FANS HAVE SPOKEN: 77% OF YOU SAY THE SEASON IS OVER
Province poll shows more than three-quarters of fans have given up on the season 89 per cent don’t expect the team to make the playoffs
Most Vancouver Canucks fans have already closed the door on the 2013-14 season.
An online survey of 900 fans found that 89 per cent don’t expect the NHL team to make the playoffs, and 77 per cent say they’ve given up on the season.
The team has had an abundance of injuries, particularly at centre, where captain Henrik Sedin was out for a crucial stretch, Ryan Kesler is out until further notice, and Mike Santorelli is lost for the season.
The Province survey respondents pinpointed the No. 1 problem as general manager Mike Gillis, whose talent-thin team is susceptible to crucial injuries to its aging core of veterans.
Two out of three fans want Gillis gone, and 33 per cent say he’s the team’s biggest problem, followed by the disappointing season of Alex Burrows — the former top scorer who was injured early and is still looking for his first goal of the season.
Even business experts are divided on what approach is needed to revive the struggling Canucks brand.
SFU’s Lindsay Meredith believes in forking over some money for a megastar or two.
“You’d have to fork over some money and get some big names,” said Meredith, a professor in marketing strategy.
“The easy cure is, ‘Buy Sidney Crosby,’ but that’s not going to happen.”
Meredith watched Vancouver’s 1-0 victory Wednesday over St. Louis with dismay: “There were a lot of empty seats — that would have been unthinkable three years ago.”
UBC’s James Brander believes patient building with promising youngsters is a better long-term revitalization strategy.
“If you trade Ryan Kesler, you could probably get two players who are going to be very good in two or three years,” said Brander, an economics professor in UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
“They do have some good young players in the system.”
Brander said the Canucks have to be smarter about engaging the public while the team struggles.
“I think Mike Gillis is hurting the team,” said Brander.
“He’s surly with the media, and he doesn’t seem very concerned about the fans.”
Meredith and Brander agreed on one thing — quick fix or patient rebuild, the team must win.
Said Brander: “The key thing is to get better on-ice performance.”