If you were hoping for a concrete answer from Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini as to why he fired the team's general manager, it didn't come Tuesday morning.

Simply put, Dave Nonis was fired because the National Hockey League Franchise needed a change in leadership, Aquilini told reporters gathered at GM Place.

"You can't attribute what happened to one specific thing," Aquilini said. "We looked at the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of this team. I think our fans deserve better.

"We felt a change in direction of this team and the leadership was necessary," he said.

The buzzword for Aquilini this morning was leadership, and the search is on now to replace Nonis, who was fired on Monday evening -- just a week after the Canucks didn't make the NHL playoffs.

"We've begun our search...and you know we're going to look at everybody," said Aquilini.

"The timeline is as soon as possible," added Chris Zimmerman, the Canucks' President and Chief Executive Officer.

There's no shortage of opinion about who should occupy the General Manager's box come next season.

Several names are being bandied about, from Steve Tambellini, Vancouver's current assistant general manager, Mike Gillis, a former player and current player agent, Doug Armstrong, the former Dallas Stars general manager, and Jim Nill, the assistant General Manager and vice-president with the Detroit Red Wings.

Brian Burke, who the Canucks fired in 2004, has also been mentioned. But sources told The Canadian Press that Burke, who is now the general manager of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, is not interested in returning to Vancouver.

An unlikely pick - though a fan favourite - would be Trevor Linden.

"I think Linden -- at least as assistant GM to help the team," said one man to CTV.

"I think this is a really really open competition," said Matthew Sekeres, a sports writer for the Globe and Mail. "One, because the Aquilinis haven't been in the NHL that long, so you've got to think they'd be willing to look at all comers.

"Secondly, because there's not a tried-and-true hockey person who's going to be running this process," he said.

Aquilini said he has begun a hiring process now, but isn't forthcoming with names.

"I'm not going to talk about who we're speaking to or who we could speak to," he said.

During Nonis' three seasons at the helm of the Canucks, the Canucks made it to the playoffs only once. During his term, Vancouver had a 130-91-25 record.

But the 2006-2007 season saw the Canucks set a team record with 49 wins and 105 points to finish first in the Northwest Division.

With files from The Canadian Press