The President's Man: On Benning, cautionary tales, and the Boston model

Thomas Drance
May 22 2014 07:55PM

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When he was hired as the president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks in early April, Trevor Linden was viewed in some circles with trepidation, particularly because he lacked any type of executive experience in hockey. Linden had business experience, but being the top hockey executive of a team like the Vancouver Canucks is an intense, demanding position unsuited to the inexperienced or the faint of heart. If it's not your life, if you're not going to get in early and obsess over every facet of the organization, if you can't sacrifice month-long biking excursions (or commute in from Point Roberts) - you're unlikely to have success.

In his first month on the job, Linden has already put most of these concerns to rest. He passed his first wisdom test, which admittedly was a tap-in (albeit a tap-in shanked by another inexperienced president of hockey operations in a major Canadian market), by firing John Tortorella. He's been extraordinarily available, amiable and frank in conversations with the media and in conversation with fans directly. Most importantly: he indirectly pitched his man to the Vancouver market and then went out and got him. On Wednesday, Linden hobnobbed with paying customers for half an hour before officially announcing the hire of new Canucks general manager Jim Benning at a season ticket holder event at the River Rock Casino.

Read on past the jump.

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The six steps to success for Jim Benning

The Stanchion
May 22 2014 02:56PM

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How does Jim get back here?

The worst kept secret in hockey was finally unveiled on Wednesday, when it was announced that Jim Benning had agreed to a multi year contract to become the GM of the Vancouver Canucks. Unlike Torts' inexplicable five year deal (I have to assume he has copious amounts of pictures of Aquilini doing something awful, like maybe eating a hamburger from 7-11), Jim Benning will most likely see out several years of his contract. 

This is Vancouver, however, so one can never be too careful about job security when running the Canucks. Today you're the General Manager firing the food workers in the arena, the next day you're at Costco eating the cheap hot dogs, because hey, a good deal is a good deal.

That's why Jim Benning should take extra care in certain areas to ensure his reign in Vancouver is a long lasting, memorable one. Now I can't help Benning out with particular roster moves, but I can help him out with regards to how he should carry himself in this market. After watching Mike Gillis yell at radio personalities like a disgruntled father who blames the divorce on the kids, after watching Brian Burke threaten everyone and their mother that he'd drive them to the airport, and after watching Dave Nonis cry the day he was appointed GM (#NeverForget), I feel I have a reasonable amount of knowledge to impart upon our new overlord that will help him out immeasurably. 

Read past the jump.. you know how this works, I shouldn't have to tell you to do this, COME ON.

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Canucks Army Weekly Prospect Reportlet: Memorial Cup Edition

Josh W
May 22 2014 11:09AM

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Courtesy of Canucks.com

As the days continue to get longer, the number of active prospects still playing with their respective teams continues to diminish. Bo Horvat was the last one standing, with his team playing host to the Memorial Cup. Meanwhile if we look overseas towards Eastern Europe, we see the IIHF World Championships taking place as we transition from the elongated round robin portion of the tournament to the good stuff.

A reminder that if you're bored this summer, craving hockey news and all that jazz, you can stay updated on everything regarding Canucks prospects by following me on Twitter @nuckprospects. You're also more than welcome to send me any feedback on anything prospect related you wish for me to cover in the future.

For the Memorial Cup, Anton Cederholm and the IIHF Worlds, read past the jump!

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Welcome to the Jim Benning Era

Dimitri Filipovic
May 21 2014 09:51PM

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The undercover mission is over, Jim. You can come home now.

In a move that caught the hockey world by storm, seemingly coming way out of left field without any real tangible clues pointing towards it even having a possibility of actually happening Jim Benning has finally been formally announced as the successor to former General Manager Mike Gillis' now vacant throne as the guy charged with calling the shots for the Vancouver Canucks. Well, sort of. 

It remains to be seen just how much say he'll have in relation to say, Trevor Linden, who was the one brought in to conduct the search for the team's next GM, amongst other things of course. Linden confirmed the long-anticipated decision during a statement in front of a whole wad of season ticket holders on Wednesday night, allowing the team and fans to begin looking towards a medley of other important moves that'll need to be made over the coming weeks and months.

Consider this your last chance to filter the phrase "Boston Model" out of your Twitter timeline. 

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Why a simple statistical method is more successful than a complex scouting program

Cam Charron
May 21 2014 11:10AM

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If you haven't read Rhys' dirty ditty exposing the Vancouver Canucks scouting office for being, among other things, complete frauds, then go ahead and do that. It was interesting to me, because having read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist actually has a full two chapters dedicated to the benefits of simple statistical measures when attempting to assess performance.

The thing that Rhys' piece exposes is that for the longest time, people in the game of hockey are determined to believe that hockey is a more complex game than it actually is. Winning teams, though, score more goals than the opposition. It is impossible to determine how many goals a player prevented, so counting how many goals the player contributed to the cause is basically half of our equation. However scouts try to add to the equation usually bogs down the process.

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