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Photo Credit: NHL.com

The good, bad, and ugly from Canucks GM Jim Benning’s first press conference since training camp

Today, Jim Benning sat in and fielded questions from the Vancouver media.

His club is struggling, the pressure is mounting, and the fanbase is unhappy.

Here’s a recap of the press conference today.

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The Good

There really wasn’t much good from today’s press conference, and you really can’t blame Benning for that.

He wasn’t asked any softball questions, and had to stand in there and try to answer some seriously tough questions to the best of his ability.

The issue is, a lot of the questions that were asked today, didn’t have easy answers.

The only good that can really be taken from Benning’s press conference today is when he was asked if he feels a sense of responsibility about the team.

But it’s hard to classify it as a “good” answer, as Benning deflected the question a bit by bringing up the Abbotsford floods.

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“Of course I feel responsible,” said Benning. “I’m the leader of this group. And, you know, like I said, the moves we made the summer I would have never envisioned we got off to this start, but we have now we have to deal with it and we got to figure it out. It’s hard. I’m not gonna sit here and say it’s not hard. It’s really hard. But you know, like, with what’s going on in BC right now with the people out in Abbotsford and the floods that they’re dealing with, that’s not easy either. So this is what we call life.”

In no way did it seem like Benning was trying to say that the Canucks’ situation is just as bad as the floods — it seemed more like he was trying to say that while things are difficult for him right now, there’s people who currently have it a lot worse than him.

The Bad

It should come as no surprise that this portion will make up the majority of this article.

The pressure is on Benning right now, and the questions today reflected that.

Benning pointed to the Canucks’ penalty kill as the root of a lot of their issues right now.

“I think five on five, we’ve really improved,” said Benning. “You know, our chances against in our five on five play. But right now, our special teams are hurting us. Our power play — we have the personnel I believe to have a real good power play and for whatever reason we’re not performing on the power play and then our penalty kill — it’s really hurt us this year, as was evidenced in the game last night — they scored three power play goals, and that’s a difference in the game.”

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“This is wearing on all of us — from ownership through the management team, through the coaching staff, and the players. I believe in this group of players. Like I believe that we’ve shown glimpses. We’re a fragile team right now, whether it’s, you know, we take a penalty and we can’t kill it off or, you know, a bounce go doesn’t go away, you know, we hit crossbars and posts. Like in the game last night for a good proportion of that game, I was happy with our game I thought we played really good but then at the start of the third period there we take a couple of penalties and they score on it.”

Benning added that he understands the fans’ frustrations right now, and offered this as a message to the fanbase:

“I know fans are frustrated. We’re frustrated. It’s wearing on all of us. We’re going to do everything that we can to, get this back in the right direction, winning hockey games and hopefully compete for a playoff spot.”

The Ugly

When his club was in a similar position last season, Benning said he felt that in two years’ time, his team would be “real competitive.”

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Today, we asked him about that timeline and if the timeline has changed at all or if he still feels they’re on the right track.

To that, Benning said:

“Well, you know, I’m not gonna comment on that right now with where we’re at. We got to just figure out you know, how our penalty kill can be better, how our best players can perform better how, you know — we’re a fragile team right now — how we can work through that and be mentally tougher. Those are the issues that we’re dealing with right now.”

Here’s that answer, along with his answer to our other question, in full:

There were more quotes from Benning that we didn’t include in the article, but you can hear them all by watching the full press conference by clicking here.