New Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden said that his "first task is to begin a GM search, both inside and outside the organization," and added that he "hopes to have someone in place by mid-June or even the beginning of that month," according to Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver PROVINCE. He added that "what the GM position looks like is open-ended." Linden: "We’re building a management team that can fill a number of different holes. So if we find somebody we really like, we can fill in the other areas." Linden said that he has "had very little time to come up with a detailed master plan at this point, but he knows there are lots of balls in the air and he needs to be able to catch them all." Jamieson writes Linden "isn't worried about his lack of NHL management experience." Linden said, "My experience comes from playing, no question" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/10). Canucks co-Owner & Chair Francesco Aquilini said, "Trevor will make all of the decisions on hockey-related personnel, coaches, players, free agents. Trevor will in be charge of all hockey operations and make all the decisions." Linden said that he "has been promised full autonomy" (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/10).
PR PLAY? In Vancouver, Iain MacIntyre writes the hiring of Linden, "easily the most loved figure in franchise history, is so wildly popular the Canucks immediately pushed back to next Thursday the deadline for season-ticket renewals." There already has "been a surge in renewals," but the extended deadline gives fans, many who are "waffling at renewing after this dreadful season, eight more days to digest the change." The Canucks have scheduled a 3:00pm ET webcast tomorrow to "allow Linden to answer questions from concerned ticket-holders" (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/10). Also in Vancouver, Ed Willes writes Linden's hiring "reeks of a public-relations ploy, and while he’s [the] right man for the job, that’s almost besides the point." Linden, "predictably, presented well and hit all the right notes in his first appearance," but "make no mistake, the Linden persona was the biggest consideration in this hire." He will "make people feel good about the Canucks" and "say and do the right things." There is a "comfort and confidence factor there between the former captain and hockey fans in this province and, right now, the Canucks desperately need someone to rebuild a relationship which has been fractured this season." But the Canucks also "need someone to rebuild this organization, and Linden will try to do in two or three onths what should take two or three years" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/10). YAHOO SPORTS' Nicholas Cotsonika wrote the Linden hiring is about "sales" and "belief." Cotsonika: "But if you’re a season-ticket holder, are you sold just because general manager Mike Gillis is gone? Do you believe just because Trevor’s here now? Or do you wait and see what the plan actually is before you come back?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/9). The NATIONAL POST's Bruce Arthur writes maybe Linden "is ready for this, and is capable of this," but his hiring is "a decision based on hope, and maybe season tickets" (NATIONAL POST, 4/10).
ENTRY-LEVEL POSITION: Linden said that he is "encouraged by the success" seen by several former players-turned-execs, such as Bruins President Cam Neely, Avalanche Exec VP/Hockey Operations Joe Sakic and Lightning VP & GM Steve Yzerman. However, in Vancouver, Brad Ziemer writes Linden "figures to have a much steeper learning curve than Neely, Sakic and Yzerman," who each had front office roles prior to their current positions (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/10). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Rory Boylen wrote Linden, "with his lack of experience running a head office, recognizes this is not a one-man job." He "recognizes the necessity to not only surround himself with good hockey minds, but independent hockey minds." What the Canucks "don’t need is to start down a predetermined path with a gaggle of Yes Men" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 4/9).