VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Vancouver Canucks hired agent and former NHL player Mike Gillis as general manager on Wednesday.
Gillis replaces Dave Nonis, who was fired April 14 after the Canucks missed the playoffs one season after winning the Northwest Division.
Vancouver finished the season with a 39-33-10 record, three points out of eighth place in the Western Conference. The 49-year-old Gillis, who signed a five-year deal, will decide whether to keep coach Alain Vigneault.
The Canucks have leading goaltender Roberto Luongo, but need more talent around him to contend for a Stanley Cup, Gillis said. “I think this team needs to get faster, I think it needs more grit, I think it needs to be more competitive. They have a solid defense, solid goaltending, but there are a number of areas that need to be addressed.”
DUCKS: Attempting to quiet speculation that general manager Brian Burke might leave Anaheim for Toronto, the Ducks announced that he will remain with the team at least through next season and will continue to negotiate a contract extension.
“I work for the best owners in sports,” Burke said. “After meeting with Mike (Ducks CEO Michael Schulman) this morning, we’ve decided to end all unnecessary media speculation and commit to working together for at least one more year while continuing to discuss my long-term future with the Ducks.”
CAPITALS: Coach Bruce Boudreau has been given a contract to stay with Washington, a reward for leading the team from last in the NHL to a Southeast Division title.
Capitals general manager George McPhee said: “He’s our coach. He’s under contract … for a long time.”
McPhee says it’s his policy not to discuss details of contracts.
CALDER TROPHY: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom were chosen as finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie.
Kane, the first pick in the 2007 draft, and Toews, the third pick the year before, are teammates on the Chicago Blackhawks. Backstrom plays for the Washington Capitals, who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia in seven games.
The winner will be announced on June 12 on the NHL’s awards program.
NBC: NHL games will continue to air on NBC next season.
The network decided to exercise its option to extend the contract, it announced.
“There have been positive signs for the league, both on and off the ice,” Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports &Olympics, said in a statement. “Ratings were up this year; the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a huge success; advertising sales were healthy; and the product on the ice has never been better, led by young, marketable stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. We believe this is a sport that will continue to grow.”
Ratings for the regular-season Sunday games on NBC were up 11 percent from last year.