Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shinkaruk for Granlund

Thought I'd summarize my tweets from last night on the Shinkaruk trade. So here they are...

- Keep coming back to the fact Granlund was diminishing asset in Calgary & Benning still forked over one of his best chips for no reason.

- There was no reason Shinkaruk needed to be traded today. You had 2 more years of waiver exemption. Also 7 days until the deadline, where many situations could potentially develop. (Maybe Shinkaruk is a chip that could have put you over the top on a player you really want)

- Granlund has to be in the NHL next year. His NHL track record is not good at all. Why the urgency to get him now, or at all?

- I’m skeptical of Shinkaruk’s chances of panning out and I think there’s a decent chance Granlund becomes useful middle 6 player… 

- But the thought process behind this trade demonstrates a lack of competence. It’s not 2005, management standards in professional sports are a lot higher in 2016 

- Finally, I’ll ask: has Benning come out ahead on any of his trade or contract negotiations? 

So there you have it. My thoughts haven't changed much today. This trade could be absolutely fine, or it could be nothing, or even a disaster. None of that really matters though. Sometimes trades work out, sometimes they don't, nobody has a crystal ball. 

The problem with the trade is the thought process behind it. It's yet another transaction where this management group failed to maximize an asset or leverage a situation. This has been summarized by many as "death by a thousand cuts."

This is just one more cut for a franchise that can't afford to keep bleeding.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


For the first time in my life I find myself not cheering for the Vancouver Canucks. It started gradually - even subconsciously - not cheering a goal here, indifference there. It feels weird. A loss to the Calgary Flames on a Saturday night would normally get me right pissed off. Last Saturday? "Meh"

My first taste of Canucks playoff hockey was back in '89 when an underdog Canucks team took the powerhouse Flames 7 games. Mike Vernon's glove save and Otto skate were the cause of heartbreak and tears. In '92 the Canucks came back from down 3-1 to beat the Jets, I still remember the "Seventh Heaven" headline in The Province. The early 90's of course culminated with the '94 run.

This era was where my belief - that all you have to do is get in - was born. Just make it and you've got a chance at a Cup. When Harold Druken ended The Dark Days and put the Canucks back in I thought "yes they have a chance!"

A lot has happened since then, some great moments followed by soul crushing disappointment. Each year the hope of "just getting in" and going on a run has eroded. The landscape has changed, the game is different. (Hell I'm not getting any younger dammit!) Smothering shotblocking defenses and dominant possession teams destroy the hopes of Cinderella teams. The days of riding a hot goalie and some puck luck to the finals are over. You have to be great just to get out of your own division.

So that brings us to 2016 and #TeamTank

I don't need to detail it, we all know this team is not good. There is no hope of somehow getting out of the 1st round,  beating the Kings, Ducks, Blackhawks or whoever else stands in the way. None. Hell, the Canucks had their dream matchup last year and still lost.

There is some hope though. For the first time in a long time there are young players to be excited about. They're not all going to make it, but some of them will. There is hope and this fanbase, who is sick of one and done's, is ready to embrace it.

That is why this is the year to take a step back. The timing is perfect. The fans are ready for it, but more importantly the talent available at the top of the draft is tremendous. The Canucks desperately need an elite piece for their next core and other than an enormous stroke of luck, the only place to find that is at the top of the draft. It's easy to forget that while the Canucks are assembling a nice group of prospects, so are their future rivals. Even ignoring the perpetual lottery winners, you have the Flames, Coyotes and Jets all with a group of prospects to rival Vancouver (and more high picks on the horizon). That's just another reason why an elite piece is so important for the Canucks.

This doesn't have to be a 5 year tear down rebuild. Get your piece now and you can go back to the rebuild on the fly with cap space and the Sedins still leading the way. Do everything you can to make it next year, but for the love of long suffering Canucks fans, PLEASE take advantage of this season.

It's kind of ironic that the Leafs are in town on Saturday for another 4:00 PM HNIC game. Like many I hate the Leafs and have probably rooted against them in every single game I've watched them play. But a funny thing has happened this year. In a weird way a small part of me likes THEM! It admires what they're doing. The losing isn't admirable, but the acceptance of where they're at, the smart decisions they're making - that's something to like. They have a plan and they are fully committed to realizing it.

(As a quick aside, it's frustrating to see the Leafs assemble a diverse intelligent management group, while the Canucks ignore and then fire arguably the best in the biz in the area that is so obviously their biggest weakness.)

Meanwhile in Vancouver there's an organization, with only 18 regulation wins in 52 games, run by a GM who is not only talking about the playoffs, but also considering transactions with that goal in mind. Insanity.

Sure, maybe it's posturing, but so far Benning's been an open book.

In any case...

This season is already lost, there is no Stanley Cup at the end, so make something from this. We can handle the losing. After all, it's inevitable.

A loss Saturday night versus the Leafs?