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Lightning Round: Things are going bad for the Canucks

Factions are sprouting within the team.

2020 NHL All-Star Skills
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks and Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning look on during the Enterprise NHL Hardest Shot event as part of the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri.
Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving yesterday!

Since it was an off-day for the Lightning (and us), let’s talk about the Vancouver Canucks for a second. As a Canadian team, it was just another Thursday for them. The team is slowly circling the drain as a lack of confidence in management has leaked into divisions between players. Bo Horvat is the team’s captain and a Jim Benning defender (Bo, you’re making this so hard for yourself), and it appears he’s been completely isolated from the rest of the team.

Practices are a shambles. Rumors say former Bolt JT Miller has become a pseudo captain for a number of the players and the power dynamic between him and Horvat could lead to one of them (or both) getting traded. The Canucks probably want to trade Miller, while teams likely will be asking for Horvat due to his age and contract.

Oh, and Elias Pettersson is slumping with only 10 points in 20 games this season, so the Canucks are playing him on their third line with two, let’s say, less than dazzling players.

Here’s Elliott Friedman talking about the team in his blog. Obviously things are bad when he’s talking about things in such absolute terms.

“Everyone in the organization knows changes are coming. Whether in the front office, on the bench or on the ice, they are coming. The question is the timetable. There’s some push for a quick move, but also a realization you can’t rush yourself into something insane. One executive told me years ago you worry in times like these about making a “tombstone trade,” a deal so bad that it is remembered forever. I think that’s the biggest current internal wrestling match: How fast do we do this and what is the first move?” [32 Thoughts, Sportsnet]

And an article from a Canucks reporter at Sportsnet. I don’t know what Jim Benning did, but he doesn’t deserve this much job security.

“Actually, it’s hard to say if Benning will still be general manager next week. But he survived the crisis created earlier this month by an 0-3 road trip in which the Canucks were outscored 19-6 and some fans at Rogers Arena welcomed the team home with chants of “Fire Benning!” If owner Francesco Aquilini had a succession plan, we’d probably have seen it by now and it appears the Aquilini family may try to ride out another season and make a measured decision on their GM when it’s over.” [Sportsnet]