It is with a heavy European heart that I must announce that Jim Benning is at it again.
As everyone has seen, and maybe even heard, by now, Benning was on the radio last week talking about a range of topics, including what they’re scouting for at the World Championships. To be honest, I have no idea why they still let Benning talk to the media. I mean, he lets more things slip than Donald Trump at a meeting with Russian officials.
But sure enough, there he was blurting out a line about how he tells the Canucks scouts that they want “European skill with North American heart even though they’re European players.”
Sure, it’s a throw away line, and I’m sure he even thought he was being kind of funny, but come on.
You have to know how your comments are going to come across back at home. At best you’re going to come across as glib and seen as taking a shot at the European players that have formed the core of your team for years. At worst, you’re also going to be seen as taking a shot at the North American players that might be your next core.
All to drop a phrase that doesn’t even really mean anything. Or at least I hope it doesn’t. I mean, this is a team desperately in need of skill players. With rare exceptions, the only way to add skill to your team these days is through scouting and the draft. That North American “heart”, whatever that is, you can get any time you want through free agency.
Seriously, the only place you need a good blend of heart and skill is in a cardiologist:
And if the conditioning of Canucks’ prospects in the recent past is any indication, Benning should be more concerned about cardio than potential cardiologists.
Anyway, there has been enough digital ink spilled on his poor choice of words so I’m not going to dwell on it any longer. What I’m more interested in is what Benning is doing to get the outlook for this team back on an upward trajectory. As I said last time, I saw a glimmer of daylight with the trade deadline acquisitions, but I’m still not sure this team has bottomed out. I have this sinking feeling that adding Goldobin and Dahlen was nothing more than a dead cat bounce. And these latest comments don’t give me much solace.
Since then, the results have been mixed. Benning did get Boeser inked to a contract and burned the first year, setting up the possibility of having higher leverage over him in when the ELC expires in two years. But he also managed to lose one of the crowning achievements that his defenders point to, as Nikita Tryamkin bolted back to Russia. I know I keep comparing him to Trump, but this is getting ridiculous:
And really, at this point it’s a toss-up as to which one of them will be out of a job first.