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Photo Credit: Audrey Mckinnon/CBC

Tiger Williams is less than enthused with the Canucks

This morning, former Canuck Tiger Williams expressed his discontent with the Canucks franchise as a whole. Here’s what he had to say when he joined TSN Radio 1040:

“You know, Linden was loved by all the fans in the Lower Mainland and in British Columbia, but he’s the worst guy you could have running the Vancouver Canucks. He’s had no experience, and to throw him into that job that was a bad decision by the ownership group and it’s still a bad decision. If the ownership group, if they don’t know what they’re doing either, they’re hiring the wrong people, then you’ve really got an issue. And I think they’ve really got an issue.”

“They’ve got a great coach, they’ve got great assistant coaches, they got good scouts, but their leadership at the top is zero. Willie has been a winner. Look at his resume. He’s been a winner his whole life no matter where he is, but you only have so many horses in the barn…they just don’t have the horses. I think they’ve waited too long for some players they could’ve moved earlier in their careers.”

“And another thing about Vancouver. How many owners have we had in Vancouver? We’ve had more owners over the years in Vancouver than most teams have pucks”

Transcribed by tsn.ca.

Well, that’s one way to put things. Last night, the Canucks fell to 29th overall after a loss to the Arizona Coyotes which was the team’s sixth straight regulation loss.

The Canucks have two games left this season and play a home-and-away against the Edmonton Oilers.

Currently, the Canucks have a 12.1 per cent chance at winning the draft lottery, and two losses against the Oilers would ensure that it stays the same.

Canucks fans, what do you have to say about Williams’ comments?

  • How

    Ugh, another person criticizing the Canucks! What’s with all the negativity? The Canucks are great! Our team is so young and we have one of the deepest talent pools in the NHL! Just look at our young forwards and defensemen, we have one of the highest goals for and lowest goals against in the league! The Canucks are a great team and we play to win, we have tight games every night and it’s a 50/50 chance every night! We’re winners and our place in the standings reflect that. Positivity, people!

  • Steampuck

    I’d love a bit more detail from Tiger Williams. I don’t know that I disagree with him. Linden remains an enigma to me: not sure how much he actually contributes to decisions beyond PR. And for all the dead-man-walking talk about WD, I’m not sure I see that either. Williams is bang on on that point. You can complain about deployment or play the kids, but he’s playing the cards dealt him. This team is inferior, but they’ve never quit, which happened with Tortorella (and a more skilled team at that!). The complexion of next year’s team will be different again. And, hopefully, with a really decent draft pick on board…

    • justmyopinion

      For sure this team doesn’t quit which is admirable. If some of these rookies pan out we should have a few more points but I’m thinking we’re at least 3 years away even if all the pieces fall into place

  • This article was missing the radio commentary that immediately followed after this clip ran about how Williams was contradicting himself. They have a great coach and great scouts but who hired the coach and scouts? Linden and Benning did. So it doesn’t make sense to say that they’re doing a bad job while being complimentary about what they’ve done.

  • CGY_Living_VAN_Bleeding

    In three years the Canucks have had one playoff appearance (should have been second round) and two bottom 3 finishes (hopefully in 2017). They are tanking! Tiger Williams has the right to his opinion but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. If you had a choice between him and TL to run your team, who would you choose?

    If TW and John Q Public think the Canucks suck, then TL and JB both know how bad this team is as well. You could argue that they’ve done a decent job of “Trumping” up their early season worth, as to increase ticket sales as best as they can, while tanking the hell out of the last two seasons come February. It’s a decent tactic as long as there is a full embrace of the tank next year. Next year says it all… if they come out again saying “playoffs for sure”, then people won’t trust it and they’ll just walk… if they come saying “there will be blood” and “we’re going with youth”, fans will be on board.

    This doesn’t excuse the acquisitions and signings of the Gudbranson’s, Sutter’s and Erickson’s because the tank should have started sooner but you could argue those were all for keeping seats filled during the “pain” seasons.

    Owners need to let the management stay intact for a few more seasons and see what type of young players are working out in a few years. I’m sure Chicago’s management took a PR beating during their reign at the bottom… Then you get lucky a couple times and the corner’s turned. Bad years are bad no matter who’s in charge.

  • wojohowitz

    Tiger was always good at self-promotion. He`s probably angling for the Mike Gillis approach meaning put him in an elevator with Aquilini for the thirty second sales pitch and he will come out of it as the new president. As for Willie has Tiger watched any Canuck games this season because Willie has been criticized league wide for his deployments and predictability. It`s laughable when Dreger says Willie will have no problem getting another NHL job.

  • myshkin

    What exactly does Linden do? Presumably Benning makes the hockey decisions regarding players and there are smart people looking after finances. As far as I can see, Linden basically is a PR guy and protects Aqualini’s comfort zone. Is Linden just a superfluous figure warming a seat? Does anyone know Linden’s salary?

  • diesel8019

    I listened to the Tiger Woods interview and I don’t think his “insights” or opinions were too impressive. Yes they are newbies at the positions and have made some mistakes, but overall this mgmt team has done well with what they were handed, and built so far. On the other hand, I think that Willie is an awesome AHL coach that is used to having mediocre talent that he makes work hard and get wins. He doesn’t know what to do with really talented players. It’s a whole different reality in the NHL, which requires an NHL coaching mind, approach and experience. He has been given lots of slack on the leash and he is hanging himself with it – we need an experienced NHL coach. He is a nice guy AHL coach and always will be unless he makes some major adjustments.

      • Roy

        Tiger knows real estate. When I was 13 or 14 I used to smash the pedestrian gate open of a retirement complex in Surrey that he built and owned (unbeknownst to me) – with the front wheel of my BMX laden with dozens of Vancouver Suns as a paperboy. It was gated, so that saved me jumping over the fence and activating the laser thing that let cars out. After several months of noticing it became progressively easier, then suddenly harder to bash the gate open (he obviously had been re-installing the locks), one day, a hand slammed down on my shoulder as I bashed through with my kinetically laden BMX. I looked up into the face of my childhood hero. He was initially angry but I was so scared he was nice to me. Tiger Williams gets zero flack from me.

  • DJ_44

    Listening to the examples Tiger Williams provided, and let just say he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer to begin with…..but he really does not have a clue, citing examples that were plain out incorrect. Glad to see the TSN folks on the panel attempt to correct his inaccuracies.

    ……it sounded more like Trev might have instituted a three beer maximum for tiger in the Canucks alumni box.

  • justmyopinion

    Seems like Tiger has some underlying reason for dissing Linden. I don’t see Tiger having the credentials to critize Linden aside from both being former Canucks..

  • krutov

    tiger is just mad because they are losing. he can’t grasp that they are the best late season stealth tankers in the league two years running. he is out of touch with the business of hockey.

  • FireGillis

    I think what it just comes down to it terrible players. Boeser and horvat are our two best forwards, everyone else is a bottom 6 forward. We also have by far the worst defense in the league, including Colorado. Now is the time to trade tanev and possibly edler and give juolevi ~20-25 minutes a night. Need to score goals, that’s the bottom line, need a defense that can move pucks well to do that

  • Dirk22

    Linden was brought in for PR purposes as the Aquilinis could sense the fam backlash coming from the previous couple of seasons. Bring in a beloved figure to put a better face on the franchise. It’s not his fault he has no idea how to run a hockey club. Now they’re caught in a predicament where they have incompetent management but can’t really get rid of him….Benning on the other hand will soon be departing after everyone realizes Willy D has nothing to do with 29th place.

    It’s almost like they should have started building for the future when Benning was hired. If only someone had thought of that idea.

    • truthseeker

      Except Benning did start the rebuild the moment he was hired.

      The problem is fans like you who don’t seem to understand that he’s a general manager….of his team….not general manager of “fan expectation”.

      You people think because he didn’t say the word “rebuild” in a press conference that they weren’t rebuilding…lol.

      • Dirk22

        Sure but now we’re just into semantics with the word rebuild again. Yes they’ve changed most personnel but for what? 29th place with a mediocre prospect pool.

        Rebuilding teams don’t spend to the cap and sign $6 million free agents. They don’t trade draft picks at a higher rate than accumulating them.
        Stop buying the act that this was the plan all along.

        • truthseeker

          It’s only about semantics to the fans though. That’s the point. He’s a General Manager. He manages his team. Players. Their egos.

          Is he suppose to say “OK….guys….we’re rebuilding….so you know….just do whatever you want on the ice.” lol.

          The canucks have the prospects they have. What were they suppose to do? They got the draft picks they got.

          The problem with canuck fans and “rebuild” people is they whine and complain but never offer solutions.

          The canucks have picked at the top for 4 or 5 years now. People whine about Virtanen now but at the time everyone was whining that the canucks needed to take “size” cause we got “pushed around”. Now they use hindsight to say we should have drafted nylander or ehlers. lol….had we drafted them they’d be whining that we keep getting undersized wingers who get pushed around.

          The other whine is that the canucks “should have got a number one center”. Like we should just get a McDavid…lol… OK….where? We can’t “just get” a number one C. So what the hell are these people talking about?

          Benning has taken the talent that was available too him.

          Rebuilding teams do whatever they have to, to get younger and get more talented. Risks need to be taken.

          And give me a break about the draft picks. Yeah, they’ve traded a few 2nd round picks (the most over rated pick in hockey….almost worthless). Big deal. He’s found a couple of good players. Grandland and Baertschi. Way more worth it than useless Shinkaruk or a second round pick.

          People whine about McCann but, D is by far the most valued position in hockey. A “maybe” potential Center who apparently wasn’t well liked in the dressing room and is now in the minors cause he’s currently not good enough, was flipped for a young huge D man that is at a least a consistent number 4 with potential for higher. You’re telling me Benning shouldn’t have done that? Please….

          And these morons think we should have taken the cheap shot Tkachuk over Juolevi. lol. Yeah…take a winger…the most worthless position in hockey next to back up goalie…who has 13 goals this year…lol…and might…might be a 30 goal scorer in the NHL over a top pairing potential D man. Yeah that’s smart. Do you know how many wingers score 20 to 30 goals?

          The taylor hall trade showed what wingers are worth. All Juolevi has to do is be a top 4 d man and we could trade him for 2 or 3 tkachuks.

          And the Erikson signing is fine. The sedins will be off the books next year and then start playing at lower numbers if they want to. Miller is off the books this year. Erikson will be the ‘transition’ veteran and his contract is not going to be a big issue. Plus a team needs guys like that.

          • Dirk22

            1. You must be new here if you think the Ehlers/Nylander miss is hindsight.
            2. Who’s whining about them not getting a number one centre? Unless you’re talking about Nylander I guess. One of the top rookies in the last decade.
            3. 2nd rounders are overrated ? OK. Just realize whoever they got with last years 33rd overall pick that was traded would be considered one of their top 3 prospects. If that’s overrated to you fine.
            4. You think the Flames would trade Tkachuk for Juolevi?! Oh wait sorry…you think they would trade 2-3 Tkachuks for Juolevi!
            5. Gudbranson – He would have been good in the 90’s or early 2000’s as a Derian Hatcher type deterrent but the games changed. He’s a bottom pairing defencemen. Always has been.
            6. Eriksson “a team needs guys like that” – why? Showing them how to win or something like that probably?

          • Carl Smith

            The solution is simple: draft better. Really, that’s it.

            We can’t be wasting top 10 picks on players like Jake Virtanen. Selecting Olli Juolevi over Tkachuk has so far been a mistake. If Tkachuk has a repeat season of bringing goal scoring, toughness, grit and push back to the Flames, Juolevi HAS to turn into a top pairing d-man for us to not look like idiots.

            Stating Juolevi will be worth 3 Tkachuks in the future IF he pans out, is absolutely asinine. Tkachuk is 19 years old, and has had a 48 pt season right out of the draft. The kid is a star. You’re crazy.

          • truthseeker

            1. Then everyone here must be an idiot.
            2. no he’s not. But nice try.
            3. Yep they are. Cherry picking one example doesn’t prove your point. Try using the math.
            4. Don’t care what calgary would do. tkachuk is a 13 goals scorer. WHOOPTY dooo! He’s not worth a top D prospect by any stretch of the imagination. And if you think he is you have no understanding of the value of hockey players in today’s NHL.
            5. Maybe….but at this point he’s still far more valuable than McCann.
            6. His numbers are fine. Sure we need more offense from him, but his advanced stats are good. No team wins with rookies and young inexperienced guys alone.

    • DJ_44

      Someone did think of that and they started the rebuild then. Other than Bo, there was nothing in the prospect pool. The message has been pretty uniform……transition the team to a younger core while trying to remain competitive.

      They could have finished higher than 28th./29th but they outright made the decision to finish off the season with new signings and shut down injured players early……there is a word for that……the word most wanted.

      The prospect pool is coming around. Lots of players under 24, with only the Sedins bringing up the average.

      I watch Utica play yesterday. Demko is looking very good. Big, positionaly sound, athletic. McEneny also looked good.Jake was solid (robbed on one shot)…but did not get many minutes. Subban and McEneny run the PP, and they look good, however Subban has some work to do in other areas (this is apparent at the AHL level).

      In other words, the pieces are in place, another good draft class and we will be on the way.

        • Carl Smith

          That’s the trend of this current era of Canuck “fans”. The kids today basically like to focus on everything Gillis did incorrectly as our GM, and give full credit to Benning for anything he does, including moves that Gillis made.

          The cycle will probably repeat with our new GM, once Benning is fired from this sinking ship.

          I’ve heard one poster nag at me with the argument that Benning is amazing because Horvat turned into an all-star. He also complemented Benning for drafting Horvat.

          Holy sh*t.

  • Bud Poile

    Poor Tiger. Thirty years have passes since his head was pummelled on a nightly basis.
    If incompetence was the case we would see a dozen NTC’s and no draft success,whatsoever.
    Where was Tiger four years ago when that was Vancouver management?
    Tiger comes off as confused,angry and a butthole.

  • BBoone

    Blackhawks missed playoffs 9 yrs straight . Every other rebuild by anyone took years . Canucks are doing OK . Some learning on job for sure . Willy D hopeless at NHL level game management . He is a junior or AHL coach where developememt is quite important . Canucks should start ” the kids ” in AHL . Zero proof that throwing 98 % into NHL is effective and often ruinous .

    • Carl Smith

      You seem to forget that the Blackhawks also have won many Stanley Cups, even before their 9 year drought. The Canucks have won ZERO cups since the start of their franchise. The Canucks are most definitely NOT okay.

      The management for the Canucks have always been absolute crap. The only thing worse is the drafting. As a fan, the only thing I can do is continue to go to games, watch and cheer for my hometown team. Hopefully, I will see the Nucks win a cup in my lifetime.

      • Seth

        Many? More than the canucks thats for sure.

        However I have to call you out on that prior to 2010 cup win, they didn’t win one since 1961 (ie still original 6 era), and even before that was twice in the 30’s. Different eras.

        Anyways, I think the canucks have a long ways to go and right now is a bit premature to judge the long game. However they need things to go their way or toil in obscurity for longer than desired. We are in denial if we don’t have a long drought of being really competitive, especially with a potentially impatient owner who traditionally never had a long leash for past management – but may have accept a marginally longer leash for the current ones – but only time will tell.

  • Jabs

    I’m trying to break Tiger’s statement down but it doesn’t make sense.
    In the first paragraph he is making a personal attack on Linden but doesn’t back it up other than to cite a lack of experience.

    Second paragraph is criticizing the lack of “horses in the barn”. Seems like this management group has done well addressing the NTC era that they inherited. Lots of guys were moved out or bought out and flipped for what you could get for them. These things don’t happen overnight and in my mind but there does seem to be some hope for the future but it is still a couple years off.

    Third paragraph, ok now Tiger doesn’t like the fact this team has had a lot of owners. Let’s see…Griffiths, McCaw’s, Aquilini’s, am I missing anyone? Not muvh I can say about this anyway, Tiger just wanted a soundbite.

  • Fred-65

    Well how else do you judge a franchise … wins and losses. If you use that criteria then management has done a bad job. Other teams turn around their fortunes a lot quick. The fact that JB/TL have had FOUR 1st round picks … half of which were high in the draft order and yet to find a “star” player only enhances Williams statement. I can’t repeat who said this but a friend of the Hunters ( London Knights) have already stated Juolevi is a top FOUR defenseman, not a top pairing. Virtanen may already have played his last game in the NHL and McCann ( compounded by the Gudbranson trade) is in the AHL too ( the Gudbranson deal made the McCall selection wrong twice) The best draft pick is Horavt selected by the previous management team and the best FA signing was Tanev again by previous management. Folks may want the current management to do good but what irks me is the choices made ( 1st time President, 1st time GM and a 1st time coach in the NHL was a recipe for disaster ) Personally I liked the way Yzerman did it. He wanted to do well and put time in the trenches before accepting a GM’s job. Not so Linden it was President or nothing. To me that smells of ego. These are all contributing factors to the teams current plight. Edmonton at last went to experience in fact experience and contacts might mean more in the NHL than other businesses ( small number teams ) How much the Aqualinnis are to blame cannot be determined because as pay masters they have the devotion of their employees. It’s going to be a long time before Vcr turns the corner. The worse that can happen is this franchise will end up a middling team for a long time to come. Never good enough to compete for a SC but never bad enough to get a 1st O/A star player in the draft

    • Bud Poile

      Boeser blows your theoryy out of the water,Fred, and Olli is not defined by you or some phantom friend of a Hunter.
      Besides the fact that nobody knows what Jake’s ceiling will be and Gudbranson (#3 overall pick) has yet to show his game it should occur to more experienced Canucks fans to exercise patience.

  • Faceplant

    I don’t have anything against TW, but predictable comment. He’s not wrong in saying that all that matters is winning. But that’s so easy to say and much harder to do. I look at it like turning around a failing business. It’s a process of assessing what is going well (valuable) and what is not going right and needs to be fixed and then working on those things and upping the value. I think mgmt has done a fair job in that respect, bringing in undervalued pieces and building them up, Bear, Grandlund, Boucher (maybe Goldobin). Those are all worth more now than when they were when brought in and will help to build the overall value back up. Eventually there will come a time when the team skill level needs to be rounded out by adding size and grit and when that time comes they should have some good assets to barter with, but it takes time. I think it’s fair to say the process should have started earlier, Guddy & Eriksson probably not needed so fair criticism there but overall moving in the right direction. The speed of the transition also takes some luck. Pittsburgh sucked for years and then had the fortune of a generational player come along when they bottomed out. Same in Chi town. Same in Edmonton. The right player can make the transition much quicker, but otherwise it’s building process. I guess for TW the process is taking too long but I highly doubt he actually knows what it takes.