Luca Sbisa is my Stanley Cup

That’s it. I’ve given up all hope of seeing the Canucks win the Cup any time soon.

I’m now making Sbisa’s departure my personal Stanley Cup victory. It’s really the only thing that is keeping me going as a Canucks fan.

I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But one day, Luca Sbisa will no longer be a Vancouver Canuck. And on that day, I will personally organize the parade. Heck, I already have the route planned out. It will go along Expo Boulevard to Smithe, then left on Beatty to Nelson. Over the Cambie St. Bridge, down to Marine Drive. Over the Arthur Lainge and finally along Grant McConachie Way…

It will be glorious.

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You know, some things are worth celebrating because you only live once. Unfortunately.


And yes, this is what’s it’s come to as a Canucks fan. #sigh

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I’ve lost all hope that things will improve any time soon. There’s just nothing that Jim Benning has said or done since the Sbisa extension that has given me any kind of indication that this team is headed in the right direction. Sbisa is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The window into how this organization thinks about hockey.

And oh God how wish this was the window that was closed.

So yes, until Sbisa is gone, whether through trade, free agency, retirement, buy out or freak zamboni accident, I have absolutely no faith in the ability of this organization to evaluate talent or understand what it takes to win games in the NHL as it is today.

You know when I knew the Maple Leafs were really turning things around as an organization? It wasn’t when Shanahan was hired, or Carlyle was fired, or even when Clarkson was somehow miraculously traded. No, it was when they sent Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren to the minors to start the year. That was a sign that their thinking as an organization had changed.

That’s the sign I will be looking for from the Vancouver Canucks. And for me, nothing would be more of a sign than fixing the mistake that was the Sbisa extension. Because the more these guys talk about Sbisa:


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the more I feel like curling up in a little ball in the corner and just weeping.

I mean, it’s bad enough that these guys think a “stay at home defenseman” is actually a useful thing to have in today’s NHL. What’s even worse is that they think Sbisa is good enough to be even that.

But whatever. Think what you want about Sbisa, guys.

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You know who’s stay at home? Da fans, man.




You can also check out the monthly collections of Graphic Comments over at The Sporting News.

    • Graphic Comments

      I think turning Sbisa into a lightning rod for everything that is wrong with the Canucks takes it a little far.

      I get that Sbisa will never be a play-driver or stats darling, and the “Culture Carrier” line is b.s., but there is something to having a tough stay at home D-man holding down the 6th spot on a team. The Canucks have been too easy to play against for too long and he does address that. And if the current Canucks prospects can’t legitimately out-play this guy, then it either says Sbisa is better than people on this blog keeps saying or worse, it says something about the inability of Canucks prospects to separate themselves enough to push out low end roster players, regardless of contract.

      I’d also say that the spectacular nature of Sbisa’s giveaways and breakdowns have a tendency to make him seem worse than he really is. And I’d be willing to bet that there some room for his game to develop from where it is now. Not sure if he will ever be worth his contract, but I don’t really think it makes sense to make him the poster child for everything that is wrong with the Canucks either. If you want to lament the Canucks situation, I’d rather keep the focus on the team’s aging goaltender and core.

      • Dirty30

        1. It really is too bad for Sbisa that he becomes the poster child for Canucks’ fans’ unhappiness with their management team. Sbisa is probably a good citizen, makes a good honest effort for the Canucks and doesn’t deserve to be heaped on.

        2. Otoh, it is his signing, and not Sbisa personally, that is so criticized. There is a reason that this signing is so vilified and has become the most cited example of reasoning why some fans are doubting the management.

        Pretty much all of the other decisions of management are more or less defensible, while this one is extremely difficult for many of us to understand or defend. Among the JB moves:

        -signed Miller, 3 yrs $6 mill per. Many of us didn’t like this one, but generally we can see why Benning was uncomfortable going into his 1st season as GM with 2 goalies who weren’t established as NHL players.

        -signed Vrbata-well, does anyone actually criticize this signing any more? The Canucks needed scoring, he was a scorer, the only questions ever were whether the dollars paid were too high and whether Vrbata’s age made the signing too risky. This so far looks like one of Benning’s best moves.

        -signed Tanev 1 yr $2 mill. I’ve criticized this for being shortsighted as Tanev obviously deserved and would ultimately get more in the next signing, but signing a player to a surprisingly cheap contract is always defensible.

        -later signing Tanev for 5 years-one might argue the amount of money but not that Tanev will be a valuable member of the Canucks going forward. I think the money a little high, but easily defensible.

        -traded Kesler-many hate it, but Kesler wanted out, the core wanted him gone, Benning had essentially one team to deal with and got a return which provides a cheaper younger center (though not a 1 for 1 Kesler replacement) and a 1st round pick (to oversimplify the trade.) Defensible.

        -traded Garrison for a 2nd-insufficient return but Garrison had suffered through a tough year in Vancouver and the Canucks perceived they needed cap room for the Miller and Vrbata signings, so perhaps defensible

        -traded a 3rd for Dorsett-no problem there

        -traded a 2nd for Vey-Well, this is a matter of analyzing the player. If WD was really pushing for Vey, then with his AHL scoring he could be seen as an asset, and a 2nd round pick usually doesn’t turn into a long term NHL player. Somewhat defensible, perhaps, though close. Vey in the future could make it look better.

        -traded a 2nd for Baertschi and a 3rd for Pedan. Some don’t like these deals, but I think at worst they’re easily defensible. 2nd and 3rd round picks are lottery tickets, and both Baertschi and Pedan, while coming from their old teams with question marks, were seen as having considerable upside potential. These trades may or may not work out but they could turn out well. They shift age of prospects to an age the Canucks were short on (early 20’s) and these deals are defensible.

        -traded Forsling for Clendening-hard to attack this one much. Clendening was a 2-time AHL all star, just about NHL ready and considered to move the puck well and be effective on the power play. he may or may not work out but it’s easy to defend getting someone of that description for a guy with similar attributes, perhaps more upside but more risk, who is further away from challenging for an NHL spot. This also shifts age towards the early 20’s group where the Canucks were weak.

        -signed Dorsett for 4 yrs at $2.65 AAV. This may be criticized for the amount of money and, more especially, the term but there’s no question Dorsett brings something the Canucks don’t have much of. He fights to stick up for teammates. One can argue whether that should or shouldn’t be necessary, or even whether it is or isn’t necessary (my view-shouldn’t be necessary but absolutely is) but there was plenty of reason to want Dorsett back which makes the signing defensible.

        -signed Sbisa for 3 years at an AAV of $3.6 million.

        Some have tried but I don’t see any way to defend this signing. I don’t blame Sbisa for taking the money but for those of us who see Sbisa as not being, at this stage of his career, good enough to be an NHL regular giving this kind of money is totally indefensible.

        Trying to defend this signing with Sbisa’s potential doesn’t work. Someone who is poor but has potential to improve should get about 1/3 to 1/2 of what the Canucks will pay him the next few years, and with the number of years he has in the league a quantum leap in playing ability would be surprising.

        Those who defend on the basis of hits and blocked shots ignore the fact that those hits and blocked shots don’t make him effective-relative to his teammates the Canucks score fewer and allow more goals while allowing more scoring chance, getting fewer scoring chances, getting fewer shot attempts (blocked or otherwise) while giving up more, with Sbisa on the ice. Statistically he’s a drag on Canucks’ goals, shots and scoring chances.

        To think this contract was given when the salary cap for next season could still have turned out to be lower than it actually will be makes it all the more difficult to understand.

        So many of us see this signing as indefensible. It’s too bad that it bears his name as it is really Benning that is being criticized, but there’s a reason this has become the lightning rod. It is the move that had me, among others, shaking my head as completely without merit.

        It’s too bad for Sbisa that he happens to be the player with whom JB made this move that so many of us can’t understand.

      • Dirty30

        Actually, in order of crap moves:

        #1 — miller at six mil for three seasons

        Way down the list — Sbisa for 3+ mil after crapping on Tanev to “show what he could do”

        And then Vey for a second round pick.

        The rest I can live with.

  • Dirty30

    The actions regarding Sbisa and Dorsett seriously have me looking over across the mountains at the City of Oil, and thinking,

    “Gee…they seem like they may have gotten it together now. AND they’re getting Connor.”

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    It is something when the article writers are displaying the same high anxiety and panic as those who comment.

    I feel real bad for Luca Sbisa, who is now the official whipping boy for the Canucks fan base. I just hate seeing one person singled out like this. He is young and is still developing. I remember reading how on the Ducks and on pretty much every team he played with previously, he said he was ordered to play conservative and be an at-home defencemen. With the Canucks he is learning how to join the rush and create offense, something he has never had to do before. He admitted that it was a difficult adjustment when he first joined the team. The GM’s comments as I see them, are that he is very coachable and he sticks up for his team.

    • RandomScrub

      I feel bad for Luca as a person if he reads all this stuff, sure, but our anger is directed at Benning, not him. Hopefully he would understand that, and besides, athletes have a thick skin, right?

      (cut to Simpsons episode where Homer is heckling Darryl Strawberry, who then is revealed to shed a single tear in response).