Less than three years after being one game away from winning the Stanley Cup, the Vancouver Canucks are in full meltdown mode.
Before the team was eliminated from NHL post-season contention Monday night for the first time in six seasons, media-shy owner Francesco Aquilini was not pleased with a story in the Globe and Mail reporting his family's involvement in the hiring of John Tortorella, a defensive-minded head coach on a team that prefers to play free-wheeling, offensive hockey.
Aquilini didn't mince words, threatening legal action in a private message to the reporter.
"I read your article today. You are a prick," the message said, according to the Globe.
Two hours later, the reporter received a legal letter via email from lawyer Howard Shapray from a Vancouver-based law firm.
"The facts are that while the Aquilinis supported the decision of the general manager, the hiring decision was his and not theirs," the letter said.
Later that night, the Canucks played a lacklustre game, a 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks that eliminated them from the playoffs.
General manager and president Mike Gillis was fired the next day.