July 11 2014 01:37PM
In what may be the most important move they make this off-season, the Canucks have brought in a professional bartender to spruce up the beverages at Rogers Arena. Too bad it didn't happen last year, given how much time Canucks' fans spent crying in their already watery beer. Hopefully Jay Jones' first order of business is to add a little character to their draft beer selection.
On the flip side, if only Trevor Linden and Jim Benning realized that what their draft pick selections could use is a little less character...
Oh well, maybe next year they can bring in a professional scouting team. Sigh.
First, we need to consider that the driving factor behind most, if not all, of the moves made over the last couple of months are aimed at stopping the bleeding of fan support and selling tickets to games. Remember, the Aquilinis made their money in real estate. And in that industry, what they're selling is a lifestyle, not property. Just take a look an any of the myriad of full page ads for condos in the Georgia Straight. Hardly any of them show or say anything about the building. But there's no shortage of images showing people roller blading on the sea wall or shopping at Granville Island or eating out at a restaurant... you get the picture. Literally.
Anwyay, that's the same approach being taken here.
At its core, the Canucks fanbase is a lunch bucket crowd. They like their hockey meaty with a side of potatoes. Heck, they probably don't even mind the swill that passes for beer at Rogers Arena. And that's the marketing angle the new management team is taking, from Trevor Linden on down.
My only hope is that this really that the pronouncements are comments coming out of the front office really are just marketing hype for the masses, while the actual hockey decisions are based on the fundamentals that create winning teams in today's NHL.
One of the key things I picked up in the transcript of the Summer Summit earlier this week was Jim Benning's focus on adding depth to the club. And I have to say he's right on. Look around the league at the best hockey teams and you'll see quality, NHL calibre players all they way down the lineup. Fact is, if you don't have depth on your roster, you're probably going to find yourself in a deep hole in the standings:
So I'll take Benning at his word, that he's going to address that depth.
Last year, the problem was largely no depth in the bottom of the line-up. This year, we have more third line players than we know what to do with. I'm not sure Nick Bonino is the answer on the second line, and I'm not hopeful there's a ready solution, given that most of the cap space they freed up by dealing Luongo and Kesler has been eaten up by the addition of Miller and Vrbata.
Throwing one of the kids in there is probably not a good idea. Best to let them develop a bit more rather than throw them in the deep end playing tough minutes in the NHL.
That leaves the trade route, and with all the NTCs on the team, the only guy being dealt for sure is Markstrom and Benning will be lucky to get a late pick for him.
With that in mind, it might be best for Jim Benning to stand pat and see how things play out in training camp.
Because if it isn't just marketing hype to sell tickets to the lunch bucket crowd, and Benning does make good on his promise at the draft, I might need to make an appointment with my doctor:
If that's the case, at least the beer will better...
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