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.
"The #Canucks have a culture problem and it would appear the captain is increasingly alienated from the group, if not isolated."— Sekeres and Price (@sekeresandprice) November 25, 2021
- @mattsekeres on a potential divide between leaders inside the dressing room.https://t.co/8QAzL1xGtm
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.
Some confusion setting up a drill at #Canucks practice, as Travis Green discussed it at length with Boeser.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) November 25, 2021
Appears to be a straightforward 2-on-0 drill, but the wrong mix of players was in various ends.
J.T. Miller could be heard yelling, “We don’t know what we’re doing!”
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.
#Canucks lineup based on initial drills at practice Thursday in Columbus:— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) November 25, 2021
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]