A lot of dirty laundry gets aired when an unpopular player gets traded or a disliked team executive gets fired.
Right now, it’s Mike Gillis’ turn.
James Duthie told a story Wednesday on TSN Radio about an evening out with Gillis during the 2011 Stanley Cup final and how over-confident the former Vancouver Canucks general manager was after his team had gone up 2-0 in the series.
Vancouver, of course, would go on to lose the series in seven games.
I think the arrogance is a real issue. I think that (Mike Gillis) did a good job. Dave Nonis put together most of that team, but the tweaks that (Gillis) made on the run to the Cup final I think were really good. But I think the moves he made over the last couple years were lousy, and he would never admit to it.
A quick story. At the Cup final, Vancouver wins the first two games in Vancouver. We go to Boston. We have our crew meal at this Italian restaurant in Boston. So everybody. There’s like 30 people there. The cameramen, everybody.
Gillis and Aquilini happen to come into the same restaurant and they pop into the back room with us. Aquilini barely said a word. He was really nice. He bought several $500 bottles of wine. He bought a $2000 bottle of tequila that was spread around our crew. He sat there, and Mike Gillis basically sat there and talked about how he built a champion.
I sat there listening to him, and they were very nice, but Mike Gillis talked like he had already won the Stanley Cup. I walked out of there going, ‘Man, if they lose this.’ He really thinks they’ve won the Stanley Cup. And Aquilini, the way he’s throwing around the booze – again, really nice guy, thank you, I appreciated the $400 shot of tequila or whatever it was – but they were acting like champions already.
I think that that kind of arrogance gets you in trouble. When you don’t think you’re ever wrong about anything. The fans aren’t stupid and that can bother people after a while. That doesn’t matter if you win. That’s fine. But if you start losing, then that can be the thing that really pushes people over the edge and you get those ‘Fire Gillis’ chants.
I go back to Kenny Holland or even Dave Nonis. They don’t get too high when they’re up, they don’t get too low. They’re likeable guys and that’s not going to save your job when you’re sucking, but it might give you the benefit of the doubt. Whereas, I think the way Mike handled the media, a bunch of people out there. I don’t know. He was a frustrating guy to deal with.
As Duthie alluded to, that sort of behaviour is what turns people — fans and media alike — off to a person.
Thus, stories like this come out. Right or wrong.