1- The Canucks announced this week that they would not be renewing the contract of the head of their Amateur Scouting Dept., Judd Brackett. Did they do the right thing, both in the decision itself, and the way they handled it?
Westy - Let’s deal with the second question first. I don’t think there would have been a “good” way to handle this. It was either sign him or don’t. The way that Vancouver media deals with issues leads to conflict from the start. Especially in the this time period where they are desperate for anything to write about. Throw in the fact that Brackett wanted more of a say on scouting and obviously didn’t get along with one or more in the department, made his leaving inevitable.
Did the Canucks do the right thing? I don’t know what right means. But Aquilini said ok, so it must be right.
Rob - There can only be one general manager of an NHL team at one time. I think young Judd got too big for his britches and lost a power battle with a man who folks tend to underestimate.
I would have preferred that Brackett had stayed given the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I think Benning would have also preferred continuity but Judd wanted too much final decision-making power for a head scout.
The evidence to me indicates Ted Hampson and Ryan Johnson pushed hardest to pick Brock Boeser, Ron Delorme was the first to push hard for Elias Pettersson and John Weisbrod has scouted Quinn Hughes since the day he was born. I think the scouting structure Benning has built will continue on without a blip.
Public break-ups are never pretty.
Beggsy - This is a messy situation to analyze because so much of it isn’t public knowledge. However, the fact that Benning and Weisbrod were making decisions in the scouting department without Brackett’s input is troubling.
Reporters close to the situation will tell you that Brackett’s voice was marginalized once Trevor Linden, one of Brackett’s closest supporters, was ousted. The fact that Benning and Weisbrod are pushing more people out of the organization to take further control makes me think the situation wasn’t handled all that well.
That being said, there’s a case to be made that since Benning’s primary background is in scouting, perhaps Brackett’s dismissal is in fact overblown. Time will only tell on that front.
jimmi - A dismissal in a teapot. Brackett was neither fired or dismissed, he just wasn’t resigned. The only flaw in this move, that I’m surprised the ravenous Vancouver media haven’t seized, is why didn’t JB trade Brackett for a 1st rounder. They have a scouting draft, don’t they? If not, why don’t they have a draft for scouts, coaches, GMs? Seems a pretty feudal to only have a draft for the on-ice servants of the fiefdom.
Kent- I think that both of these questions will become a little clearer down the road, but at first glance, it has the appearance of an organization unwilling to trust someone they put into the position. It’s naive to think there shouldn’t be disagreements, but from what we can see at least, it looks like Brackett didn’t get the kind of autonomy you’d think the position would call for. Ask me again in two years.
Markus - No, it was not the right decision nor did they handle it well. Benning comes out of this looking really petty and even if you think Brackett is overrated or whatever (like some segments of the fanbase suddenly have come to believe), it’s at best a smart hockey guy gone. Will the prospect pool crumble? Probably not, but I think it says worrying things about the process within that Benning won’t have a contrarian voice at the table.
2- The Chief Medical Officer of the Province of British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province may be willing to make accommodations for the NHL to make Vancouver one of the Hub cities for the league’s proposed return to play. Good idea or bad?
Westy - It is a bad idea based on the fact that the NHL is getting special treatment compared to the rest of the population, with little in the way of actual benefit to the economy. But people want hockey...even if they can’t see it live.
Rob - I am a major admirer of Dr. Henry. So if she says okay then I am fine with it. If she says no I am also fine with it.
I think it is a moot point though. My gut tells me the NHL will choose to go either with Las Vegas and Columbus or Las Vegas and Edmonton.
Beggsy - I don’t really know if it’s a good or bad idea. The rates of COVID-19 in B.C. make Vancouver seem like a good location, but the economic impact would appear to be minor.
I still think the logistics of a return to play plan are messy, from the months of hotel isolation, to the number of tests needed to make this happen. I honestly don’t really care if Vancouver is a hub city, the NHL just needs to make sure this is done with player and public safety being held in the highest regard.
jimmi - Would agree that its more likely the NHL want to hold the games in ‘Murica, because it’s Murica’s game now. However, with the increasing social unrest in the USA, probably best they hold the faux playoffs in New Zealand. Not just because it’ll be safer for everyone involved, but because it’s winter there and hockey is a winter sport. Or was until the NHL decided it’s not.
Kent- While BC has done an incredible job of keeping the virus in check (really, you should see the difference between BC and Ontario), I still worry about the rush to normalcy. However, I do think that a place like Vancouver could work, and could be a little less problematic than Las Vegas for example. A number of places in the US are not nearly as prepared for this in terms of where they are with the curve. At the end of the day, we should hope that they can all get this right in terms of making sure players and support workers needed to run this are all safe and protected.
Markus - Bad idea. Not worth the risk. The value of being a hub city is so marginal that it really does not matter and I would prefer they just go somewhere in the States.
3- Are the fanbase of the Canucks underestimating the Minnesota Wild, or is hockey media not giving the Canucks enough credit?
Westy - The Wild have that combination of guys who can score and also play one hell of a boring trap system, no matter who the coach is. The series will be determined by which team can get its legs first after a long time not playing. A hot goalie might be able to steal a shorter series like this, so this might be the make or break series for Marky. Win a series get paid. Lose this series and the fans may run him out of town because of their short memory.
Rob - If the NHL bends to the NHLPA’s will and allows Kirill Kaprisov to suit up for the Wild this will definitely be a close series. I’ve watched a lot of KHL games over the past two seasons and he is a game-changer type of player. If he adapts right away to the NHL rink size and game then watch out for him.
But if Jacob Markstrom resumes where he left off before his injury then the series is likely to be over quickly for Minnesota, Kaprisov or no Kaprisov.
Beggsy - I do think the Wild are being underestimated. They play such a tight system, and I think their counter-attack can exploit the Canucks. That being said, the Canucks are the younger team with fresher legs, and they have a game-changing goaltender in net. If Markstroms plays like he did for most of the season, the Canucks won’t lose this series.
jimmi - Since the NHL is planning to hold the faux series in New Zealand, in case you didn’t hear, it would depend on which team can skate better upside down. I don’t think I need to restate the obvious gravity-defying performances of our players.
Kent- I feel like the fanbase is maybe doing more disrespecting than the media. The Canucks weren’t lightyears ahead of the Wild in the standings, and there’s a pretty solid core of players there that could give any team trouble. Factor in a shorter series (best of 5 as opposed to the normal best of 7) and it’s hard for me to express anything more than hopeful optimism. Are the Canucks the better team? Yes, but not by any degree that we shouldn’t be worried about losing this series.
Markus - I think we’re underestimating the Wild. They were looking really strong down the stretch and that defence is actually quite good. I’m not sure Kevin Fiala will continue to produce at the insane clip he was, and I think the Canucks are probably the better team, but when taking circumstances into account I think it’s close to a toss-up.
4- What’s more likely to happen: The Canucks lose in the play-in round and win the draft lottery or go all the way and win the Stanley Cup?
Westy - Actually the more likely event is the Canucks lose the play-in round and get the last lottery pick.
Rob - Aah...the final battle between Team Tank and Team Playoffs that no one foresaw.
Will the Tankers cheer for the Wild?
It is not just likely but certain that the Canucks will win the Asterisk Cup and the Devils will win Alexis Lafreniere using the Canucks’ pick. So both...sort of.
Beggsy - Um, the Canucks are winning the Cup. If they’re ever going to win, it’s during this fake/COVID-altered season.
jimmi - I like Westy’s overly optimistic view. I’m going the other negative way. Nucks win the fake Cup and the fake 1st pick. And we all fake celebrate a ghost hockey series to not remember.
Kent- I honestly feel like either thing could happen. If they get out of the first round, this is such a crazy, messed up situation that they go on a roll and it actually happens. Or, they lose, and with utterly ridiculous odds manage to get the first pick.
Markus - Yeah, win the Cup for sure. It would be the most Canucks way to win a cup.
5- And finally... Skate logo full time in the playoffs: Yes or No?
Westy - Yes...and permanently.
Rob - I agree with Westy. Nicest looking jersey in team history.
Beggsy - I’m definitely in the minority when I say I prefer the Canucks in the blue and green. If they start losing to the Wild while donning the Orca (or the Stick in Rink logo), then make the switch. Until then, keep things the way they are.
jimmi - Agree with all of the above. But, since it’s a desperate money grab series, prefer if the Nucks wore fake Rags jerseys and and went on to win the fake Cup, before Gary B. realizes how badly his master plan has failed when the Nucks switch back to their skating-orca-stick jersey to parade around the empty (outdoor) rink in New Zealand.
Kent- I am Team Skate Logo til I die. DO IT!!! And turf the cursed orca forever.
Markus - I do agree the skate logo is the single nicest logo in hockey, but I think the brand is too intertwined with blue and green now to change (and that’s not a bad thing — it’s a great colour scheme in and of itself). Make the skate logo the full-time third for sure though.