The six steps to success for Jim Benning

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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.

Step One: Never mention the words Boston or Boston Model ever. Like, ever. Ever ever. For reals.

One of the worst narratives to come out of the loss to the Bruins in 2011 was the real or imagined idea that the Canucks were going to change up the way their team worked (i.e. winning) to try and emulate a “Boston Model” (which ended up involving a lot more losing than that Boston model appeared to call for). 

From the outside looking in, it certainly appears that loss in the Finals to the Bruins weighed heavily on management’s minds, as the team did add several players that were “tougher”, but also with the unique ability to provide little to no offense or defense. Gone were Cody Hodgson, Christian Ehrhoff, and Raffi Torres; in came Zack Kassian, Tom Sestito, and two more games of Andrew Alberts. 

Now it may seem odd to give up on Raffi Torres, a player who should have fit the bill for a tougher team, but apparently when an injury-plagued, at-the-end-of-his-career Marco Sturm is available, well, you don’t think twice about signing him. He’s like a Costco hot dog — a good deal is a good deal (except in this case it was not a good deal, it was a horrible deal).

The latest rumor of the day has it that Mike Gillis was never a fan of the so called Boston model, and that it was in fact the owners who were pushing hard for the Canucks to become the type of team that would serve a dual role of beating up hockey players as well as beating up people who were late in paying rent. If in fact Aquilini and family are still intent upon going that route, then I once again must emphasize, STOP REFERENCING BOSTON.

Here’s a quick history lesson from 2011. The Canucks had one of the best teams of all time, and lost a game seven battle against another very good team. You play that series ten times over, and the Canucks win half of them. There was no real need to change the team up, aside from making sure depth was always available moving forward.

And that right there is the only lesson Benning needs to bring over from Boston. Depth. The joys of depth. It’s the main reason good teams stay good, the ability to put young players, on cheaper contracts, into holes in the lineup. Milan Lucic’s punching power was not the reason Boston won in 2011. They won because they were a good team with top tier players, with better injury luck, and they had better depth. And also because Tim Thomas summoned the devil and made a deal with him to give him supernatural powers. Never forget that.

The point is, Boston won in 2011, and sure, it was horrifying to watch Zdeno Chara and Gary Bettman practically clash erections against each other, so happy were they Vancouver didn’t win, but just focus on building a good team and move on from that. Don’t label it the “Boston Model”. Label it the “Time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but I’m all out of gum” model. Or something that rolls off the tongue easier. 

Either way, shut up about Boston. Or better yet, talk about using the “Chicago model”, because they’ve won more cups recently. And it’s probably super easy to draft players like Kane and Toews.

Step Two: Fire Ron Delorme. FIRE HIM.

goodmuldoon

In the opening scene of Jurassic Park, the park’s game warden Muldoon is seen transporting a raptor into the park, when tragedy strikes. The raptor hits the side of the cage she is in, causing it to come free, allowing the raptor to grab the leg of a random worker. While the raptor is trying to pull the man into the cage, Muldoon grabs onto the mans arms, trying to save him, but he quickly realizes the only way to save the man is to shoot the raptor. He thus begins to scream “Shoot her! Shooooooooooooooot her!” but nobody listens. The man dies, the Park goes on to claim several more lives as the film progresses, and many more tragedies occur, such as the making of Jurassic Park 2.

Why am I talking about Jurassic Park you ask? Because Ron Delorme is the raptor on the Canucks. He is the raptor on the Canucks that if they had only just shot him at the beginning of the movie, they could have saved everyone a lot of grief.

Now, I know it might be harsh to suggest to fire a man, after all that’s his livelihood and by all accounts he is well respected by everyone he works with. He also has tattoos of Canucks logos on his body, so you know he loves the team. So I am not suggesting they fire him outright, just maybe remove him from anything to do with scouting. Maybe give him a new office and a random title. Instead of Ron Delorme, Chief Amateur Scout, maybe he can be Ron Delorme, giver of high fives and occasional hugs. Admit it, sometimes Dan Hamhuis looks like he’s in real need of a hug, well guess what, Delorme will have that covered from now on.

You can look at the Canucks drafting in several different lights, but the fact remains, during Delorme’s time in scouting with Vancouver, things have ranged from “maybe that was an ok pick” to “dear god, why is there burning trash on my TV, WHY WOULD THE CANUCKS DRAFT BURNING TRASH?”

Do what Mike Gillis never had the balls to do, bring in new life to the Canucks scouting department. Put a picture of Patrick White up on the wall, tell yourself “Never again.” and make the necessary changes.

Shooooooooooooooot her!

Step Three: Don’t change your appearance drastically during a losing streak

This is just a solid heads up about changing your appearance randomly in Vancouver. The fan and media attention in Vancouver is a little higher than most markets, so if you walk on TV wearing a blue blazer and a mint green shirt, there will probably be a twitter account made about it two minutes later.

benning

When Mike Gillis decided to grow his neck beard, it caused a tidal wave of reaction. It would have been fine if Vancouver was winning, because at least then people would have attributed the winning to the goatee. “Three wins in a row? Has to be the goatee.” 

But when you are losing horribly? Well that goatee all of a sudden pointed out that the Canucks were headed down the darkest timeline. All of a sudden the goatee became the symbol of all that was wrong in Vancouver, and that it must be stopped. People began back tracking the history of goatees to prove that not only did they cost the Canucks the 2014 season, they also probably started the Great Depression.

Benning should just use Men In Black rule. Pick one more suit that he is going to wear for the rest of his life and go with that.

Step Four: Don’t be surly, or if you are, let Gilman do the talking

One of the great pleasures I took at the end of Mike Gillis’ reign was listening to him do radio interviews. A fun drinking game to do was take a shot for every time Mike Gillis appeared to be pissed off at Blake Price.This game would often result in making you drunk, very very quickly.

It was honestly fascinating to listen to. Gillis was famous for not revealing anything during his interviews (and to be fair, who could blame him after the specter of “bold moves” hung over his head for years), but somehow this turned from blandly handing out drivel to actively hating Blake Price. He would talk down to Blake as if Price had tried eating a cookie before dinner and was going to ruin his appetite. “I never said that Blake, did I? What did I say Blake? Whose a naughty boy?”

It created an aura around Gillis that irked people the wrong way. Instead of being the smart, cold, calculating GM of years gone by, he was now the angry, burnt out, wreck of a GM that was slowly throttling the life out of the team.

In comparison, Laurence Gilman on the radio was divine. He was friendly, amiable, and still didn’t say much of use, but he made you think he was up beat and working actively to fix any problems the team had. If you feel like you can’t handle radio duties, simply hand them off to Gilman.

Step Five: No more trades with Florida

Somewhere along the line the joke of Florida being Vancouver’s farm team stopped being funny and was actually eerily becoming quite accurate. 

For the sake of everyone involved, it’s time to take a break from Florida. Maybe go outside and meet a couple of new teams, and try trading with them. None of the trades ever really work out, and most times it just becomes really awkward explaining to people that Florida isn’t ACTUALLY Vancouver’s farm team, that is in fact just a joke because several trades have occurred between the two teams.

It’s not that we don’t love Florida, it’s just that we think it’s time to move on. I’ve heard Nashville is pretty…

#SheaWeberDreamNeverDies.

Step Six: Become BFF with Darren Dreger

And if we’re being completely honest with each other, this is probably the most important step of them all. BECOME BEST FRIENDS WITH DARREN DREGER. Do this right away. Even if you’re already “kind of” friends with him, upgrade that to full out best friends forever mode. The way your team will be covered by TSN will change dramatically by this one simple step. 

Instead of dealing with this after a trade:

dreger1

You will instead deal with this:

dreger2

Seriously, put down whatever you’re doing, and invite Dreger out for beers at your earliest convenience. You should have seen Dreger when Nonis was fired in Vancouver and he found out Gillis was replacing him. His anger never subsided and it became fun to watch any trades or close trades go down in Vancouver, as you could set your watch to a follow up tweet by Dreger assuring you that somehow Gillis screwed things up.

Luongo’s trade value somehow plummeted at deadlines to being worth nothing more than a mid round draft pick at times. I think at one point it was suggested that Gillis would have to offer up a Sedin in order to get rid of Luongo’s contract.

If you want to have Eastern media on your side, then make sure your Dreger friendship levels are very high, I cannot stress this enough. An added bonus is you can speak straight through Dreger if a player or other team pisses you off. Anaheim not offering up enough for Ryan Kesler? Simply let Dreger know and before you know it, you’ll have this:

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The Ducks won’t even know what hit them.

By simply following these six steps, I am positive Benning will last at least through to next season. The only question left, however, is will Jim Benning ever wear a mint green shirt?

benning3

The system is working already..

  • VC

    “Here’s a quick history lesson from 2011. The Canucks had one of the best teams of all time”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! LMFAO! WHAT IS THIS, A COMEDY CLUB?

    [ed note] Don’t feed the trolls…

    • Regular season wise that was an amazing team, there is no debating that. It was just an awesome season to watch.

      Did they win the Cup? Nope, and as a result, they won’t be viewed well by some because of that, and that’s fine. But to laugh off their regular season accomplishments seems silly.

      • VC

        “one of the best teams of all time” might have gone a bit too far.

        In 2011, the Pacific wasn’t anywhere as strong as it is today, the North Worst was really the equivalent of playing versus AHLers and in the Central, with the exception of Detroit, they had horrible years too, iirc, Chicago backed into the playoffs that year and near beat the Canucks in game 7 OT.

        I am not saying they shouldn’t be recognised for having a great year, but as a best team of all time, I have a hard time reconciling that.

    • Regular season wise that was an amazing team, there is no debating that. It was just an awesome season to watch.

      Did they win the Cup? Nope, and as a result, they won’t be viewed well by some because of that, and that’s fine. But to laugh off their regular season accomplishments seems silly.

      • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

        Weak division, weak opponents, playing over their heads until alex burros fluke goal in game 7. Then come boston, who was also a choke team and put a pin to the canucks bubble.

        Changes did need to be changed after 2011, unfortunately, brick layer gillis made all the wrong changes. Boston model? gillis was not so sure of that? Well, one, you can’t have any boston model or tough model when you have the Sedins on your team. Two, when you get bullied around by boston and your gm still believes that he’s got the right team, you will be headed for a long haul of misery….oh wait, that was 2011, it’s now 2014. The haul haul of misery has already taken place.

        Hindsight is 20/20. Unless we are looking at the canucks past failures..then we should just imagine how many cups we could have won. Coulda shoulda woulda… more like had no chance with that heartless team.

  • ” and lost a game seven battle against another very good team. You play that series ten times over, and the Canucks win half of them. ”

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! KILLING ME, KILLING ME!

    de·lu·sion

    noun
    1.
    an act or instance of deluding.
    2.
    the state of being deluded.
    3.
    a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur.
    4.
    Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact

    • A series that goes to seven games, and you don’t think the Canucks can win that series half the time if injuries don’t happen?

      Again, to each their own, and I would gladly listen to your opinion on things if they went beyond the internet drivel of

      “LOL I USE CAPITAL LETTERS AND LIKE TO USE SNARK TO MAKE MY OPINION KNOWN”

      That’s the beauty of hockey, people can have different opinions. It’s just more fun when people discuss them, rather than resorting to boring internet garbage.

      Oh, my apologies:

      gar·bage

      noun NORTH AMERICAN

      a thing that is considered worthless or meaningless.

      “a store full of overpriced garbage”

  • Sir Qautorze

    One of the best teams of all time is probably a little hyperbolic. Though I would be willing to be convinced it was the best Canuck team of all time. And certainly capable of winning a cup.

    • Agreed, and it was definitely a use of hyperbole. Were it an article in which I was reporting on something more serious, I would have stayed away from that, but I felt it was in line with the article and it wasn’t that over the top that I felt it would be a distraction.

      In hindsight I would have kept it simply as the best Canucks team of all time, as I never intended that to be the focal point. I still think that make up of that team was fine and they could have stuck with that direction, that was more my end point!

        • There is truth littered throughout the satire, that’s for sure. One of them is indeed that Gilman can show Benning how to handle the media better. Gillis was awful at that, and Gilman looked honestly like the world’s nicest man in comparison to how he handled himself.

          Apparently Benning is reserved with the media, but that was in the AGM role, we shall see how he handles being in the spotlight more.

  • I thought the article was excellent and very funny; since I have a sense of humour I enjoyed the read. And it was, definitely, the best Canucks team ever…and the series against Boston could have gone either way…sadly the Bruins had all the lucky breaks and not as many injuries. Again, another great article.

  • “Maybe give him a new office and a random title. Instead of Ron Delorme, Chief Amateur Scout, maybe he can be Ron Delorme, giver of high fives and occasional hugs.”

    Thank you. This made me snort curried lentil soup out of my nose. It was worth it.

  • andyg

    I think CA writers should have to get in a cage match with Delorme. Because even though he’s like a hundred years old and not the best judge of talent, he’d still kill all of you if his hockey card is any indication:

    http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/m8o4YwP80C1HW92njqfxOmA.jpg

    I especially like that he’s on both the Canucks and the Rockies.

    But actually all of your rules make perfect sense. They are wise words to live by. Also, why are you engaging with HPC? He’s not even entertaining, much less coherent.

  • The original title for this post: “Two steps to success for Jim Benning”

    His first step to success is surprise and fear, fear, surprise, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope—THREE! His three steps to success are…

  • andyg

    If I’m a troll for not believing that the Canucks are not one of the best teams of all time… then guilty as charged.

    LMFOAROTFL. Oh you guys kill me…really you do.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Whimsical article. I enjoyed it.

    I would disagree on the whole “no more trading with the Panthers” thing, though. I’m not saying that it doesn’t need to be drastically reduced, simply that sometimes closing a door doesn’t necessarily open another one, it just closes one of your 29 doors.

    However, I strongly agree with “don’t ever mention the Boston model” rule. The focus should be creating something new and unique in-house that hopefully becomes a success and other teams can look at one day and say “we should implement the Vancouver model.” How boring would going to a restaurant to eat be if all restauranteurs followed either the Ramsay model or the Puck model? We’d all get bored and make our own food at home 100% of the time.

      • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

        It seems that for this thread, the defining of words is a recurring gag, so allow me to provide you with some insight (courtesy of Wikipedia):

        “Analogy (from Greek ἀναλογία, analogia, “proportion”[1][2]) is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process.”

        In this spirit – and that of suspending disbelief – imagine this “Bizzaro World” scenario (i.e. it’ll probably never happen): The Canucks adopt the the Sham Sharron model of scouting and become the world’s first NHL club to not draft based even partially on gut feelings and vague references to “grit” and “heart.” They strike gold with their first Stanley Cup win six years from this point, largely done upon the strength of their drafting approach in recent years (notes of Boston Bruins). Three years later, they repeat the feat (a la 2010 and 2013 Blackhawks).

        The resultant question implied is, if this scenario plays out as described, do you still want to talk about needing size, grit and heart to win games? Would you still prefer to use data as a guideline rather than a foundation? If the answer is yes, can you tell me if you’ve learned a single thing from reading the articles or the data made available on this website?

        Or maybe you’d just like to ask me “have you ever even PLAYED the game, nerd?”

        • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

          Hey hey hey, there’s no need to write an an angry essay just because you don’t understand what competing is. Imagine this, the Canucks don’t do anything substantial for the next five years and they get to 50 years and no cup. imagine that. Now call your bookie bet on it.

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            I already have imagined it. It’s the scenario I already had envisioned as a lifelong Canucks fan (old enough to remember ’94, not old enough to remember ’82) who happens to be a realist. In other words, I don’t make calls to my bookie regarding the Canucks.

            Furthermore, who’s angry? I just love talking about hockey. Also, I’m choosing to infer that your interpretation of “competing” based on your usage of it in the context of your response is the same of that of the average “jock” and layperson in that winning and winning alone = competing (regardless of whether the team in question won the Stanley Cup in 2013 or 1913).

            So sad you discount so many good teams on the “eye test” and emotional decisions alone. You should try using data sometime. It’ll elevate you from a source of income for a bookie to a call that they’re afraid to pick up.

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            Data has nothing to do with competing. The Canucks and their fans have had 4 decades of data… which they use to make excuses or simply ignore.

            Nobody on the team showed up for game 7 against Boston. Data me this, data me that. Lipstick on a pig is still a pig.

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            We agree on one key point: The club has largely ignored the data. But then again, a lot of them do.

            You are also correct about no one showing up for game seven. Hamhuis, Raymond, Edler and Samuelsson all watched the games from arena seating, the press box or at home on TV.

            Additionally those who made it down to the locker room June 15th, 2011 such as Kesler, Higgins and Ehrhoff (and only the locker room knows who else) were playing injured.

            It’s pretty difficult to compete with a roughly 95% healthy team when you’re riding at about 75%. So no, not many looking at the numbers were terribly surprised at the outcome.

            Sorry, you were saying something about data having nothing to do with competing?

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            75% eh? wow, you must have worked in the Canucks locker room to know those stats. Where did you get those stats? did you make them up? Where did those numbers come from, the Canucks media? lol

            Sorry, you were saying something about data and not using BS excuses?

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            He can’t be reasoned with. Someone put him in the cage with the raptor, train the shotgun on them both and squeeze the trigger while I yell, “shooooooot heeeeeerrrrrr!”

          • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

            Uh…

            Read the article again and you might get my last comment.

            You also may feel a bit sheepish and/or like you should cut back on the weed yourself.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Really funny post, and loaded with truth! Even grumpy, old NM00 thought it was amusing.

    Step 6 absolutely killed me. I wonder what it would take to make Dreger more friendly to Vancouver than Toronto.

    Another step, from his Boston days: let’s say that Vancouver’s 6th overall pick this year turns out to be a really talented young player that also likes to party, and arrives late once in a while (or whatever it was that Seguin did to piss off Boston mgt). Don’t trade him!!

  • Lou Armadillo

    step #7 trade:
    Garrison
    Edler
    Kesler
    Burrows
    Hansen
    Booth
    Sestito
    Higgins

    for what becomes

    Leon Draisatl
    Sam Bennett
    Sam Reinhart
    Aaron Ekbald
    Michael Dal Colle
    William Nylander
    Jake Virtanen
    Brendan Perlini
    and
    some duct tape