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Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis changes assistant coaches, discusses Willie Mitchell

Mike Gillis

Vancouver Canucks’ general manager Mike Gillis listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Thursday, May 14, 2009. The Canucks have nine unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents. Goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenseman Willie Mitchell and forward Ryan Kesler are all entering the final year of their NHL hockey contracts. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Darryl Dyck)


A few bits about the Vancouver Canucks today:

Ryan Walter is out as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.

“The decision was mine,” Mike Gillis, the Canucks’ president and general manager, said Tuesday. “I will leave it at that.”

In Walter’s place the Canucks have hired Newell Brown to the NHL team’s coaching staff.

Associate coach Rick Bowness and Darryl Williams, the assistant coach in charge of video, have also been re-signed.

Brown, 48, joins the Canucks after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks. He has also worked as an assistant coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks over a 13-year NHL coaching career.

  • Willie Mitchell’s free agent status is gaining some attention in the last week. Yesterday, I discussed his improving health while Guts McTavish points out that Gillis stated that “he fully intends to talk to Willie Mitchell about his future with the team” and that the cap won’t be an issue on the radio today. While I find it difficult to believe that the cap won’t be an issue, this has to be music to the ears of Canucks fans. We’ll see if that’s just good PR on Gillis’s part or if there’s some credence to his comments.