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I Want to Know What Jim Benning Did This Summer (Part 2: The Summer of Not Very Much Love)

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Welcome to my Summer Series, breaking down the Vancouver Canucks off-season moves and diagnostically evaluating the state of the franchise. No big deal.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Yes. I'm leading off a hockey blog with a Boyz II Men clip. Hell, I left you last time with a Marky Mark photo from 1988, so really this blog is already sinking lower than a Brad Marchand submarine "hip check", and I can't really argue that I have all that much to lose. So, before I'm banned from the internet forever, let me explain why.

It's to help those that are hurting right now, because like so many high school girls who were shedding tears over their breakups to this song in the 90's, there have been an awful lot of similar sentiments uttered around the Greater Vancouver Area recently. I can tell there's a lot of pain out there, so who better to ease you through this time of loss that Boyz II Men? Wow, I can't believe I just typed that. Really though, I can hear it everywhere:

"I'll never find someone like him again!"

Yes, yes you will. You don't realise it now, but you will, and he'll treat you better. Because as much as you told yourself you really loved him, he just didn't love you back.

Of course I'm talking about Zack Kassian.

"How can you say that?" You'll ask. "You just don't understand him!" You'll argue, "He's sensitive! He's an artist!" You'll bargain.

I'm sorry. He just wasn't that into you:

"My time in Vancouver, deep down I think I could have [given] more, and they knew that," Kassian said. "But at the end of the day I'm going to a great organization. To be honest, I'm thrilled and I know this is a big opportunity for me and I'm going to take advantage of it."

That jerk. The whole time you were buying #9 jerseys and yelling at the coach on the TV to put him with the Twins dammit! -because totally the coach just didn't understand- he was only giving you half the effort.

Yes. He's going to move on, and while you might bump into him one day at the record shop with his new squeeze, and when this happens he might seem happier, rejouvenated, maybe he even lost a few pounds. This will be hard. You'll immediately be reminded of the good times, what might have been, but you'll have to remember that he just wasn't good enough for you.

There has been plenty of ink (and tears) spilled over the big, loveable Kassquatch. If you feel the need, you can revisit that here, over here, all the way down there and, well you get the idea. There is no need to go over it all again.

There will be plenty more utterances of how his "potential" was untapped, or that he didn't play enough with the Twins, but not unlike the young girl asking herself "what could I have done better?!", we must not forget: He wasn't good enough for us. Breathe in. Breath out. Repeat mantra.

All Out of Juice

The breakup that falls into the "Fizzled Out" category is Kevin Bieksa. "Bieska" as his sweeties called him, was the one who treated us "real good" for a lot of years, but in the end we just grew apart. We'll stay in touch, though not very often. Maybe we'll have coffee once in a while and catch up. You'll look across the table at him and think to yourself: This is a good man. I hope he finds someone nice. We were good together but there was no way it was gonna last.

Cue Boyz II Men.

"Juice" was for many years the embodiment of what many fans loved about the Canucks during their peak years. He was tough. He had a mean streak. He scored big goals at big times. He also happened to be the best interview on the team- hell, one of the best in the league. He seemed like he was one of us almost, just a dude doing his job. He also happened to be hugely active in the community, no more so than after the death of his friend, Rick Rypien. These things are common knowledge, and enough pages have been written that there is no need to dive any deeper on Bieksa's Canuck career.

However his departure can be seen as a barometer of the change happening in the organisation. The willingness to ask a man who pledged "To go down with the Ship" to accept a trade to a longtime rival, speaks volumes about the Canucks eagerness to move in a different direction. While it's easy to look back at the last 2 seasons of Bieksa's on-ice performance and say that he should have been asked to leave, it's not as easy to look back at the last 10 seasons of his contributions to the team, the city, and others and say the same thing.

It just ran its course. It was time, but we have that coffee date to look forward to.

Benning Just Isn't Ready for a Commitment

Though not necessarily ground-breaking news under any circumstance, the fact that the 2 remaining 30+ UFA's are receiving the "wait-and-see" approach to contract extensions speaks volumes. Dan "Bedroom Eyes" Hamuis and Radim "The Dream" Vrbata will have to do more than have eyes that look straight to your soul if they are to remain Canucks beyond the trade deadline. Hamuis is the type you take home to meet the parents and "Vrby" is likely just a fling (I'm really taking this relationship metaphor to its limits here, aren't I?), and while there's enough attraction there to want to keep them around, Jim just isn't sure he's ready. Maybe he needs time to discover himself a little more, y'know? Go traveling or something.

Benning is taking a risk by potentially losing two valuable assets for nothing if his team is near the playoffs come March. There is a good read on comparable trade values you can read here, but the jist is that each of Hamuis and Vrbata could be worth a 1st round pick, probably more in Hammer's case. Ownership is direct in their intentions to make the playoffs, so Benning has to hold on to see if they can hang with a much improved Pacific Division before he gets the green light to sell, sell, sell, but by not extending their contracts now he is leaving the door open, or in dating parlance he's "playing the field". There's a chance it comes back to bite him if he flinches (or Francesco Aquilini locks himself in his room and refuses to come out until Vancouver is in the playoffs, because you know that's totally a thing he would do) and holds on a little to tight. As the old saying goes: If you get too clingy, you end up alone with a broken heart.

(For the record I don't think that's an actual saying.)

Benning is taking some big risks this year. There is a big risk in going for Markstrom over Lack, and there is a big risk in leaving yourself open to a difficult decision at the deadline in March. For the heat that Benning and Trevor Linden have taken this summer (pardon the pun), I believe there is a plan in place, contrary to what the Twitterverse and even the mainstream guys might tell you.

I'll wrap that up all neat and rant-y like in the shocking conclusion of this waste of time summer series, but for now what I think I've learned about Jim Bennings summer is that he's been on a heart-breaking rampage.

For a team that hasn't won so much as a meat draw at the Legion in 4 years, maybe a bit of house cleaning isn't such a bad thing after all.