Johnston: Jim Benning can ‘Expect a Penalty’ for Tampering

Much has been made of Jim Benning’s comments this week. Particularly the ones he made on TSN 1040AM radio regarding P.K. Subban and Steven Stamkos.

Though 29 other teams in the NHL have interest in the two star players, Benning is the only one to this point to mention them specifically by name and that’s landed him in a bit of hot water. And while you can appreciate Benning’s candour on this topic from a fan’s perspective, much of what he said falls under the distinction of tampering. 

Unsurprisingly, it appears as though the league tends to agree with that assessment of the situation. Yesterday we learned that Benning was under investigation by the league for tampering. We’ve learned today, courtesy a Chris Johnston report, that the Canucks will be getting fined. The only question left is how much.

This is a tough one for the Canucks to take on the chin, for sure. It was very clear based on Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin’s comments yesterday that they were not thrilled, saying specifically that Benning “crossed the line” — though, admittedly, Bergevin followed that up by saying he didn’t know where it was crossed. 

We’ll provide more updates as they become available to us.

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  • Peachy

    If Benning is attempting to burnish his reputation as a bumpkin in the hopes that other GMs will underestimate him later, this was a fantastic move. Sorta the anti-Gillis.

    I don’t see how this penalty (assuming it’s only financial) matters though. Take it on the chin and move on.

    • TheRealRusty

      Other than cementing yourself as a total d-bag to other GMs then no, it doesn’t matter at all…

      I like Benning, I think his drafting is great and I’m not as against the contracts nor trades he makes like the majority of people. But this was a total doucher move, you can’t comment on other team’s players and Bergevin was put in a really awkward position to respond to that. I’m no fan of Montreal nor Subban but it was a cheap move, no wonder he was pissed.

      Let’s just be generous and call it “unnecessarily clumsy”, and move on.

      • Bud Poile

        Give us a break.

        For a long,long time everybody in the hockey world was talking about PK Subban being moved for every reason under the sun.

        Benning answers a question honestly and he is the douchebag but Bergevin lies through his teeth while everybody knows he hates PK but he is held to high regard for being a liar to his fans and the public.

        What a load of B.S..

        • Peachy

          Gino’s point is valid in as much as Bergevin and some other GMs may be less likely to want to deal with Benning for fear of Benning letting things out at an inopportune time.

          I just don’t think this one is a particularly big deal. Every GM in the league was going to kick the tires on Subban, Stamkos and Lucic.

  • Bud Poile

    Benning states the obvious. Very refreshing from a fan perspective but the PR machine in Montreal is throwing a kiniption hissy fit.

    Sad that Benning will now be forced give the standard,bland answers to reporters questions from here on in because Bergevin is a dick.

  • Peachy

    I for one would much rather have Jimbo express his honest and informed opinion than have the idiots at the NHL dictate what, when and how comments can be made about players.

  • Whackanuck

    I have zero faith in the half-wit GM Dim Benning. This tampering charge is just another example of his incompetence, and Canucks’ inability to hire a high-caliber GM. It’s sad to replace one pathetic rookie GM (Gillis) with another one.

    Dim can’t sign players to reasonable contracts (Miller, Sbisa, Dorsett, Sutter), he doesn’t draft smart (take the best player available -Juolevi over Tkachuk? Lockwood over Abramov/Pu? Virtanen over Ehlers?), he doesn’t accumulate picks at the trade deadline for future free agents (nothing for Hamhuis, Vrbata, Matthias, Richardson), he gets fleeced on trades (Prust, Lack, McCann), and he’s probably going to sign another bad-fit free agent (Lucic) for 7-8 years.

    As a lifelong Canuck, I’m well accustomed to incompetence, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. We’ll be remembering Dim’s incompetence for years to come as he erodes our asset base via poor drafting, poor trades, poor FA signings, etc. I don’t think the Canucks will win a cup in my lifetime.

    • Bud Poile

      Yeah,you are so used to Canucks incompetence your hatred for a decent GM and human being overcomes your blunted senses.

      Benning already has the best draft record in the history of this franchise but you wanted Tkachuk and Ehlers so you lash out and whine.

      Nobody wanted the alcoholic in their dressing room and Vrbata and Hamhuis had NTCs and did not elect to move on,as is their contractual choice. Honoring veterans and contracts remains a bewildering choice for the clamouring clueless.

      Lack and McCann were redundant tweeners that brought us Brisebois and Gudy.

      Benning has assembled a core of exceptional draft picks that will make up the young nucleus of the team in two years time-Olli,Brisebois,Demko,Tryamkin and Virtanen.

      • Canuck4Life20

        Actually, I don’t hate Dim Benning as a person–I just dislike his poor decision making and general incompetence as a GM. I can’t hate a former Canuck player. I thought he was going to be a decent GM when he got us something for Kesler, but his body of work since then has been highly suspect.

        It’s WAY too early to say Benning has the best draft record in the history of the franchise. Drafting Pavel Bure in the fifth round was pure genius (thank you Pat Quinn RIP). Drafting two top-three players (twin brothers no less) in the same draft was pretty pivot to the Canucks (thanks Brian Burke).

        Only two of his picks played in the NHL so far, and he already got rid of one of them. Virtanen is a long ways from proving himself at the NHL level. While Boeser and Demko look to be PROMISING prospects–they haven’t played a single game in the NHL. It’s too early to say Benning’s brilliant at drafting. We’ll need to look at which players turn into stars and also who Benning gave away with all of the picks he’s been handing out to other teams.

        I’m perfectly happy to be proven wrong in this area, but it’s generally accepted by most successful sports teams you draft the best player available (think tradable asset) instead for need. Stockpile the best talent and then package it up later for what you need.

        If you checked your facts, you’d learn that Hamhuis actually approved a trade to Dallas. The GM and potentially ownership’s incompetence messed it up so Dallas went to Calgary instead. Dallas supposedly even came back after they got Russell from Calgary and still offered us something for Hamhuis (a draft pick–not that we need any of those because Benning likes to throw them away anyway) which they said no to (too much pride I guess).

        You talk of honoring veterans, that’s what the Ring of Honour is for. Trading veterans for assets happens all the time at other NHL teams. It’s a business. I understand there are NTCs involved to deal with. I wish we had a GM who was savvy enough to manage them–I guess I can’t expect that of Benning. I wish he could stick to just drafting (a possible strength if he used it more), but trades, negotiating contracts, managing assets, managing GM relations (don’t burn bridges), and public speaking are all a part of the job.

      • Bud Poile

        I think you are ahead of yourself. Benning’s draft record projects to be the best in Canucks history. Not there yet, but most certainly will. His AW shucks Kind of demeanor is somewhat disarming. He knows what he wants, and goes for it. To hell with the critics, go for it Jim!

    • Bud Poile

      Now if the Canucks cared about winning there would be less money to be made, ala the WWE format.

      After almost 50 years you can’t say it’s incompetence. The word for it is purposely losing to make money off the suckers.

      The Canucks will never win a cup and what will end up happening is they would rather leave or end up leaving if push came to shove.

      I voted with my wallet decades ago and I don’t regret one penny. In fact, I saved a tonne of bread when I stopped supporting those deadbeats.

  • Peachy

    Looking at this from a different angle…the media.

    If we thought media scrum responses etc were bland before…..imagine the vanilla that will be served up in future.

    The NHL mandates that the club employees make time for the media and then censor what can and cannot be said (not condoning anything like “tampering” here)

    If the NHL wanted to stop leading questions from the media, they could extend the penalty to the other side of the interview—penalize the paper/tv station etc by suspending privileges for a time.

    Now THAT would solve the problem forever, imo.

  • Peachy

    God I love you Jim Benning you big simple lovable bastard. Bergevin has been stoking the fires of these Subban rumours for years and now his nose is out of joint? Whatever.

    The Canucks will get fined and life will go back to normal. Benning will continue to be an idiot drafting savant, finding us late round gems while falling in love with certain NHL players and paying ALL the money for them, either through FA or trade.

    I think he’s building us a winner though, if our fickle, neurotic fanbase can live with him long enough for it all to come together.

  • Peachy

    PS NHL – Do away with the tampering rule entirely.

    A) It’s BS and gets circumvented continuously.

    B) Let’s make the relationship between the NHL’s GMs more like an episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Now THAT would be some good television.

  • krutov

    the tampering fine was stupid but of no consequence except as an indicator that he lacks a filter.

    but with the subban comments he screwed up in a way that will make other gms careful whether to talk to him about sensitive trades.

    and doing both together are a concern

    not great.

  • krutov

    Benning didn’t intentionally attempt to tamper with those players, he just isn’t intelligent enough to conduct himself like a competent executive. Dim Benning indeed.

  • detox

    Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger · 3m3 minutes ago

    Vancouver’s Jim Benning will be fined for his public comments on Steven Stamkos and PK Subban, although Benning’s intent wasn’t malicious.

  • detox

    Benning’s comments served to get the message out to all free agents that Vancouver intends to be an important player in the free agent market. Besides showing his honesty, never a bad thing, the fine is just the cost of advertising.

  • Dirty30

    On the subject of tampering — what exactly does Gary Bettman consider “game management” to represent?

    What about the NHL funding the Coyotes out of league revenues from other teams? What is that?

    Given that the Vegas franchise looks to represent an increased betting platform in the USA, I don’t know how the NHL can continue to ‘manage’ games moving forward.

    Having Bettman arrested and jailed on racketeering charges would make up for 2011 … Barely.

    • TheRealRusty

      Bingo. That’s why I will no longer spend a single penny on the NHL. Managing games and changing “rules” during regular season vs playoffs. More bush league WWF than a real sport…

  • TheRealRusty

    This is just stupid everyone wants stamkos he is becoming a free agent. Plus what team wouldnt kick tires on subban. Marc is just pissed cause PK is gonna be mad now and people think canucks are a mess habs are way worse off.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Ok then. I’m sure Stamkos called his agent up as soon as he heard this and told him to cut off negotiations with Tampa because the Canucks are interested.

  • Dirty30

    I think Benning was trying to position himself with the Canucks fan base. He’s trying to seem proactive because he knows he didn’t have many bullets this weekend.

    He can’t move up and won’t move down in the draft. Can’t pick up any other picks, so he mentions a couple of Hail Maries.

    Really, like the Canucks have a legit shot at Subban or Stamkos?

    Maybe Linden should do more of the talking and Benning the drafting. Wish we had someone who could do the trading.

  • Peachy

    The tampering charges asserted by the NHL as per a complaint filed by Bergevin are a joke.I can’t see how its tampering if you aren’t talking to the player directly your talking to the GM and isn’t that how trades get done. Honest Jim probably should not have been as honest about it but he was not tampering. He was commenting on an already widely reported trade possibility. It may not be good form but he is allowed to comment on who he’s willing to trade for, in this case this does not impact contact talks because there’s not a pending contract being negotiated. I have so often heard GMs say team X is asking way too much for that player blah blah blah so or the NHL to accuse him of tampering is crap now Stamkos maybe a different matter but I don’t think Steve is accusing him of tampering at least not publicly. Unfortunately for GM Benning he will have nobody in his corner to help grieve the upcoming fine and the damage to his reputation is already done.