If we’re being honest with ourselves, most intermission interviews are cliche-filled piles of dead space that do nothing more than hold your attention span so the broadcaster can sell a less-desirable commercial break slot for just a little bit more. Sometimes, however, you gain some actual nuggets of information of them; Jim Benning’s chat with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy was one of those times.
There’s been a lot of hype regarding 2014 first rounders Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann’s continued presence in training camp, and if you watch the games (unlike us), it’s not hard to see why. Virtanen won’t rest until every one of his opponents is left bruised by a thunderous bodycheck, and has displayed NHL-quality skating ability with a bit of offensive upside as well.
The Canucks General Manager has noticed this. “Jake, we know has the physical skills,” Benning said. “He’s a real good skater, he gets in on the forecheck, and he’s been physical. That’s a skillset that’s hard to find.” All the same, it was hinted that rushing the teenager onto the team may not be in his best interests. “He’s an interesting guy, but we want to make sure that we’re careful with him and we develop him properly.”
McCann, on the other hand, hasn’t been quite as intimidating of a physical presence, but has displayed an exemplary two-way, all while contributing on the scoreboard, like the equalizer in the first period of tonight’s game:
So, uhh, Jared McCann really wants to be on this team, doesn’t he? pic.twitter.com/iKuGIyQ5ve
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) September 30, 2015
Benning noted that he the staff wanted a good look at McCann during this training camp and that he’s picked the perfect time to play his best hockey. “He’s had a real good camp so far. The thing that I like about him, he has good anticipation, he reads the play good and he has a fantastic release on his shot.”
Something that Benning stressed was that, in the event that one or both of these two go back to junior, it wouldn’t be a bad place for them to be. “They’re expected to produce when they go back, and they still have a lot to play for. Team Canada and the World Juniors is a big thing to play for. If they go back, they could be a big part of their teams.”
The two have certainly made their case to stay up, but as it stands, they’ll probably want to keep this run up for at least a few more days if they’d like a shot at sticking around. “We’re just taking it day by day now. We’re seeing how each game goes for the kids,” Benning said. “At the end of the day, if the kids deserve to be here, we’ll make room for them.”