(No) Push for Richards pushed out Nonis

Darren Dreger
4/16/2008 8:58:06 PM
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Dave Nonis said Wednesday he has no regrets from his tenure as general manager of the Vancouver Canucks and is proud of the fact he didn't give in to pressure to make a deal that may have saved his job.

In Nonis's words, that would have been "cowardly."

Leading up to the NHL trade deadline, it became clear to the former Canucks general manager that he and his boss Francesco Aquilini weren't on the same page.

According to sources, Vancouver's owner was willing to make trades that Nonis believed didn't make sense for the long term stability of the organization.

The fight to land Brad Richards from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26 represents the turning point in the relationship.

The Canucks offered a package that included prospects Luc Bourdon and Cory Schneider along with a first, second and third-round draft pick for Richards.  It's a proposal that Lightning general manager Jay Feaster won't confirm, but admits the team was strongly considering.

However, as talks heated up with Dallas, the Lightning needed more to address immediate needs.

Sources say the Lightning asked the Canucks for talented forward Ryan Kesler and coveted defenceman Alex Edler.

Nonis backed off and said Aquilini supported his decision at the time following a push to get the deal done. Aquilini hasn't responded to TSN's interview requests.

Nonis also said he wouldn't take short cuts to make the playoffs, emphasizing, "I did it the right way."

At least some of his peers agree and commend his work. One manager says the Roberto Luongo trade will go down as one of the most significant deals in league history, while another Western Conference rival GM stated, "without Luongo, the Vancouver Canucks would have been forced to live with being bottom feeders for years."

Both men also supported Nonis's assertion that the team's foundation of superstar goaltending, a highly regarded blueline, a quality stable of prospects and cap space is a winning one.

Darren Dreger

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