck’s moves and lack of moves on trade deadline day.

Only the incompetence and stupidity of New York Islander’s GM Garth Snow managed to upstage Gillis in head-scratching decision making?

Which leads back to my question of exactly who is actually performing the slow slaughter of the Canucks—Gillis or the owners?

No logical hockey person can make the repeated blunders that Gillis has and keep their job.

While I am only warm on Luongo, it is embarrassing how disgusting the Canucks’ treatment of him has been of late.

Certainly, while many of the Vancouver media lack class and treat players brutally, management has recently lowered that bar of professionalism to dirt level.

The latest insanity with Luongo is simply the tip of the team-sinking iceberg. Gillis has a long history of either bad trades or bad no trades.

Let’s take a quick look at his abysmal record of decisions—trades, drafts, free agent signings, etc.

Since his arrival Gillis has traded away or lost Schneider, Luongo, very talented and young players Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner, two first round draft-picks and several other solid players.

The return factor is pathetic: Zach Kassian, Jason Garrison (good), Derek Roy (now gone), Keith Ballard (gone) Victor Oreskovich (who?), Yann Sauve, Prab Rai, Mats Froshaug, Morgan Clark, Kyle Wellwood, Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson, Curtis Sandford, Pavol Demitra, Rob Davison, Mats Sundin (only played half a season with Vancouver making $8.6 million in the process), Jordan Schroeder, Anton Rodin, Kevin Connauton, Jeremy Price, Peter Andersson, (if you recognize any of these let me know), Joe Cannata, Steven Anthony, Mathieu Schneider, Guillaume Desbiens, Andrew Raycroft, Mikael Samuelsson (ah, a keeper), Tanner Glass, Aaron Rome, Patrick McNally, Adam Polasek, Alex Friesen, Jonathan Iilahti, Dan Hamhuis (another keeper), Nicklas Jensen, David Honzik, Alexandre Grenier, Joseph Labate, Ludwig Blomstrand, Frank Corrado, Pathrik Westerholm, Henrik Tommernes, Andrew Ebbett, Dale Weise, Byron Bitz, Steve Pinizzotto, Mark Mancari, Alexander Sulzer, Brendan Gaunce, Alexandre Mallet, Ben Hutton,Wesley Myron, Matthew Beattie, Cam Barker, Derek Joslin, Jim Vandermeer…the list of unknowns goes on and on.

Regardless of who is actually running the Canuck ship—it is clearly floundering and I for one am abandoning ship.

Hopefully the captain will sink with the boat.

 

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