Maybe There Isn’t Any Focus in the Front Office

There is so much to complain about around the Canucks this season, as anyone with a Twitter account, or an internet connection, will tell you. Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of it is justified. It’s also the hallmark of a very frustrated fan base whose patience is dwindling. While official numbers show it’s not so bad, actual attendance and TV ratings are a different story.

This has left the dissatisfied fans looking for answers. Was it a rebuild? Was it a retool? Was the plan changed? Are they trying to make the playoffs? The Canucks Front Office has not helped the case, by constantly changing the narrative they put out, and for some reason not shutting up about it either. However, my only question is: Is there an actual plan?

I’m not trying to be a contrarian, but I was thinking about it the other day, reading yet another article about if/when Willie is going to be fired. It seems I’m not alone either. My only reasoning is, if there was a plan, then the wheels have fallen off. And if that plan has somehow changed, then that path has also been a disaster. Here’s what led me to this conclusion.

NO SEMBLANCE OF COHESION 

As previously linked above, the narrative seems to continue to change from both Jim Benning and Trevor Linden. Another shameless plug for my post, and the Pat-Cast, but it seems like both are eager to speak to anyone who will listen. Every time they speak however, they alienate the fan base more.

From Jim Benning saying the ‘turnaround’ would not be quick, 14 months after saying it would be. Or, Trevor Linden saying he isn’t resigning. Now I don’t keep up on as many Canucks news and rumors as I could/should, up until that point I hadn’t heard anything of it. They’re answering questions no one is asking. Not the mark of being organized or having a cohesive plan.

SAYING ONE THING, DOING ANOTHER

There appeared to be a youth movement, but then there wasn’t, but then there was again. While they have a lot of youth on the roster, they go out and sign a 31-year-old Forward to play with their ever aging first line, only to watch him struggle. Then the rumors of trying to trade for Evander Kane, while not old, but well-traveled and with more off-ice issues than on-ice ones.

Then there’s the Curious Case of Jake Virtanen which could be a book at this point. Everyone reading this knows of the “we love what Jake’s doing,” “he needs conditioning,” “he needs his stuff,” (because UPS doesn’t exist apparently), and finally “back to Utica!” saga. Or the signing of Jack Skille and the Derek Dorsett extension.

Also, if they were into a youth movement, wouldn’t they want to obtain as many draft picks as they can? Especially with that aging core, and bottom dwelling in the standings. Yet all this Front Office seems to want to do is hang on to players who are getting worse, and they are about to lose for no return (previously Hamhuis and Vrbata; current Burrows, Miller, and *gasp* the Sedins).

FOCUSING ON ‘MEMBER BERRIES

For those who are unaware of what ‘Member Berries are, they’re a South Park thing. “We can’t trade the Sedins because of history!” “We can’t trade Burrows because of Game 7!” “We can’t rebuild, it’s not fair to the guys who’ve been here awhile!” You know where focusing on the past gets you? Nowhere, fast.

Look at all the teams who’ve had success in recent years. If this Front Office was running the Blackhawks in 2010 they would have resigned Byfuglien, Ladd, Versteeg, Campbell, and Burish to long-term deals, then when they tanked just keep reminding people “Remember that 2010 team?! Good times!”

Holding onto to aging players is a lost cause, especially when you’re getting blown-out by the effing Carolina Hurricanes! Granted trading the Sedins would involve a ton of negotiating, and taking on at least one bad, expiring contract. However, there’s no excuse for unloading Hamhuis, Vrbata, Burrows, and Miller. None at all.

“Oh but Hamhuis had a No-Trade Clause!” That’s why you go to him and say “Dan, we’re not going to resign you, and we’d like to get something for it.” It’s called negotiation, which, in my opinion, Jim Benning is awful at. I feel like he asks:

“Dan you want to be traded?”

“Nah I am good”

“Ok”

*Goes to media*

“Hamhuis doesn’t want to be traded.”

The idea that asking guys to waive their No-Trade Clauses somehow makes you the team no one wants to sign for is absurd. Dan Hamhuis was at the last season of a six-year contract with the same team, not in the first season. Things like that happen all the time. I could see if it was trying to trade Ericksson, but guys with those clauses get asked to waive them all the time. Terrible excuse.

WRAP-UP

This is not dismantling the Detroit Red Wings after 25 years of making the playoffs and winning multiple Stanley Cups in the process. People act like making Game 7 of the Cup Finals almost six years ago is something that has to be put on on pedestal and worshiped. It was great, we got close, and didn’t win, time to move on.

It’s tough to move on when your Front Office doesn’t appear to know how. I feel like ownership, Linden, and Benning are all trying to do their own thing, and giving lip service to the others to appear they’re all on the same page. Although, that might be giving them too much credit. I honestly think they are trying to do the best they can, but that’s the issue.

From what it appears you have an owner who wants to make the playoffs and sell the past. A President who thinks running a team is like running his franchise of gyms. And a General Manager who is a great scout, but has no clue on trading, and how to maximize his return. These are my opinions, and I hope I am wrong, however, if I am the results don’t change.

Don’t worry though Canucks fans. The organisation knows we’re frustrated and want change. That’s why they’re rolling out more ‘Member Berries for us tonight! Sure we want answers, and a cohesive answer to one of Botchford’s questions, but ‘member Ohlund? ‘Member the West Coast Express? ‘Member????? I ‘member!

 

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