Nonis canned

When the Canucks failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three years, many hockey pundits and even more Canucks fans anticipated a change in personnel.

Less anticipated, perhaps, was that GM Dave Nonis would be the first to go. With few details available yet, it has been confirmed by TSN that Nonis has been fired.

I suppose the move makes a modicum of sense. After all, Nonis has been GM for the aforementioned three seasons. One playoff appearance in three years for a team that routinely spends at or near the salary cap is unacceptable. Moreover, Nonis must shoulder a large portion of the responsibility for not addressing this team’s painfully obvious shortcomings (i.e. a lack of offensive talent / scoring ability).

That said, it is important to remember that Nonis made arguably the best trade in Canucks history: acquiring Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld. Also, it is worth pointing out that the 2005-2006 team, which missed the playoffs, was for all intents and purposes his predecessor Brian Burke’s team. Finally, a case could be made that Nonis lacked sufficient financial maneuverability to acquire the offensive talent this team needed due to his being saddled (or saddling himself) with Markus Naslund’s six million dollar cap hit (at the time it seemed like a much better move).

Still, at the end of the day, the inescapable fact is that this team took a considerable step backwards this year. That should not have happened.

The Aquilini ownership, who, let’s be clear, did not hire Nonis in the first place, have determined that accountability for this starts with Nonis.

I say, who can blame them?

6 Responses to “Nonis canned”

  1. 1 H April 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm


    Things have been super busy, have not had time to digest the Canucks missing the playoffs, nevermind this! But this news is shocking!

    I have a terrible feeling that having a Canuck fan buying the Canucks means a stupid move is in the works. A return to the good times, a return to sucess, a return to cigars, a return…. to Pat Quinn.

    Dear god, I thought it was bad this year.

  2. 2 RJ April 15, 2008 at 8:53 am


    If Pat Quinn returns, I’ll eat my hat. That would be the most disasterous decision since drafting Jason Herter.

    I figure there are, effectively, only two people likely to get this job: Steve Tambellini and Brian Burke.

    Pros of ST:
    – He has paid his dues, apprenticing under both Burke, Nonis, and with Hockey Canada during major international tournaments;
    – He is highly sought after in the league and will be gone if we do not hire him; and,
    – He will be able to hit the ground running, as it were, because of his familiarity with current personnel (on and off-ice), operating culture within the club and ownership.

    Cons of ST:
    – He has never been a GM in the NHL;
    – His inexperience could hurt him in his efforts to acquire/upgrade personnel (i.e. he is not plugged into the ‘old boys club’ among NHL executives); and,
    – He has been part of a management team that over the past ten years has failed to get this team beyond the second round.

    Pros of BB:
    – He is a proven winner, presiding over the Ducks’ Stanely Cup championship in 2007;
    – He has a track record of building teams that are enjoyable to watch;
    – He is a well-established figure among NHL executives;
    – He will fire Alain Vigneault;
    – He (or his wife) will resume terrorizing the insufferable David Pratt; and,
    – His ‘I won’t trade with Edmonton’ policy is largely mollified in Vancouver because we don’t trade with them anyway.

    Cons of BB:
    – His Stanley Cup success in Anaheim was never achieved in Vancouver, despite a long tenure;
    – He likes Todd Penaltuzzi; and,
    – He is going to be offered everything under the sun to take the job in Toronto, meaning the Canucks will have to match or near-match to entice him.

  3. 3 Emmett April 15, 2008 at 10:48 am

    My comment on your post re: the Canucks’ future said to do this… so, there.

    Now they should hire Kevin Lowe! (just kidding).

  4. 4 Simon Kiss April 15, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Emmett, read my blog today for my riposte to your dig. I won’t turn this blog into an Oilers blog.

  5. 5 RJ April 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Some speculation last night on HNIC and making the rounds on some Canucks blogs that the Canucks just might try to pry Ken Holland out of Detroit. Now THAT would excite me, for one.

    Unfortunately, I think it is merely a pipe dream. The only explanation for Aquilini tying the can to Nonis now is that he has a replacement already lined up (presuming, of course, Nonis didn’t punch him in the face or something). That means the likes of Holland and Burke are probably unlikely, as their team’s are still in the playoffs (tampering, anyone?).

    I have an irrepressible feeling that Tambellini is going to get the gig.

    My suspicion is that Aquilini didn’t like what he had to hear from Nonis in terms of his strategic plan to address this year’s failure, asked Tambellini what he would do, and preferred the latter.

    We’ll see in the next few days. Notwithstanding what I say above, if Tambellini is not hired by the end of the week, I suspect he is out of the running, too.

  6. 6 Emmett April 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    They should hire John Ferguson Jr.!

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