Friday Rewind: We Beat the Leafs & That’s All That Matters

The Best

Kesler Reflects on His Canucks Career & Leaving Vancouver

Former Canuck Ryan Kesler made a rare Vancouver media appearance this past Wednesday when he was a guest on SportsNet 650’s The Playbook with Satiar Shah and Jawn Jang.

He has understandably kept his distance from Vancouver since the trade that sent him to Anaheim in the summer of 2014 under controversial circumstances. Listening to this interview, it very much sounds like the 34-year-old forward has matured over the last five years. After playing in his 1,000th career NHL game the night before in Arizona, the competitor in Ryan Kesler gave the person in Ryan Kesler rare permission to open up in a reflective way and share his thoughts:

On the pain he still feels from the 2011:

“Yeah, you know, I think… that’s the only thing I wanted. You know, when I left Vancouver, it wasn’t about me not liking it there or not liking my teammates. It was just, after that 2011 year… It affects you mentally. It affects you personally. I remember coming into the rink the next year and walking into that arena, all the memories just come back to you. And it was hard walking into that arena because, every time you stepped in, I always get that game 7, you know, loss back into my head. And I took it really hard. And it was something I’ll never forget. But, you know, saying that… You can look back now at the season and just reminisce about how good our team was, you know, up and down the line up. Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres, Jannik… You got Max Lapierre and Higgins on the fourth line… And our D-core, everybody knows how good our D-core was. And the fact that we didn’t win is… is crazy to me. You know, you look back, and you look back at all the games where…we were getting blown out there, and then we’d come home and win one-nothing. It was just a weird series and…it still sticks with me to this point.”

On why he decided to leave:

“Yeah, exactly. And I get why fans were mad at me – are mad at me. Trust me, I hear the boos. It’s tough. You know, I get it as a fan, when one of your players leaves the organization trying to… but, I know which way the Canucks were going, and I got a taste in 2011 and I needed another chance. My career probably would have been unfulfilled if I didn’t give myself at least another crack, and we had two cracks at the Western Conference Finals and we fell short both times, but, you know… I really cherish the time I had in Vancouver. It was definitely… looking back at the teammates and, you know, the fans, and the time that I’ve had there, it was an unbelievable ride and I’m thankful to have a chance to play in a Canadian market.”

It’s no secret that Ryan Kesler is not a popular guy in this market. He abandoned the only teammates, organization, city, and fans he’d ever known in his career to chase success for himself.

It’s often forgotten that, in the summer of 2010, the debate was whether he or Henrik Sedin should be named captain of the team. Most polls at the time showed the two of them neck and neck in support for the job, despite widespread agreement that Henrik was the right choice once the decision was made.

He was a leader in Vancouver, and at the earliest sign of trouble he put himself before the team and ran away.

To top it all off, he handcuffed the organization by refusing to accept a trade to any team other than Anaheim, badly hurting the Canucks’ ability to maximize the potential return for a star player.

All of that being said, though? This could be the moment where we start to see some of those harsh feelings fade away. As more time passes, fewer and fewer fans will remember the sting of the moment. The anger felt when rumours swirled that Kesler was spending his time at the Winter Olympics in Sochi telling anyone who would listen that he wanted out of Vancouver.

Despite the hurt he caused in this market, Kesler was a warrior for the Canucks. When he suffered an injury to his finger in the playoffs very early in his career, I will never forget that he demanded the training staff cut it off so that he could continue to play. The painful, extensive injuries he deals with today are the result of a player who physically gave it his all in every single moment on the ice.

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Certainly no one will forget his legendary performance against Nashville in the second round of the 2011 playoffs.

And there certainly is precedent for players who left under less than desirable circumstances to bury the hatchet. The nasty divorce between Pavel Bure and the Vancouver Canucks left an emotional crater where the city’s relationship with it’s biggest ever superstar should have been for 14 years. Today, Bure’s name and number are immortalized in the rafters of Rogers Arena.

If Pavel Bure can come back home, why can’t Ryan Kesler?

He is one of only 25 active NHL skaters, and the 333rd player in NHL history, to have hit the 1,000 game milestone. 655 of those games were played in the blue and green.

I’ll be honest. I don’t know if, as a fan, I’ll ever be able to forgive him for the choices that he made. You can’t change the past. But they say time heals all wounds, and this is certainly a first step in the right direction.

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A movement has officially begun:

I’ve been tracking #fireBenning on Twitter for a few weeks now. Until early February, there were very sporadic appearances of the hashtag every few days, but nothing major.

Then, strangely, there was a spike the night of the 4-0 win over Anaheim. The volume increased. And after increasingly larger appearances during games against Colorado and Arizona, it exploded the night of the 3-0 beatdown in Vegas.

#fireBenning was officially trending. And it hasn’t let up since then.

This is absolutely something worth watching. It could very well be the canary in a coal mine that is quietly warning us that this offseason could potentially see changes far more significant than we realize.

It means that after almost five years of almost complete failure, one of the worst management group’s in the NHL could be seeing the end of the road.

Aquilini isn’t blind. He is aware of far more of the conversation about his team than he lets on:

He might not always make it clear that he hears what the fans are saying, but he’s listening. As he never tires of telling us, he has always been first-and-foremost a diehard fan of this team.

Allegedly, Aquilini was entertaining sponsers in a private suite at the game in Las Vegas. He was rightly embarrassed by the performance of his team. And Benning and Weisbrod are both feeling the heat now because of that. Jason Botchford has also reported that ownership has recently begun an audit of the moves made by management over the last few years.

Pettersson, Boeser, and Stecher aside, it’s difficult to find any that reflect well on Jim Benning.

For most of the season, the belief was that Benning had bought himself time because of Pettersson. Even if the expectation was that the Canucks would miss the playoffs this year, Pettersson playing well would still be considered a victory. If the playoffs weren’t made in 2020, Vancouver’s 50-year anniversary season in the NHL, that’s when a change at the top would be made.

It doesn’t feel like that’s necessarily the case anymore.

Think about all of the pressing moves that management has to deal with right now. Gagner and Gudbranson are already gone, but they need to find a way to get rid of Sutter. They need to find a way to get rid of Loui Eriksson’s awful contract. They need to sort through all of the garbage on the wing to decide what to keep and what to toss. They need to completely rebuild the defence from the ground up. And they need to figure out what the hell is going on in Utica.

What do all of these priorities have in common? They are all problems that were originally created by this management group.

I mentioned in the last Friday Rewind that I have a real problem trying to decide whether Benning should get credit for trading Erik Gudbranson. It was objectively a good trade. A major problem was solved. The problem is that the only reason there was a problem that needed solving was because Benning made a major mistake in the first place. It is not a good look when everything your team needs to address in the offseason is everything they did in the previous offseason.

Yes, Benning deserves praise for the good moves he made. Pettersson is an enormous win. Boeser is an enormous win. Gaudette and Stecher are both big wins. But that doesn’t mean you can just write off everything else that has happened. For every Pettersson and Boeser, there’s been a Jake Virtanen or Olli Juolevi. Not that both can’t still be contributors, but these are top-5 picks we’re talking about. You simply can’t miss on those.

Quinn Hughes could be the best defenceman the team has ever had, but he hasn’t played a single NHL game yet. What if he can’t take the next step? He would hardly be the first defenceman who was taken high in the 1st round of the draft only to turn out to be less than stellar.

I’m not saying he’s one or the other. What I’m saying is that we have no idea what he is yet. Just assuming that he’s going to be a perennial Norris-calibre player puts an unbelievably unfair amount of pressure on a kid who is still just 19-years-old. And he’s still only one player.

The bottom line is that Benning’s greatest qualities are always sold to the fans in the form of his drafting ability. And so far? We have two great players to show for the last five drafts. Everything else is yet to be determined.

There’s also the matter of draft picks. For a management group that, again, has always sold drafting as it’s strongest suit, there has been almost zero effort made in their entire time in charge of this hockey team to acquire more draft picks in order to take advantage of those skills:

Just look at that. Does that look okay to you?

We are talking about a management group that has done nothing more than shoot itself in the foot almost every single time a trade or free agent signing is made. Is Roussel a win? Sure. Were Baertschi and Granlund wins? Sure they were. But is this team honestly any closer to winning a Stanley Cup because of those moves? Or are we just treading water in the middle of the ocean, arguing about how long it will take for us to drown? The draft is where they should be having the most success, and yet they make no effort to capitalize on that.

Adam Gaudette is a perfect example. Taken with a 5th round pick acquired in exchanged for a player who now plays in the National League in Switzerland. That was the last time a trade was made specifically to acquire a draft pick that wasn’t subsequently flipped for something else. And Mike Gillis made that deal.

Instead, we get Gagner’s, Eriksson’s, Vey’s, Spooner’s, Pouliot’s, Beagle’s, Del Zotto’s, Schaller’s, and… Linus Karlsson’s?

I mean, my god. Do we want to win a Stanley Cup or not?

Just ask yourself: What move has this management group made that brought the team closer to winning a Stanley Cup? Because right now we’re looking at finishing bottom six in the entire league. Is that better than bottom five? I guess, but is the bar really that low these days?

Pettersson and Boeser don’t count because any team with one of the worst records in the NHL for four years in a row had damn well better have at least one or two good players to show for it from drafting so high every year. Even Peter Chiarelli managed to draft Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the Edmonton Oilers. He still destroyed the rest of that team and will likely never work as a general manager in the NHL again.

So, what’s left? Not a lot.

Instead, we’ve had a series of middling moves or outright failures as Jim Benning has bumbled his way through five years as the general manager of this hockey club. Mike Gillis was fired after only six years, and he had a Stanley Cup Final appearance and two Presidents’ Trophies to show for his time in charge.

Think about that. Whatever your position is on Gillis, the team he built was a single win away from finally bringing a cup to Vancouver. And they had two chances to do it. Not one chance. Two.

And none of what I just said mentions anything at all about the team’s failure to “weaponize cap space”, or the beyond strange move to let Laurence Gilman go from the organization, a move which is far too often ignored and forgotten about. What was the reason, again?

Ah, yes. “Too many voices in the room.” As if the voice of a talented, experienced executive somehow hurt the team.

Well, now he’s doing incredible work with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks are paying their 4th line over $10 million a year to do basically nothing.

If anyone out there doesn’t grasp quite how bad the team’s record has been since Benning took over, here’s a fun fact for you: The most consecutive seasons that the Vancouver Canucks have missed the playoffs in is four. They didn’t qualify for the post-season in their first four years of existence as an NHL expansion team, and they missed another four in a row in the late nineties. This current stretch will only be the third time in fifty years that Vancouver has gone four straight seasons without playoff hockey. If they miss again next year, it will officially set a new club record for futility. Couple that with the fact that Vancouver also has the fewest total wins in the NHL over the last four years. Fewer than Arizona. Fewer than Edmonton. Fewer than anyone.

Like I said, next year is huge for this franchise. It begins this summer with the draft in Vancouver. It will continue through next season as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Canucks. The Sedins will see their numbers raised to the rafters alongside Smyl, Bure, Linden, and Naslund. Multiple celebrations and ceremonies are planned. The team will wear several vintage jerseys and debut a brand new 3rd jersey.

Ownership wants everything to be big. They want to be proud of their team. They want the respect of the rest of the league. They want to make the playoffs. They want to be relevant again.

What they don’t want is to be made to look foolish. They don’t want to be a joke. How do you think it’s going to look, as the organization tries to enjoy all of those incredible moments they have planned, if it all happens during yet another losing season? Can you imagine how Francesco Aquilini will feel if that happens in his moment of glory? I’d be willing to bet he’ll feel an awful lot like he did in Las Vegas last Sunday. Only worse. Much worse.

The best possible indicator of future performance is past performance. As they conduct their audit, what are the chances that ownership finally comes to the realization that that maybe Jim Benning and John Weisbrod aren’t the guys they want in charge of their team during such a critically important time after all? With so much on the line, can they be trusted to not screw it up?

Buckle up, folks. It’s time. The #fireBenning movement has begun.

Demko Shines

The Vancouver Canucks suffered a pretty demoralizing loss Thursday night in Edmonton, but it wasn’t all bad news. Thatcher Demko was given the nod for his second start since joining the team and performed admirably, despite being hung out to dry by the terrible defence in front of him:

As the season winds to a close, fans will be paying close attention to Demko’s play. The Canucks need to know what exactly they have in the young netminder, as a decision will have to be made this offseason regarding who the backup will be next year. Demko may be the “goalie of the future”, but he is also the victim of some terrible injury luck that has unfortunately limited his appearances in net this year. Stopping 31 of 34 shots and shutting down Oilers for most of the rest of the game was certainly a nice bounce back from his last start, a 5-2 loss to Arizona. Hopefully the kid can keep it up.

I Will Never Not Enjoy Beating the Leafs

With Wednesday night’s win against Toronto, the Canucks were able to keep the tradition of dominating the Leafs at home going nice and strong:

We also ruined their perfect record of 32-0 when leading after two periods, thanks in particular to a clutch performance by Dan Murphy:

Ahhh. Feels good.

Horvat Hates the Leafs

“I love beating the Leafs. There’s nothing better. All the Leafs fans back home, all my buddies and stuff. . . I like beating the Leafs.”

Can we just go ahead and sew the captain’s C on this guy’s jersey already?

The Worst

Losers in Las Vegas

“Worst game of the season.”

If you’re a Canucks fan, chances are you probably find yourself saying this at least once a few times a year. This year has been no exception, with a handful of games coming to mind that certainly fit the bill.

There was a 5-0 loss to the Penguins at home in October, a 5-0 loss to Toronto in January, and that 1-0 loss to the Ducks in February. You could also fairly take your pick of almost any game the Canucks played this year against the Sharks.

Recency bias tends to leave you thinking the most recent disaster was the worst, even if it wasn’t really. I don’t think that’s the case here.

I believe this was the worst game of the season for the Vancouver Canucks.

My reasons are simple. This is the game where the push for the playoffs died. This is the game that finally shook the faith of ownership in Canucks management. This is the game where an actual Stanley Cup contender laid a beat down on a pretender, and removed all doubts about what the Vancouver Canucks actually are. And what they are is not good enough.

I mean, just LOOK at this:

The Canucks almost immediately found themselves in the weeds as soon as the puck was dropped. Things didn’t get better.

The entire game was the same series of events stuck on repeat like some horrible remake of Groundhog Day: Vancouver loses control of the puck. Vegas has a high quality scoring chance almost immediately. Markstrom makes an unbelievable save. Or five. Rinse and repeat, over and over again.

That’s basically all that happened in this game. The shots were 48-19 in favour of Vegas. Despite his all-star play, Markstrom never had a chance. It was an absolute spanking.

Yikes, man. Yikes.

Sutter Done for Season

It was announced on Tuesday that Brandon Sutter will undergo surgery to address a sports hernia on his right side.

The expected recovery time for the procedure is 6-8 weeks; effectively ending the player’s season. Sutter had a similar procedure done on his left side back in 2015. The 30-year-old centre will finish with 4 goals and 2 assists in just 26 games this season

He previously missed time this year dealing with a separated shoulder suffered in an October 29 match against the Minnesota Wild. It will be the fewest games he has appeared in for the Vancouver Canucks since his first season with the team in 2015/16, when he missed 33 games due to the aforementioned hernia surgery, and 29 games with a broken jaw. The most games that Sutter has appeared in for the Canucks in a single season is 81, and that was two years ago.

It’s a real string of bad luck for a player who is one of the team’s best penalty killers, but it’s even worse news for management. With Pettersson, Horvat, Gaudette, and a likely immovable Jay Beagle under contract, Sutter looks to be a good bet as far as trade candidates go this offseason.

Dubbed a “foundational piece” by management when they acquired him, the Canucks have yet to see the post-season with Sutter in the line up. That’s not necessarily his fault, but it’s hard to be a difference maker when you’re hurt all of the time. A price tag north of $4 million a year doesn’t make him any better of a deal.

With a full NTC, the injuries were only one reason why Sutter was impossible to move by the trade deadline this year. Management should have far more luck this summer, as Sutter’s trade protection reverts to a modified NTC on July 1st. At that point, he can only provide the Canucks with a list of 15 teams he cannot be traded to, which hand-in-hand with a clean bill of health should do wonders for Benning’s ability to move him.

Dahlen Harassed on Social Media

This was one of the more disappointing bits of news to come out this week.

In an interview with the Swedish publication HockeyNews, Dahlen explained in Swedish that he was forced to close his social media accounts after receiving hateful messages from Canucks fans:

“I have not done so many interviews, I find it difficult to get messages from Vancouver fans. They have written very hateful messages and it ended with me removing both Twitter and Instagram. I have tried to keep myself in the dark now and focused on trying to feel a bit better.”

The 21-year-old winger went on to state that he had never asked for a trade. He said that he had only ever expressed to his agent that he was unhappy with how he was being developed in Utica:

“There are fantastic teammates and captains in the team, the guys are wonderful but that is the way they try to develop young players. It has had the opposite effect on me and it feels like I have been trampled rather than lifted. Instead of becoming a better hockey player, it has gone in the opposite direction. I have not been able to do anything offensive without being afraid of being benched if I make a mistake.”

Now, we’ve heard a few different stories about what exactly happened to the relationship between Dahlen and the Canucks. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Even if we assumed the worst – that this was an arrogant, selfish player who was upset that he wasn’t playing in the NHL yet and demanded a trade instead of acquiescing to management’s requests that he craft his game and prove himself in the AHL first – it wouldn’t matter. Behaviour like this is never okay.

We all know how social media can be. We all know how message boards and forums can be. We know how some unfortunate people choose to behave online. But stuff like this has an impact. It has a damaging impact on the player involved, and it has a damaging impact on the people in the city responsible. Other players see this stuff in the news. They see how players are treated here. They see how Erik Gudbranson was treated. They see how quickly fans turn on star players like Naslund or Luongo when things begin to go downhill. How some fans act during things like the moment of silence for Ted Lindsay a few days ago. The Stanley Cup riot may have been 8 years ago, but people don’t forget things like that. They didn’t forget the riot before that either.

I’m not dumping on all of Vancouver here. This particular incident may even been the result of a single, very motivated loser. What I am saying, though, is that fans need to remember that stuff like this adds up. It makes the fans, the city, and the province look bad. And a bad look can take a long, long time to be forgotten. People often joke about the toxicity of the media and the fanbase here in Vancouver. Let’s try to do our best to change that narrative, because it does all of us a disservice when the actions of the few ruin the reputations of the many.

The Revenge of Sam Gagner

Jim Benning is receiving applause from one hockey fanbase these days; just not his own.

On February 16th, Sam Gagner was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Spooner. Gagner has spent most of this season on loan to the Toronto Marlies after he was placed on and cleared waivers on October 1st. The Canucks had obviously seen all they needed to see in him, so getting an asset back in the form of Spooner was a win.

Why is this bad news, you ask?

Well, Gagner has triggered something in that tire-fire they call a hockey team in Edmonton. He may not be entirely responsible for it, and you may not believe it, but the Edmonton Oilers are actually mounting a late-season charge to try and make the playoffs.

Gagner has appeared in 10 games for Edmonton so far. In that time, he has scored 3 goals and 2 assists, including a particularly nice effort against your very own Vancouver Canucks that resulted in his 300th point as an Oiler:

He’s also been a godsend defensively for a team that desperately needed exactly that. The Oilers are 6-2-2 in that same 10 game span, including their current 4-game winning streak.

SportsClubStats.com is giving Edmonton only a 4.5% of making the playoffs. It’s not gonna happen. The Oilers only have 15 games left to play and there hasn’t been enough of a dip in the play of the teams above them to allow for much upward movement. That being said, NHL general managers often talk about making trades to “shake things up” when their current roster is underperforming. This is a perfect example of that strategy having some success.

Again, I’m not saying this is all explicitly Sam Gagner’s doing, but I do think it’s fair to point out that Edmonton and Gagner are both doing an awful lot better since that trade went down. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Vancouver.

Moment of Silence Ruined

And the award for the most infuriatingly awkward, sad, and disrespectful moment of the week goes to…

Just. Be. Quiet.

For ten seconds.

That’s all.

Don’t shush other people who are talking. Don’t yell at other people who are talking.

It doesn’t work and it makes you just as guilty for ruining what is supposed to be a moment of respect for someone who has passed away. Someone who played an important role in shaping something you love into what it is today.

Just be quiet.

The Highlights

Edler Burns the Leafs

Markstrom Steals One

Go Lei-vo! Go Lei-vo!

Easiest Goal Ever

Edler with the Deflection

The Forecast

Saturday, March 9th

It’s been a bit of a theme this season for the Canucks to get stomped by a team and then have an opportunity for payback within a week, with similar situations arising recently with Anaheim and Arizona. One of those opportunities led to a better result, while the other… not so much. The Canucks are 1-2 this season against the Golden Knights, who are currently 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They’re also flying into Vancouver as winners of their last 5 in a row. Needless to say, this could very well be another difficult night for the home team. The game starts at 7pm PST.

Wednesday, March 15th

The Rangers are 2-4-4 in their last 10 games and only a single point above Vancouver in the standings, so this should be a more even contest. At 7pm PST inside Rogers Arena, the Canucks will play New York for the second time this year. It will also be an opportunity for Vancouver to get a little pay back for a 2-1 loss suffered at Madison Square Garden earlier in the season.

The Last Word

There wasn’t a lot of good news this week for the Canucks. The final nail was driven into the playoff-coffin, a few fans made poor decisions about how to treat the players and game they love, a hated former Canuck made me hate him slightly less, and Jim Benning’s job may be on the line if these last few weeks continue to go poorly.

At least we beat Toronto. That’s all that really matters, right?

What do you think the five best and five worst things to happen to the Canucks this past week were? How would your list be different from mine? What are you excited about for the upcoming week in Canucks Land? Which game are you looking forward to the most? Do you think there’s still a chance the team makes the playoffs, or are you ready to start plugging away at the NHL draft lottery simulator?

This series is for you guys first and foremost – if any of you have any ideas for things you’d like to see included in future editions of the Friday Rewind, please let me know in the comments, get at me on Twitter @KyleChaters, or use the hashtag #FridayRewind.

Constructive criticism and helpful suggestions will be appreciated! Everything else will be mercilessly ignored!

Have a great week, Canucks fans!

  • Braindead Benning

    Great article. BTW, Ryan Kelser is a complete ass in both person(met him 3 times at the hotel I worked at) and the way he gave up on the team. However, as a Canuck, he did perform at a high level and was part of a winning culture and did give his best. I truly hope as a Canuck fan that JB can either start thinking about re-evaluating his approach on how to do this rebuild properly. The team is filled with holes just like Utica. After 5 years you might think that one of the teams gives hope?

  • kablebike

    I’d like to see an in-depth article about a subset of Nucks fans going back in time. 72 boos, 94 riot, 11 riot, animosity to recently traded players, scapegoating of players, social medial ridicule, insurgency against former and current management, moment of silence, etc.

    • truthseeker

      Canuck fans are some of the worst in the league. In terms of “deserving” success, we’re right at the bottom of that list. The embarrassment of all the white trash MMA wannabe losers who rioted (and they were canuck fans…don’t kid yourself) in 11 and similar sort of garbage who did it in 94. The constant self loathing canucks fans who predict doom and gloom just so they can feel a false sense of being “right” when the doom and gloom comes true. And even the paying fans who suck all the air out of the building anytime the team is in a tight spot. Again 11 was the prime example….the minute any team did anything that threatened the canucks the whole building goes into a collective sigh/”oh no here we go again…we’re going to lose” attitude that’s palpable. Talk about Lu being the mirror for that feeling. Other city’s will cheer louder during those moments and pump their team up. Not us. More self loathing. You call it a “subset”….I’d say it’s far more prevalent than that. The good fans are more than drowned out by those ones.

      So many other NHL team’s fans deserve a cup way before we do if it were to be based on merit. Whatever canuck team wins the cup…if ever…is going to do it in spite of the fans.

      • Freud

        LOL at truthseeker.

        Fans of this team deserve plenty of success. It’s even more amazing that the educated fan can see all the mistakes Benning is making, while he’s making them and call him out for it. It’s not a huge ask that your GM understands the game to the same degree as your fans. Smart fans know they deserve better and should demand better as a fan.

        I’d suggest the low self esteem fans rail against any criticism against the team, accept garbage, ignore evidence, make excuses and always justify the endless, mindless Benning moves that were nicely chronicled above.

        Fans demand success and should be critical.

        Losers make excuses and whine about criticism.

    • kermit

      I remember being at game 1 of the 2007 playoff series against Dallas. Vancouver fans started booing the American national anthem. It was embarrassing. Stars fans took notice and returned this put-down with their own booing when the series went to Dallas. I had never seen this before in the NHL, and it had started here in Vancouver.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        That same year only 1 month earlier, I attended the Senators game in San Jose (beg of March) the night that Bryan Campbell debuted for the Sharks. I wore my Canucks Jersey and witnessed dozens of Sharks fans all around me booing and talking during Oh Canada.

        Disrespect amongst fans most definitely did NOT begin here in Van.

  • truthseeker

    Much in the same way that canadians seem to have this inferiority “look at me” neediness for recognition so too do Vancouverites have this idealic “our sh….t don’t stink, we are the most perfect place on earth and if you don’t think so you must be an idiot” mentality. Which then causes the weird emotionalism and hate towards even the most minute perception of a slight towards the city, by any outsider. I suspect the vast majority of the hate towards Kesler comes from the fact that people just can’t believe he wouldn’t want to be here based on vancouver’s very nature. Cause you know…that’s just INSANE thinking. (Tryamkin gets a fair bit of that too).

    Having said that…the reality is, Kesler was a whiner and did act pretty classless in terms of dictating terms to the team. I have no issues with players who play in Vancouver but don’t really care about the city. Boeser seems like that type. You know his heart is in Minny and this is just his “job site”. Fine by me. As long as he performs. But Kes was worse than that. His actions would have been classless no matter what organization he was with.

  • Dirty30

    The Kessler trade is in some ways the definition of the Benning regime. He had choices — trade or don’t trade — plus if he decided to trade RK, JB could have said “This is the best deal we can get from this team, take it or leave it!”

    I will acknowledge that MG left the cupboards bare, but the choices JB made to “quickly turn this team around” have been as damaging and in some ways worse because instead of having top players on immovable contracts, JB has handcuffed the next guy with bottles m players on immovable contracts.

    Aquaman has no one to blame but himself for this situation and needs to step in and find a new management team that is more realistic about what’s here and what can be done to build on it.

    I’m at an age where another five years is starting to enter the “will I even live long enough to see this team be competitive let alone win the SC!”

    • MattyT

      Markstrom, Tanev, Hutton, Biega, Bowie Horvat and Edler who are all STILL on the team – McEneny and Gaunce still core players in Utica and Bracket, Hammarstrom and Thomas Gradin all still scouting diamonds like Pettersson from previous GM regimes… the cupboards were FAR fom empty… don’t be clueless and classless like Dud and his ilk all your life Dirty.

        • MattyT

          Zzzzzzzz change the record old goat, this one broke YEARS AGO… now could you FINALLY answer that burning question you keep avoiding like the lowlife coward you are…

          Were YOU cheering for the Vancouver Canucks from June 2008 through to the Stanley Cup final run of 2011?


    • truthseeker

      I do think that Benning could have been more strict with Kesler during that whole thing. Like you said, tell him to open up his options or he’ll simply stay here. I believe I even posted that back at the time. I get the fact he didn’t want a “locker room distraction” on the team but at some point I think you have to sacrifice that for some discipline. Plus, as big a whiner as Kesler was, he was still always a professional and hard working. He would have played hard even if he was unhappy.

      The part it showed me about Benning that I think is one of his weaknesses is in being “the nice guy”. That trade, and re-uping Gudbranson are to me signs that he won’t play hardball with some of these younger players when it’s time for their next contracts. Though he did very well on the Horvat extension.

  • Locust

    So without Guddy and Sutter to bash every day, what are you guys gonna write about…..oh, management.
    Zzzzzzzzz……same sh*t, different day.
    C’mon….just one more Corrado article…….

    • Kootenaydude

      Totally agree Locust. Apparently 4 years of rebuild should equal a Stanley Cup. If players get signed and don’t perform like they should. Perhaps the player should get blamed once in a while for not earning their contract. Every one said at the beginning of the season the Canucks were going to be near the bottom. The fans wanted our young players to get ice time and they have been. The team has shown it can compete with the best teams on any given night. Juolevi would be on the big club if he wasn’t injured. Boeser chooses not to back check most games, but CA will never criticize him. Players get injured and they blame management. How can you blame the GM for the way the team played in Vegas. When they showed how they can compete against the Leafs. The teams ability to win and lose this year is on the players. Not the GM.

      • Goon

        No, four years of rebuild should equal some semblance of improvement. Instead this team is going to finish near the bottom of the standings *again*, probably in the exact same position they finished last year.

        Benning just fumbles around – it is clear to anyone paying attention that he has no plan, and never had one. Drafting Pettersson and Boeser doesn’t excuse all the bad trades, the horrible UFA signings, pissing away draft picks and being at a net negative for picks over his tenure with this team, and being utterly incapable of assessing where his team stands in relation to the rest of the league. Every year he thinks he’s got a winner and every year he’s wrong.

        Hitting on some of your first-round picks and then patting yourself on the back for a job well done is not the way to build a contender, or even a playoff team. It is exactly how Edmonton has wound up in the gutter for over a decade.

        • Defenceman Factory

          Actually Goon to anyone actually paying attention the plan(s) of Canucks management are very clear. That said just because there was a plan doesn’t make it a good one and certainly doesn’t mean it was well executed.

          The two biggest gaps in the Canucks roster are a top 6 scoring winger and another top 4 Dman. These, unfortunately, were the team’s biggest two acquisitions in the Lindenning era with Eriksson and Gudbranson. Had the Canucks actually acquired players that were fulfilling those roles this is a playoff team. Acquiring the wrong players does not indicate the lack of a plan.

          The Canucks have clearly adopted a traditional top 6 bottom 6 approach to the roster and are waiting for their prospects to evolve into the roles. While that happens the bottom 6 is populated with mostly UFAs. Most don’t like this plan, I don’t. It is a plan however, none the less.

      • Goon

        As for blaming the players of the GM or injures:

        It’s the GM’s job to assemble the players, and to assemble depth. Last I checked the Canucks were around 10th in the league for games lost to injury. If the GM assembles a team of players who give up, and a roster with no NHL-level talent to replace players when *inevitable* injuries strike, that’s 100% on the GM.

        • MattyT

          Here we go again – Goon *flooding* another tthread with multiple rambling comments and snark. Go outside guy, get some air – or are you a shut-in? Seriously wtf.

        • Kootenaydude

          So what you’re trying to say is it’s Bennings fault the team didn’t show up in Vegas? Yet he doesn’t deserve credit for the team beating Toronto. You’re basically saying the players have no accountability for their play. The coach couldn’t get his players up for this game and you blame the GM? Every one knew this was going to take time. I do not want Benning rushing the process just to please impatient fans. I don’t want the fans setting the goal of making the playoffs when the goal should be to win a Stanley Cup. This team is one stud forward (Tarasenko would have been a steal earlier in the season) and one stud RHD from being competitive. This is just a negative article from a negative writer.

    • MattyT

      wah wah wah —— FFS how many more years of WHINE are you gonna inflict on CA you sad little nobody, This is YEAR FOUR now. No life?

      Seriously – what exactly is your agenda here, “if i whine enough CA will change to a cheerleader and i win”??? yeah, in your dreams… now, off you go, humiliated, humbled… and WHINING.

        • SeattleSockeye

          Not funny but beyond SAD is this…

          4 years ago

          TRASH IT! 12
          CHEERS 2

          “12 troll comments out of 23 total – so far.
          This site has become a total joke.”

          *FOUR* years ago… same pathetic WHINE… wtf. Again loser, what’s YOUR agenda?? Pstttttttttt it hasn’t worked, it never will.

          Hang em up kid, you are done like dinner. FOUR years lol

  • Goon

    Re: Kesler:

    I don’t understand the attitude many (most?) fans have toward hockey players – they act like they’re indentured servants and that the team or the market owns them. The draft is a sham – how would you feel if after you graduated highschool, someone steps and and says “I own you now, you’re moving 500 miles away to play in a different city where you know no one, and you have no say in the matter for eight years”. It’s ridiculous. Kesler has a right to play where he wants to play – Vancouver didn’t own him, and he played his ass off when he was with the Canucks. No one can question his compete level night in and night out – he practically destroyed his body with how hard he played for this team.

    All that being said, if a player with a no-move or no-trade clause requests a trade, it should immediately void that clause.

    • North Van Halen

      You don’t understand why we think Kesler’s a dick when he quit the team, told them he wouldn’t show up for training camp, and demanded he be traded to only 2 teams (1 of which Pitt couldn’t afford him) causing us to get 50 cents on the dollar in a trade and basically gave the middle finger to a team and fan base that had done nothing but pay him well and revere him?
      Yeah, hard to figure. Let me think about it that.

        • truthseeker

          Yep. Let him sit out. I think Yzerman is a bit over rated as a GM but what he did with Drouin was fantastic from a team’s perspective. I don’t think Benning is capable of being that hard with players. Most NHL GM’s are weak in this area. To much “nice guy” attitude. Even Dubas didn’t have the stones to simply sit on his own number and let Nylander sit out for the entire year. He should have. And Benning should have too. “Give us more trade options or we’re not trading you. Your choice.”

          Having said that, I do agree with the first part of what Goon said, that the whole system of control over players is quite a disgusting system. And the NHL is particularly bad with things like no free agency until your in your mid to late 20’s and capped rookie contracts. It’s ridiculous. EP should be getting 4 or 5 million in basic salary for this season based on his performance. Kesler though, signed a contract of his own free will. That contract had a term of service with the Vancouver canucks. Yes he has a right to ask for a trade, but the team is under no obligation to honor that request. He has a right to play wherever he wants when he chooses to sign with a team. He does not have that right when he’s finished signing a contract. Then he’s obligated to the terms of said contract.

  • speering major

    All the Benning hate is far overblown at this point. He does deserve some criticism but almost none of it has to do with the rebuild. Most of it is focused on his current roster moves and FA signings. The guy has to ice a team and has made some poor signings to make that happen. He’s had a couple decent ones and some decent trades but overall he get’s a C- there

    As far as the rebuild goes and acquiring picks, he’s also been in a tough spot there and its also tough to see where pressure and luck (bad) have played a part. Benning publicly stated he had a first rounder on the table for Hamhuis and ownership got involved and botched the deal. Benning was looking to move Tanev when his value was higher but Tryamkin took off and they didn’t have anything on the right side. Then Tanev continued to get injured and decline. I would have moved Tanev early (I said so, not just in hindsight) anyways but the situation was made worse for Benning and part of that was bad fortune. Same with Sutter. I would have made a move last deadline when the phone was ringing. Bennings problem was that he was so paper thin down the middle that even after signing Beagle they are still thin. Benning was trying to build a group of players in the 22ish range since he got here. The organization was empty there. On paper this is a solid plan. Fill an organizational hole while rebuilding. Harvest a player or two that is part of the solution and another couple that can be flipped for futures. Guys like Granlund have fizzled and Baertschi has had health issues but that was the right idea. Gudbranson was a bust but Stetcher was found money

    The issue with Benning not getting picks is true but it should also be pointed out that picks aren’t being thrown around as much as they used to be and Benning hasn’t had the assets to acquire them.

    Bennings Draft record is too early to finalize but I think he has done well. He has had poor lottery luck which has hurt him badly. Oli is still a question mark but if the lottery balls drop differently we aren’t even looking at this situation. Benning was also keen on Dubious. Petterson and Boeser are straight up home runs performing way above their draft position. Hughes might be the same. If Demko becomes a #1, there’s another home run. Then there’s too much to speculate on Oli, Woo, Gaudette, Lind, Madden, Rathbone, etc to grade Benning on.

    The Canucks have 4 pieces for the rebuild in place IMO. Petterson, Horvat, Boeser, and Hughes. A little lottery luck this year and a key signing on D could put the team in a position to have 6 core pieces to build around with a stacked group of prospects to have some depth emerge. Benning still deserves a chance imo

  • North Van Halen

    Benning’s employment definitely should be a matter of debate. Honestly, when I heard him say at the deadline he essentially wasn’t looking to add picks when guys like Pouliot and Granlund should be shopped for exacly that makes me want to know who’s direction that is, his or Aquillini’s. If this is his, then direction then he needs to go. Draft picks are the capital to build, through picks and trades, a failure to realize this is unforgivable.
    That said, why does this writer need to be so full of it. His comparison of Benning and Gillis is so fictional, it borders on straight delusion. Comparing Benning’s 5 year to Gillis tenure is asinine. Gillis walked into the greatest core in Canuck history and in the 1st couple of years did great work to add to it. Ehrhoff, Higgins, Lapierre, Malholtra, were all excellent additions. Then came the next few years. Booth was awful, the Ballard trade every bit as egregious as Guddy: Grabner & a 1st (2 – 1sts) for a guy benched throughout the playoffs, Torterella & the Heritage Classic fiasco. Gillis was awful the last 3 years and had to go. Benning walked into a disaster, with NTC’s everywhere & an owner demand he compete not tear it down. Comparing the 2 tenures is like comaring apples and roast beef, they are so far disconnected.
    Then to say Gilman is doing incredible work in Toronto?!?!! Hahahahaha, is that comedy? Nylander looks way over paid, Mathews & Tavares are both paid fair value & waiting on Marner looks like it’s going to lead to the departure of Kapanen, Johannson & Reilly unless they want to be big fat liars and try to move Nylander after swearing they wouldn’t. I’m not saying he’s done anything wrong but it’s far from incredible.

    • kermit

      Agreed. Benning’s Gudbranson trade is like Gillis’s Ballard trade. His Gagner signing is like the Garrison signing. There was a logic to signing Ericksen because ownership wanted to rebuild on the fly. The same goes for the Ryan Miller signing. Gillis was handed the reins to an elite team, Benning was handed a boat anchor. I think he may have been slow to notice how the league was changing from size to speed, and I think he’s not enough of a poker player when it comes to negotiating with the agents for UFA’s. Sometimes you just have to fold them. Yes this is a results based business, but whether you think we are 3 years or 5 years into a full rebuild, it’s still way too soon to be talking about running him out of town.

  • KCasey

    I have to say its a slight stretch to say that our entire defence needs a top to bottom overhaul as if we somehow don’t have a single defensive player on our team. Admittedly it’s not a great back end but we hardly need an entire new collection of 7+ players. All of Hutton, Stetcher, Edler and Tanev are top 4 defenders on almost every NHL team and Edler and Tanev can tread water on a top pairing for many others. Your 5/6 pairing isnt an world ending disaster if they are borderline replacement level. This is obviously all said with the caveat that naturally we want and need a a better Day core, mainly a shoe in number one guy, but not a single team couldn’t argue the same case for themselves. Every team wants and needs another top Dman. This isn’t a revelation.

    • Bud Poile

      Green would not defend Pouliot after the last game.
      He deferred to the player to comment.I see Pouliot as being toast and suggesting another team would have coughed up a draft pick of significance for him is wishful thinking,at best.
      With Hughes signing within days now,Guddy gone,Edler back and Tanev coming I expect the Canucks to show well down the stretch.
      What’s missing is a #1 RHD and Benning has long and short acknowledged this fact.
      Baertschi was missed dearly this season.

      • MattyT

        But… but

        “The team is rebuilt and competitive within just two down years. From talent waster/franchise destroyer to rebuilt,exciting hockey squad in record time.” – Bud Poile 2017

        and… and

        “The only thing that matters is the playoffs” – Dud Poile

        How’s that workin out for ya????????????? *mic drop*

        • Bud Poile

          PQW,the banned troll and chief Gillis circle jerker shows up with yet more gel.
          Two tired hands and a mouth you barely speak out of sideways is your reward and lot in life.
          The author stating that Gagner is a “defensive godsend” made for another good PQW chuckle.

  • IF

    Remember, it was only last year that Linden was pushing for a complete REBUILD after three years of refusing to use that word.
    Linden then mysteriously walked away from his job and insiders were suggesting a power struggle with Aquillini. Benning was reported to be siding with ownership when all of a sudden Aquillini,
    to save face, begins suggesting that he supports building through the draft. Bottom line, Benning has always been loyal to the guy who writes the cheques and that guy is only 18 months into accepting a rebuild. Not five years as the author suggests. Changing the gm at this point ignores ownerships heavy hand in the teams management practices and directives. Jimbo could use some help in negotiating contracts and needs to be less of a yes man. I doubt that he has the vision to be a great gm but don’t fire the guy just when he gets the freedom to do it right. Besides, Yzerman is not likely available.

    • truthseeker

      Being loyal to the guy writing the checks is smart. Why wouldn’t you be? That isn’t a regular job. There are only 31 of them in the league. It’s not like you’re working at McDonald’s and can go get a Starbucks job if it doesn’t workout or you don’t like your boss. Benning would be stupid to not do what Aquillini says. If Aquillini is a “meddling” owner then that’s what he is and everyone is just going to have to live with that.