Gotta Hear Both Sides

“The challenge I have is there was this notion that this would be flipped around quickly. I don’t think people had a realistic expectation of where this organization was.”
Trevor Linden, October 13, 2016

“We’ve never once said this was going to be easy or fast.”
Jim Benning, April 8, 2016

Roll the tape…

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to add core prospects ‘on the fly’.”
Jim Benning, April 29, 2015

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“We’re trying to win. We’re trying to make the playoffs.”
Trevor Linden, April 29, 2015

“We’re focused 100 per cent on making the playoffs.”
Trevor Linden, June 22, 2015



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  • Dirty30

    GM Benning record:

    2014-15: 48-29-5 101 pts.

    2015-16 : 31- 38-15 75 pts.

    Pet Bug,you will note that Benning and Linden have an overall winning record,some 12 games above .500.

    Astute Vancouver fans understand that Benning intentionally tanked last March/April after it was clear that an inordinate amount of injuries decided their post-season fate.

    I admired the course mgmt. charted after their decision was made,bringing in OJ and Gudbranson strengthens the D for the next decade.

    Linden inherited a psychopath in Torts and a Gillis organisation devoid of depth that was laden with aging vets and NTC’s.

    Since Benning and Linden maintain a competitive team,winning record and built an above-grade cupboard in but two years on the job they have performed beyond expectations.

    As a fan of the team I enjoy reading fair commentary.These graphics apply to an author and appeal to fans that have vague ideas of what was accomplished over the last two seasons.

    They are childish,to be blunt.

    • Dirk22

      Since Benning and Linden maintain a competitive team,winning record and built an above-grade cupboard in but two years on the job they have performed beyond expectations.

      Hear, hear.

      The Canucks’ draft picks from 2005 to 2011 were a catastrophe. Seven years of drafts produced almost nothing. By rights, the Canucks should be headed for the cellar, just as many experts predict this year.

      And yet in two years, Benning has darn a remarkable job of rebuilding. The middle six almost looks strong this year, built mostly from players who never donned a Canucks jersey until Benning came in. And the development pipeline of the defense has been dramatically improved. The Canucks are still a long way from replacing the Sedins, but things are far better than they should be.

      So let’s remember that we are fans, and ease back on the cynicism.

  • Dirty30

    Thank- you petbugs for keeping the pressure on. As a longtime Canucks fan I have never been more frustrated with a Canucks management team, and I lived through Mike Keanen era. Just like Keanen this regime has made some unpopular moves to bring in some good long term talent to turn the team around; ironically trading Linden was one of those moves. Unlike Keenan. — who appeared not to care what the fans thought — this regime condescends it’s fans with double talk. Real Canucks fans will stick with the team through a rebuild. Let’s start acknowledging where the team really is. Real fans also forgive mistakes if they believe in the overall direction. The major angst is that this team keeps talking about some goal of making the playoffs, as if losing in the playoffs will keep us stupid ticket buyers spending our money. I’d happily keep buying tickets if we saw more deals like Linden for Bertuzzi, MCCabe and a draft pick (J. Ruuto) and a more realistic, honest message about this team’s direction.

    • DJ_44

      Do you want to know why people have the impression that “real Canucks fans” won’t stick with the team through a re-build? Look no further than the above post!

      Wake up. This team is re-building. Compare the organization that was inherited in 2014 to the one today. We now actually have some hope for the future. Excellent drafts in 2014 and 2015, and a 2016 top pick and very promising 3rd round pick have given hope. Benning, with his hands firmly shackled by NTC clauses (thank to Gillis/Gilman), managed to extract value from them.

      People can disagree with trades or picks. However what I find comical, is everyone is looking at each deal that may provide benefit to the other team involved a scream bad deal!

      Up in arms over the Granlund/Shink trade …. “higher ceiling” they screamed. I think the real reason is that what other draft pick could the previous regime promote? Maybe, just maybe, Granlund has more to offer and is mis-cast as a 4th line center.

      The Miller deal….overpay!!! Even though his 3 year presence has/will provided solid goaltending, and more importantly provided shelter while younger goalies (Lack/Markstrum) can mature their game. Now, with Demko in the system, goaltending looks great now and into the future.

      Defence? We have solid top 4. He brought in Larsen, and then there are capable 6th in Sbisa, with Stetcher, Trymakin, Pedan Biega in the wings. Sure, it thins out as we get to #5/#6, a lot of teams D thin out after 3. And we have Juolevi that will be here next year and will be the rock of the D-corps for a decade or more.

      Most of all, the team is getting younger, and Benning has filled the huge vacuum of players between 22 and 27.

      Let the season begin. We will be competitive and pushing for the playoffs. LA, Chicago, Anaheim and Calgary are no where near as strong as people think.

    • Dirk22

      Being a fan doesn’t mean you need to put on rose coloured glasses and drink whatever flavour of Koolaid management tries to hand you.

      Pointing out the shifting positions taken by Linden and Benning tells you something about their vision for the team (or perhaps their lack thereof). Either way, I’ll still be cheering for this team long after Lindenning and Desjardins are gone.

      • Dirk22

        For me actions speak louder than words…you could cherry pick a couple quotes from any GM, in any league, and spin it around. Also, public comments to the media don’t mean much.

        Actions from day one:
        1) They have focused on drafting and have had significant success in multiple rounds of the draft each year.
        2)They wanted the team to get younger and have added a significant number of younger players (only six players remain from the team that played three years ago).
        3)They wanted to add players in the 22 – 27 year old range to learn and serve as the foundation or role players for the high end players Benning beleives he can draft and they have done so.

        At the end of the day, they will fail or succeed based on their drafting. They still have a lot work ahead but if they continue adding pieces (as they have) for the next two years I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

        • Dirk22

          Considerable success in the draft? Boeser and who else? They botched the Virtanen pick when everyone on here was telling them to go for a more elite scorer like Nylander or Ehlers. Are you giving them credit for Juolevi? Like that took a savvy GM to make the pick. Who are you talking about? Where are these players? At this point it’s a bunch of maybes with the only sure-fires being there first rounders (apart from Virtanen). Maybe they could have added another player in the 2nd this year but old Benning thought it wise to deal that pick.

          Benning’s made two good moves as GM. Drafting Boeser who looks like he’s going to be a player and trading for Baertschi. That’s it. Stetcher signing could be added here but that’s a ways off. His moves to pick up the Sutters and Gudbransons have only expedited our journey to NHL mediocrity.

          • TheRealPB

            McCann, Demko, Forsling, Tryamkin, Neill, Gaudette, and Olson for starters. You do know the draft goes beyond the ten players right?

            But by all means, let’s see this as an apocalyptic race to 30th in the league.

            I know that Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Florida, and LA won’t be in the least affected by longterm injuries to Crosby, Eichel, Huberdeau and Quick, because these never affect outcomes as they didn’t for us last year.

          • Dirk22

            You know that McCann and Forsling are gone right? Demko looks like a good goalie but everyone else you mentioned is a long shot to even be NHL regulars let alone impact players – Tryamkin included.

            If we’re being honest – a race to 30th would do this franchise good. It’s too bad there’s not a McDavid or Matthews this year but that’s going to be the best way out of this.

        • Me

          I agree with most of what you write. However I am a bit concerned about whether we have enough potential top end talent in our development system, although I remain cautiously optimistic about Brock Boeser.

          I am more concerned about Benning’s contract management and his tendency to trade away both draft picks and prospects early in their development. Yes, I know why he has done this (to add players in the 22-27 year old age range) but we seem to be acquiring a lot of bottom 6 forwards / bottom pairing defence.

          I respect Benning’s drafting acumen and I would like to see him hold on to our picks to increase the likelihood he will draft the to end talent we will soon need to replace the Sedins.

      • Me

        I don’t drink their Kool-Aid. I know damn well that management is going to put a favourable spin on things in front of the press, and I know they are not free to be completely candid.

        That’s part of their job, as it is for every management team in the NHL. So what?

        • Me

          Not all the statements quoted from Linden and Benning are favourable, but they are contradictory. The whole point of the piece was to point out how management spin has evolved and changed. I think it’s fair to point that out, and it’s interesting to consider what that might mean for the future direction of the team.

          In your original comment, you questioned whether CA writers are actually fans. While CA writers (and commenters) can be excessively negative at times, I didn’t feel that was the case here (although I will admit the humour was somewhat pointed). My point was that you can be critical of management (or a coach or a player) and still be a fan of the team.

          • Me

            The mgmt. comments are not contradictory if you have followed the team and understand the objectives and goals have never changed.

            You can not accept that or you fail to grasp it.

            The graphics are an immature,whining troll job fit for a teenager stoned on weed.

            Get real.

          • Dirk22

            Not contradictory?!?

            We can turn this team around in a hurry

            I never said this would be fast

            I don’t know why people thought this would be done quickly

            Take off the fanboy torque.

  • TheRealPB

    You’re absolutely right. I remember how Tortorella said right at the start of his tenure that the Canucks were stale and needed to be completely remade and Gillis agreed and that is why despite that year being an abject failure at least we knew from the outset that it would be. And then there was the time that Brian Burke said the Canucks would be terrible and they were and we were all fine again because truth had won out.

    In your ideal world, what do you think the Canucks should do? Say to the fans (and to the Sedins) that we are going to try to throw the season in order to get a really good draft pick? We’ve picked 6th and 5th in two of 3 years and gotten two outstanding prospects in the other. The prospect pool is light years ahead of where it was when this regime took over. There is no denying that the team is worse than during its recent heyday — that was going to happen due to aging and the lack of viable replacements in the system.

    At some point you need to give this nonsense a rest. Live in the real world where you don’t take everything at face value all the time. I could care less what Linden and Benning say to the press, as long as they’re not taking on massive boat anchor contracts for declining vets by the handful as some of their competitors like to.

    • Cageyvet

      With GC/Petbugs you’re battling tabloid journalism, but thanks for being a voice of reason. The puck hasn’t even dropped to start their 3rd year on the job.

      GC, try a chart on youth and speed then versus now, or anything that isn’t so filled with negative bias that you long ago destroyed your credibility. Maybe send your graphs to the Jim Rome show, you’re the graphic version of his smackfest or whatever the hell it is.

  • TheRealPB

    Posted this elsewhere but it’s as relevant here… And if CA bloggers can regurgitate the same content then hey.

    Looking at the underlying numbers from last season (and previous seasons), its not unreasonable to believe the Canucks will be a competitive team in the sense that they will be somewhere in the middle of the pack; likely just outside the playoff picture.

    Why? Welp. Even accounting for their age, Eriksson and the Sedins are likely to drive possession and score at a 1st line rate.

    Hansen has proven an ability to chip in offensively, suppress shots and drive possession at a 3rd line rate. Horvat, Baertshi and Virtanen have shown signs of an ability to o the same. Sutter has shown some limited goal scoring ability and Granlund some playmaking ability, both at a 3rd line rate. Add Rodin’s scoring potential to the mix and you have two solid 3rd lines with speed, two-way ability and who can chip in offensively.

    Burrows, despite his dramatic drop in production and below average foot speed, still drives possession and suppresses shots at an elite level. Gaunce has shown potential as a responsible defensive forward. Dorsett is physical although one dimensional and best spot played as a 13th forward, while Skille brings speed and numbers in the past that support him as a solid 4th liner.

    On defence you have Edler and Tanev as a very solid shutdown D pair who can drive possession. They don’t produce much offence so call them a very solid second pairing. Hutton is on track to produce offence at a 1st pairing rate but it’s only been a year and needs to be more solid in his own end. Gudbranson is physical but his underlying numbers aren’t great. Call them a weak second pairing or an excellent bottom pairing. The bottom of the D roster has enough depth now that a reasonable third pairing should emerge.

    Miller has proven to be slightly above average, Markstrom as well, with Markstrom having upside that counters Miller’s decline. PK should be solid and PP improved.

    …So by league standards the team projects to have a solid enough first line, two quality 3rd lines, a decent 4th line, two decent middle pairing defence, and slightly above average goaltending. Based on that, 80-85 points isn’t unreasonable.

    Looking beyond this season, the Sedin line projects more as a 2nd line, meaning they will lack an elite centre, top line scoring winger(s), and still will lack a number 1 D pairing. Granted, those are big pieces to have missing but is it possible that in the next couple seasons, they may emerge from Boeser, Virtanen, Hutton, Juolevi, Stetcher, etc. or be acquired through the draft, free agency or through trade. Especially if they flip a few veterans (Hansen, Edler) into picks or prospects, and continue to pull out one or two decent prospects per drat (which they have).

    Either way, the age and contract structure is trending in the right direction. As currently constructed it’s a team that can compete and rebuild. I’d rather that as an environment for developing young players (even if they are drafted later in the draft) than icing a squad that has been caved in as badly as Edmonton and Buffalo over the years. I’d also prefer that from a fan entertainment perspective.

  • Me

    Final comment… wouldn’t you be more concerned if management were rigidly adhering to one strict approach year in and year out without ever adjusting based on an analysis of a) how the team develops or regresses, b) how the league market evolves c) how the game evolves?

  • Me

    Too many people want to dump on “how poorly” Canucks’ management is doing. But what did they inherit? Someone else can help me out with the exactness of this statement, but I did just read somewhere that Alex Freissen was their ONLY 2010(?) draft pick to have played a game in the NHL. And he played 1 !!!!! So how did drafting fit into player development and the near future of the Canucks exactly? Exactly! Graphic Comments and his anti Canuck cherry picking stat blathering colleagues here should try to remember this is Canucks ARMY. As in fans, supporters. Give me Biech and Jang, even Davis(sometimes). Balanced.

    • Dirk22

      What did the inherit? Here are the players on the opening roster that are pre Lindenning Players/picks

      Sedin, Sedin, Horvat, Edler, Tanev, Hutton, Rodin (injured), Gaunce , Burrows, Hansen

      Here are Benning’s pick-ups:
      Granlund, Sutter, Eriksson, Sbisa, Larsen, Baertchi, Dorsett, Gudbranson,, Skile, Virtanen

      Compare those two groups and get back to me.

      • I’ll choose the management group that has several roster players ready or near ready from their 2 drafts.Your pre”Lindenning” line up looks good yes, but the Sedins were drafted long ago by Burke, not Gillis, whose record overall is the one I was illustrating. Sedins aside, that leaves 8 playing from over the Gillis era on your list. Benning & co? Virtanen, McCann (dubious yes) FA Stecher doesn’t count, Boeser does. Demko does. How about all the Gillis outright fails? And with more years but no picks to match that longevity. Jenson, Shroeder fail. Hodgson, Sauve, Rai…all fails. McNally, Polasek fails. There are many more on both sides, especially from later rounds, which is to be expected. But Gillis’ draft record is basically abysmal, and the reason there are not many of his picks either in their line up, or close to getting there. So…no player development. I’ll give you that Vancouver was finishing higher in the standings and so had no high picks, but look at the many many players that have been taken even in later rounds that have proven to be gems. Gillis had little recognition of talent, if he did have, he would have found players in the lower ends of the first few rounds

  • Copperfinch

    Regarding the retooling on the fly/building through the draft diagram… you can do both.

    Invest in scouting. Count on good players coming out of the first round and maybe a bonus in later rounds. Be willing to flip picks or veterans if they help you get younger and better (i.e. rebuild/retool).

  • Dirty30

    From the outside looking in, the team probably looked fine.

    But like any renovation project, once you get started, that easy rebuild reveals problems you didn’t imagine and certainly didn’t plan for when you started.

    I don’t doubt for a minute there was an ” Oh Fudge!” moment when management realized the situation was not what they had imagined and the plans they had were likely worthless moving forward.

    So they shored things up, tore some things out and realized it was going to be more work, more money, more resources than they had on hand.

    It’s like the Contractor that told me the Reno would take six weeks max … And seven months later he was renovating his way out one door while the tenants were moving in the other.

    But what are you going to say or do when you have 23 players you need to be productive to keep this thing alive and moving?

    Rather than the rhetoric, take a look at the moves management has made to understand what they are really trying to say.

    This renovation isn’t going to be done in six weeks.

    Plan accordingly.

    • Dirk22

      The problem is that everyone (except for some people on here obviously) knew/knows the right thing to do is to strip it down, sell off guys, accumulate draft picks etc. The mandate from ownership to make the playoffs has prevented this from ever happening so even now there’s no clear direction. So what if we make the playoffs? (which of course is a long shot anyways) How is that better for the franchise long term? We all want them to win a cup. Making the playoffs in 2016-17 does nothing to bring us closer to that – in fact it would only drag us away from a potential high draft pick who could be an actual difference maker.

      Everyone points to Detroit as the example where you don’t need the high picks. You know what? Detroit hasn’t been relevant in almost 10 years – essentially since the salary cap came into play. They had some amazing late picks with Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Datsyuk but their drafting has been abysmal over the past 10 years. Look it up if you don’t believe me – they have one of the worst rates of producing NHL players through the draft in the past decade.

      We need to strip it down. This admin has failed over and over again to gain valuable assets from what they were handed. Yes the no-trades have not helped but we all know there’s ways around that. Look at last year’s trade deadline…are you kidding me?? It’s an utter failure and the people on here saying you’re not a real fan unless you support this management are idiots. I’m a diehard Canuck fan but I want us to compete for a cup and I’m willing to go through the muck to get to that point – AS LONG AS THERE’S A CLEAR PLAN IN PLACE – something which this article is clearly laying out as non-existent. Rebuild while staying competitive??!!!!! I want to puke just typing that.

      • TheRealPB

        The only example of a team actually tanking and it perhaps working is Toronto. And they have the fan base that actually will sustain an intentionally terrible team for a year (after being unintentionally terrible for decades). I cannot think of any other team (maybe Montreal) that could actually sustain such a strategy and there is NO example of it working (as an intentional strategy). Chicago, LA, Boston, and Pittsburgh (the best teams of the last decade) built themselves through a combination of the draft, good trades, and good FA acquisitions. They did not guarantee themselves victories via the lottery (Chicago comes the closest but even they picked Skille and Beach along with Toews and Kane at the high picks). You can argue against the Canucks current strategy. You cannot argue for a fantasy that has not been proven to work.

      • You must have Oiler-on-the-brain. There are 7 rounds in a draft, everyone has a fair shot at the PK Subbans, Patrice Bergerons, Shea Webers and Jamie Benns that exist beyond pick #15. If you compare Detroit vs. Toronto/Edmonton, Detroit actually produces players outside of the 1st round. You can’t say that for Edmonton or Toronto. Detroit has a shot at the Cup every year…and how many has Edmonton or Toronto had combined in the last decade?

  • Dirk22

    Drancer, we surrender.

    Ryan and Vanessa, among others, are creating some great content these days; this “petbugs” gig has run its course.

    the job is done.

    the cow is fat.

    time to slaughter.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    Several articles out there saying that Canucks merchandise sales are way down and scalpers crying about low prices. Further proof that this market would not support a complete tear down rebuild. It is a business and the people calling for a gutting will not go to games or buy merchandise period. And once again the writer sounds like a Leafs fan trolling the rest of us.

    • Dirk22

      No? They wouldn’t support you say? Ask the leafs how merchandise sales are doing during their current rebuild. How much better would ticket sales be right now with Matthews to go watch instead of Eriksson? Not even close. The reason ticket sales are down is because everyone’s lost faith in the direction.

      • Dirk22

        I disagree. We are not Toronto. Our fans are way more fickle. If people aren’t going to games now they are definitely not going to go if you are tanking. And as we discovered last year, with the lottery there is no guarantee you will get the marquee player. And a complete gut job will take 5 years to be competitive by that time we will be relocated to Quebec due to lack of interest

  • Dirk22

    GC sucks and always has. It’s pretty funny reading how much they hate management by using nonsensical graphics that just shoe the OPs ignorance. Really devalues CA. Luckily the content is usually not too bad other than this garbage.