This past week can be something that can be applied to anyone who has been a long term relationship.
Sometimes a minor misstep or mistake will cause one side to lose their mind with anger.
It’s usually after said mistake or decision is about something that has been discussed to death, and although it’s small, the misstep in question just pushes the needle past the breaking point. Ultimately, it wasn’t that egregious of an error but simply something that seems like too much and causes the reaction to be much more than the single overstep likely deserves.
You may have forgotten to put the dishes in the dishwasher and that’s not a big deal but it’s something that you have been told to do a few times before. You were aware it might have been an issue, failed, and did it again after your significant other has opened up about how it’s a problem. It’s a trust or lack of awareness issue.
How does this relate to the Canucks?
Well, it brings us to the goaltending situation this past week.
Through a series of unfortunate events, the Canucks were forced to start junior goaltender Michael DiPietro against the San Jose Sharks and it didn’t go well. Much discourse has been generated about it and the events of that evening don’t need to be broken down more, as it’s not the entire problem.
It’s the fact that we got into the situation in the first place and how it got there.
In my opinion, the Canucks were smart to move Anders Nilsson to make room for Thatcher Demko in the NHL. But there have been reports since that the Canucks were pressured into this move by Demko’s representation rather than it being a proactive move. In part, it resulted in them acquiring Mike McKenna, who needed waivers to go back to the AHL and which meant they lost him for nothing shortly after acquiring for him. (Rather than waiting for a goalie to become available with some waiver exemption left.)
The organization can be frustrated with losing McKenna on waivers but it happened and you have to move past it. However, that occured on January 4th…and they were forced to start DiPietro on February 11th.
There was a five-week period where the Canucks were operating with two healthy goalies on NHL contracts (i.e. not in junior) and were walking that very thin line between being okay and screwed. Unfortunately, the scenario that put them into this bind came to fruition.
The Canucks have since rectified the issue by acquiring Marek Mazanec for a 2020 7th round pick.
There is an overriding narrative that Vancouver media, and blogs like CanucksArmy, have a real hate on for Jim Benning and the management staff. That as a collective, we can’t see the positive amongst the negative and then point the fingers directly at the mistakes only. But what happened on Monday isn’t something that only Vancouver media are pointing at.
In the long run, it likely won’t matter at all. DiPietro is excited to have made his NHL debut in what many expect to be the first of many NHL contests for him. The draft pick sent out the door to rectify the issue is a low percentage pick that was previously replaced by the asset acquired for sending Michael Del Zotto to Anaheim.
But it sheds light onto something that many have raised as a concern in the past, a possible lack of attention to detail and forward planning.
It seems fair to conclude that the Canucks were waiting for Mike McKenna to head back on waivers so that they could claim him, and their issues would’ve been resolved. It never happened, the Canucks lost Demko to injury and suddenly they only had one healthy professional goalie. Fast forward a few days and Jacob Markstrom was unable to go.
“He could have made a trade before this week, but didn’t like the prices being asked. ‘Some of the other guys on the list, teams wanted second- and third-round picks for.’ And looking at another AHL goalie, one with NHL experience but not currently tied to a big-league club, doesn’t seem to have been really considered. ‘There’s no one else really out there,’ Benning has said before about the possibility of finding a free agent.”
I don’t doubt in the slightest that was part of the problem but they were reacting to their issues rather than realizing that forcing a goalie through waivers when they had no one else could get them into this pickle. Once in this situation, other teams weren’t going to bail them out.
Loop it back to any of the other minor missteps in recent years and it’s a running theme that the Canucks management appears to be more reactive than proactive. Making moves to rectify issues after they happen rather than anticipating the worst and taking action to protect themselves.
Just like forgetting to put your dish in the dishwasher, it isn’t that big of a deal that they had to trade a pick for a stop gap. But given the circumstances and time afforded to rectify the issue, you can’t help but understand why eyebrows and questions have been raised over the past few days. It’s a bad process that can be hidden if things work out okay but if they don’t, then the issues can be bigger than they immediately appear.