WDYTT: Post Vancouver Canucks firing spree vibe check/How are you feeling right now?

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
2 years ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet named to the Canucks’ interim management team.
Speaking of the Canucks’ interim management team, let’s not beat around the bush. Sometimes, it’s difficult to come up with a premise for these weekly Q&As. Sometimes, it’s not. This week is of the latter persuasion.
Sunday, December 5, 2021. A date that will live in whatever the opposite of infamy is.
The Vancouver Canucks relieved Jim Benning, John Weisbrod, Travis Green, and Nolan Baumgartner of their duties.
Replacing Green and Baumgartner on the bench on a semi-permanent basis are Bruce Boudreau and Scott Walker.
Meanwhile, a five-headed managerial team of Stan Smyl, Chris Gear, Ryan Johnson, Henrik Sedin, and Daniel Sedin will temporarily fill in for Benning and Weisbrod until a new President of Hockey Operations and General Manager can be found.
But enough about those hired and fired. You know who these columns are really all about, and that’s you.
Fans within Rogers Arena booed, chanted, and jersey-tossed Canucks ownership into making widespread changes, but it wasn’t only the fans in attendance who were clamouring for a new direction. Pretty much everyone in the fanbase was by this point.
And so, at the dawning of said new direction, we want to do what the kids call a “vibe check.”
This week, we’re simply asking:

How are you feeling right now?

Last week, which feels like years ago, we asked:

Are the Vancouver Canucks in any danger of losing you as a fan?

Please, as you read the responses below, keep in mind the drastically different circumstances under which they were recorded.
They are not in danger of losing me as a fan. They are, however, in grave danger of losing my attention until they can figure out how to manage their company better. In turn, if you lose my attention, you will be losing my investment. I will not be buying merchandise, attending games, or giving any revenue to a franchise that won’t give me the respect of providing a team whose crest I would proudly wear in public. How many of us need to stand up to these clowns to make them realize we are not a guaranteed source of revenue if they won’t ice a competitive team?
I have been following this team intently for the past 12 years, and really find it hard to stay invested. Mostly because it is inevitable that change occurs, and also likely that the next regime is as flawed as this one. Barring the sale of the team to someone else, the stench of this ownership is likely to linger, irrespective of which GM takes over.
Quite frankly I have begun to pity everyone in the organization, from GMJB downwards.
I feel for TG as he has put his heart and soul into this team and has never really had enough to work with. I feel for Bo Horvat, who has stoically done all that is expected of him and endured shoddy deployment for years without complaints. I feel for all of the RFAs who have been expected to right the ship without sufficient support.
This has become a sad team and it is probably in everyone’s best interests to move on.
I will watch on with declining interest and investment.
I will still be a fan (short for fanatic), but my investment into the team in regards to my time and money will evaporate until some faith is restored. Follow the lead that Montreal just took.
Ragnarok Ouroboros:
The Canucks won’t lose me as a fan, but definitely some apathy has set in. It used to be that if I watched a Canucks game and they were performing poorly, I would yell at the TV, to the consternation of my wife. But now, I want to watch hockey to enjoy it, and not be frustrated during these pandemic times.
This season has been especially disappointing to me, because I was filled with such hope. I thought the team would score a ton of goals, get great goaltending, and that would overcome a mediocre defense. I didn’t expect production from Boeser and Pettersson to fall off a cliff. I didn’t expect the power play and penalty kill to be such crap. I didn’t expect them to be one of the worst teams in the league offensively. I’m disappointed because my expectations were so high.
During Covid, I don’t want to waste time watching something that does not make me happy, so I record the hockey games. If the Canucks win the game or they played well and lost (lost by a goal, or outshot the opponent), then I will watch the game. If they get blown out or have a poor showing, then I’ll just delete the game and watch the highlights. I want to enjoy my entertainment during my downtime and not be frustrated by it.
Kunlun Red Star:
Not too much 10-pin bowling or wrestling on TV these days. Baseball, Canadian football, or even soccer are not my cup of tea. Hockey can be the most exciting sport to watch. As an original Canuck fan, I am always invested in this team. Even to the point that in the hot summer days of August, I will buy the Pool Guide. The team has been up and down, but usually provides entertainment on and off the ice. I think there is a decent core on this team and in the future they should not make any panic trades, just try and accumulate more draft picks. As we look around the league these younger players that the Canucks were not in a position to draft are beginning to become prominent. I will continue to be a fan, but do think its time for the Aquilinis to think about a coaching change and likely install a POHO and new GM in the offseason.
The team will never lose me as a fan, regardless of who the GM, coaches, and players are. I acknowledge that winning and losing is cyclical, and that a few good years will always be followed by a few bad years. In the late 1990s, Detroit looked like they would be winners forever, but they hit bottom a few years later and have been mostly bad until now, when they are crawling out from under a rock. The Canucks went to the Final in 1982, then did not finish with more than 75 points for the next ten years, but I stuck with them. In 1994 they made it to the finals again, but that was followed by five lousy years, including the Keenan-Messier debacle, and I still stuck with them. All through the Vigneault years they were pretty good, and it was easy to be a fan, but after 2011, the team lost its way. Yet I still stuck with them.
The point is that anyone can be a fair-weather fan and be front and centre in the cheering throng when things are going well, but a true fan supports the players through thick and thin, even if they are still critical of management, coaching, and ownership. So, I can be critical of some of Jim Benning’s roster decisions, but I can also be appreciative of many of the other moves he has made. The problem with most fan sites, including this one, is that anything that doesn’t meet the exacting standards of the most vocal fans is garbage. Slumping players? Trade them while their value is high. Streaking players? Trade them while their value is high. Team loses five in a row? Trade them all while their value is high. Acquire draft picks, which are little more than expensive lottery tickets, for roster players, Fire the coach, his assistants and anybody else within range of the dressing room. And, my favourite, force the owner to turn his business over to someone that fans approve. In then end, it’s just a game. Try not to make it your sole reason for existence. And support the Canucks. No matter what.
As a BC sports fan and a Canadian, I will always cheer for a local team or one representing my country.
When the Blue Jays or Raptors are playing in their respective leagues, I’d prefer if they won over their American counterparts. The Lions are playing in a third-class league, but they get my support. Ditto for the Whitecaps.
Consequently, as poorly as this Canucks team has been over these past several years, I still have an emotional investment in them. That doesn’t mean I’ll spend money on merchandise or tickets, but I still care if they win or lose.
Sadly, probably not. I’ve been a Canuck fan since about 1978 and have endured far worse teams than this one. I’m like a drunk at a casino who feeds coins into a slot machine with a belief that it’s about to pay out. On some level I think that the amount of time and emotional energy I’ve invested into that team demands that I see it through to the bitter end. Classic sunk cost fallacy.
The lack of leadership from ownership and everything that trickles down from that is apparent.
Honestly, I haven’t watched one game this year. I have 12 jerseys in the closet with more motivation to sell then to put them on.
Ownership needs to “lead” through change and hire someone with vision, relationships, and inspiration. No more of the recycled people from the last 20 years.
Once management has been found, they need to manage from the ground up. Support staff, environment conditions, and a strong expectation of excellence in the little things. Find a coach who thrives in environments like that. Someone who will follow up because they believe in the most of the people they have.
Ownership leads by providing belief, trust, and integrity. Management, manages within those confines. That means owners lead and create a culture and sandbox for the organization but the management team puts all the pieces in play who will best work within it. No limits other than culture fit. Leading and managing are two different positions.
It’s hard for me to watch the players and fans go through this. Captains like Bo shouldn’t have to. The leadership and management of this team isn’t a team. They don’t promote a core philosophy of how things get done. Everyone knows it. Every day of inaction should be multiplied by 100 to figure out how long it will take for fans like me to come back.
After all these years, I’ll still follow the Canucks as a fan, but am still a hockey fan in general no matter how bad the locals are playing. I still watch the playoffs and watch them hand out the mug, which I’ve witnessed practically every year for decades. Yes, I am a Canucks fan, but more importantly a fan of the game, its great players, and its history. If Vancouver stumbles and struggles, there’s no excuse to give up on hockey.
Craig Gowan:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
Fan is short for “fanatic”. That concept involves an absence of reason. My rational self does not govern my fanaticism. My fanaticism is like an addiction. Poor results do not extinguish this fanaticism. Therefore, I will always be a Canucks fan. Painfully, for the most part, I have been an unhappy one.
Killer Marmot:
Always be a fan.
The season isn’t over yet. The Canucks have a poor record, but by many metrics they’re playing well. If they can plug that gaping hole they call the penalty kill, and get Boeser and Pettersson on track, a winning streak is perfectly possible. The talent is there.
A River Named Curt:
I’m frankly having difficulties finding enthusiastic takers for my business’ Canucks tickets for the December and January games. I’d say, it’s the least interest I’ve seen since the flaming dumpster fire that was the Messier Era. By contrast, I’ve received a lot of positive traction from clients for a road trip to a Kraken game that I have planned for the New Year.
I have been a Canuck fan for a long time, since before they joined the NHL, and won’t bail just because of a losing streak. If that were the case, I would have left a long time ago. If there was a season to tank, I think this is the time. Canucks need a center and right defense this, and draft has a few in the top dozen. They don’t have any room in the salary cap to sign a free agent in either of those positions, so best chance to add is through the draft.
There was a reason why Benning said the team was two years away from being able to compete in the playoffs, because that is exactly where they are. Those who wanted or dreamed of the playoffs; time to embrace team tank, it’s all about the draft pick now. I am pretty sure the Canucks won’t be last. But to be in the bottom-six is not going to be a disaster, but bottom-three will be ideal. So quit setting your sights on firing the coach or GM and embrace the tank. Your other wish will become more of a reality at the conclusion of the season.
Hopefully Ottawa and Montreal will take revenge on the Canucks for the last couple wins to even things out for the race to the bottom.
If the Canucks are leading at the closing minutes of the game and the other team pulls the goalie, time to go to the Nedved play book and put Brock on the ice. No one remembers how the player scored they just looked at the goal totals. Look how much the Canucks got in return for Nedved. One of the best trades for the Canucks ever.
Beer Can Boyd:
I was eight years old in 1965 when my father took me to my first Canucks game in the PNE Forum vs the Quebec Aces. Saw them win two WHL championships the last two years they were in the league before joining the NHL. Went wild along with the rest of the city when Roger Neilson led that sad sack band of losers to the Cup final. Still my favourite Canucks team of all-time. Had my heart broken in ‘94 and 2011 by teams that could have won, and failed at the last hurdle. Now I’ve watched ownership and Benning turn the team into a laughingstock with the rest of the league.
But hope is an amazing thing, and despite the fact that we may be heading in the wrong direction, and years away from contending, it’s a bit too late for me to change horses now.
More from Stephan Roget:

Check out these posts...