I had a big smile on my face upon hearing the news of Dave Nonis getting the boot in Vancouver.
Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini fired Nonis on Monday, ending the former general manager's three-year run.
Missing the playoffs twice in three seasons, going from first to worst in the division in back-to-back campaigns, and not being able to solve the offensive woes of the team are just some of the strikes against Nonis.
Yet, just a few months earlier, there was a lot of backlash here on the Bleacher Report, directed toward me, for knocking the Canucks. Anonymous posters came on BR and bashed me for saying negative things about the franchise as well as Nonis.
Well, if Nonis' run in Vancouver wasn't an "epic failure", then why is he out of a job?
Sure, many would pat Nonis on the back for not mortgaging the so-called future to get the likes of Brad Richards to put more pucks in the net. Brilliant. Of course, Vancouver still couldn't score in the final weeks of their 2007-08 choke job.
Yes, many would point to the acquisition of Roberto Luongo, the star goaltender expected to turn the franchise around. And yes, Nonis won that trade, hands down. But what has Nonis done recently?
That Luongo thing is laughable. Sure, keep bringing that up as the reason that Nonis is a great GM.
That's like saying Gord Ash was a genius as Toronto Blue Jays general manager for stealing David Cone from the Kansas City Royals in 1995.
Yes, Cone was the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the American League, and Ash was trying to make a splash replacing the legendary Pat Gillick, who had just retired.
And Ash even added Roger Clemens to the mix a couple years later, but of course, the Gord Ash experiment was a failure in Toronto.
Local boy trying to win a championship for the local team. Didn't happen for Ash with the Blue Jays, and not so for Nonis with the Canucks.
Like Ash, Nonis stuck with deadweight and didn't move them, or decided to hang on to them for sentimental reasons (ie. Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden for the Canucks, much like how Ash stuck with over-the-hill guys like Joe Carter).
Oh, right, Nonis also picked up people like Jan Bulis, Marc Chouinard, and Matt Pettinger. Great contribution out of those characters. Orlando Merced and Carlos Garcia, Ash bashers?
I mean, this is so funny, now that I think about it.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were ridiculed all season long by fans and the media in Vancouver, who simply love poking fun at other Canadian clubs that are struggling. (Funny, the Oilers finished ahead of the Canucks.)
The Leafs' former GM, John Ferguson Jr., was horrible, everyone said. The Leafs missed the playoffs, Vancouverites were celebrating.
And at the end of the season, guess what. It was Nonis getting axed as well. It's the Canucks out of the playoff dance too.
And what's even more remarkable was at least the Leafs made a charge near the end. At least they didn't go down without a fight. The Canucks, arguably the most boring outfit in the National Hockey League, simply folded. The "Northwest Nine," in reference to Vancouver's final nine games of the season versus Northwest Division foes, was a joke; the Canucks lost seven of those games and fittingly finished last.
Difference is, I doubt that those in Toronto even care about the Canucks. Vancouver isn't even on their radar.
But in Vancouver, it will be another offseason of more jabbing at the Leafs (and Oilers, etc.) and making more dumb draft picks.
However, there will always be those who applaud and stick up for David M. Nonis. Yes, he was the one who picked up Luongo. Just like Gord Ash was able to get Cone and Clemens.
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