Linden's Web: the Canucks might not be a cap team, and other nuggets from Linden's 1040 appearance Friday

Thomas Drance
June 20 2014 11:40AM

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Canucks president Trevor Linden was interviewed at length on the Team 1040 on Friday morning. As you might expect, we have a bunch of scattered thoughts about some of the topics discussed, so read past the jump for that.

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It makes sense to shop Jordan Schroeder, but he should be qualified

Thomas Drance
June 19 2014 01:21PM

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The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly shopping undersized, underachieving 2009 first round draft pick Jordan Schroeder, according to the News 1130 Sports twitter account. It's not a huge surprise to hear that the organization aren't counting on a player like Schroeder going forward - he's a diminutive natural centre, who has battled a myriad of injuries already in his career, and hasn't produced like a future top-six mainstay since he left college.

That the organization is "very unlikely" to extend the soon to be 24-year-old forward a qualifying offer, which News 1130 Sports is also reporting on Wednesday, is a bit of an eyebrow raiser though. We'll wade into it after the jump.

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Ryannuendo: The Kesler Saga has already told us a lot about Vancouver's new hockey ops. team

Thomas Drance
June 16 2014 03:00PM

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It's tough to preview an offseason, or gauge the likelihood of certain moves, when the new faces of Vancouver Canucks hockey operations - particularly new general manager Jim Benning and new president Trevor Linden - have shallow track records as top NHL decision makers. Linden has already proven himself an effective salesman and alliance builder in his new job, but he's never worked in an NHL front office (or any hockey front office for that matter). We've seen Benning give advice in documentary snippets from hockey operations meetings, but this is his first go as an NHL general manager.

Though Linden and Benning have given a myriad of interviews since taking over, we know little about their plans or preferences. Come to think of it, I don't think anyone even has a good sense even of how the dynamic duo's internal decision making process is going to work. 

There's one major data point available to us, however, and it speaks volumes. It's the way that Ryan Kesler saga has, to this point, unfolded.

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The Odd Couple: Benning and Linden seem like they'll need each other

Thomas Drance
May 23 2014 04:59PM


New Canucks general manager Jim Benning faced the fans and media for the first time on Friday, and it was quickly apparent that his commendable accomplishments over a long career in hockey stand out far more than his public speaking skills. Though he was forthright and balanced, Benning doesn't seem to have the sharpest tongue. He ducked multiple questions on Friday with the old "it's my first day on the job!" dodge, he started a large number of sentences with a distracting, drawn out "well," and his syntax is littered with "like" and "y'know." 

In a telling moment towards the end of the Q&A with season ticket holders that preceded Benning's formal introduction on Friday, the modest lifelong scout was asked about his immediate plans for the near future and he listed an itinerary. No seriously.

"From here I'm going to the announcement," Benning joked, "then on Sunday we're flying to Toronto, and we start the scouting combine on Monday, so we're going to be there through the following week interviewing the players for this years draft, after that we'll start in on interviewing for the head coaching position and from there we'll head right up to our meetings in Whistler, and that's about where it ends for me right now..." at which point Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden jumped in, put a halt to the rambling, and talked about "definitely hitting the ground running" and interviewing "the next crop of Vancouver Canucks, which is really exciting." Essentially, or at least as it seemed to me, Linden threw his new general manager a lifeline in that moment.

Read on past the jump.

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3 critical decisions facing new Canucks GM Jim Benning

Thomas Drance
May 23 2014 10:23AM

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If you've watched a television report on the Jim Benning hire over the past week, be it TSN or CTV or Sportsnet, you've probably noticed that there isn't much in the way of quality stock footage featuring the low-profile Boston Bruins assistant general manager. "I guess he's kind of beside Neely here, and he fist pumps, so... yeah." 

For those of us, like myself, who produce reams of digital copy daily - the challenge is similar: if you squint or treat the image like a magic eye, you can maybe make Benning out on the far rightHere's the image we're using over at theScore for the Benning hire, and here's the original photo by Charles LeClaire courtesy of the US Presswire. When I searched Getty's embed-able images of Benning for this post, I found better quality photos of his wife Rhonda than I did of the incoming Canucks general manager...

It's telling that Benning has been such an anonymous figure during his long career as a scout and front office executive, and on Friday that will change. When Benning is introduced in Vancouver he'll be thrust into the harsh glow and officially complete the transition from a no-profile front office functionary in Boston, to the general manager of one of the most heavily followed and scrutinized hockey clubs in the world in Vancouver. Linden's presence and customer service focus may insulate Benning from the burden of media responsibilities in a once-ravenous hockey market somewhat, but he couldn't go Greg Sherman in Vancouver even if he tried. (Who is Greg Sherman? Exactly).

Anyway, let's look at three major decisions facing Vancouver's formerly anonymous general manager right off the bat, and evaluate if he'll even be the guy making them.

Read on past the jump.

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