Secret meetings discovered. Factions formed as ownership ponders radical change. The forging of alliances as people try to keep their jobs. Is this some prime time soap opera about the inner workings of some company? No, it’s the new normal for the Vancouver Canucks, apparently.
On his most recent 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman spoke about this:
Elliotte saying Canucks org is tense right now. Everybody is looking around at each other and waiting to see if it's going to be an executive, coach or player move.— Taj (@taj1944) November 22, 2021
Mentions how there are factions developing and people are starting to align with people who they think are safe.
Something’s got to give in this situation, that much is clear. The problem is, there’re so many options, and none of them are too outlandish to be dismissed. Friedman and Jeff Marek referred to the situation as being like Game of Thrones, but it feels more like a prime-time soap like Dallas. Let’s just hope no one gets shot.
This empire is run by Francesco, and while he has people to run the operations of his investment, he continues to get his hands all over the day to day machinations, with disastrous effect. The men in charge of it all, Jim Benning and John Weisbrod, are bumbling fools that miraculously have their jobs despite constant failure. Is there something that they know about Francesco that keeps him from doing what everyone else would consider logical and firing these two into the sun?
There’s Travis, the flawed but sympathetic middleman, destined to be the fall guy for Benning. He’s not perfect, and certainly not without blame, but you can see that much of his trouble comes from not being given the tools to succeed by those above him.
We have all the side drama of the players. Bo, the now beleaguered captain, who had reportedly told the team to get it’s shit together. Elias, the golden child, who appears to be falling from grace. New employees brought in to try and shake things up make no difference, and in order to try and salvage what is already looking like a lost season, we hear that the fiery JT could be traded, but should Benning be the one making trades when his job is clearly hanging by a thread?
And how would the others react to see the one who has arguably been their best skater this season so far? The tension of it all rivals anything you can see on television. And how will all this end? The next few er... episodes should see which of these potential plot twists rears its head.
The Canucks have Pittsburgh and Columbus this week, before a back to back in Boston and Montreal on Sunday and Monday. I can’t imagine Travis Green keeping his job without at least splitting these four games. What will Francesco do? Does he push Benning to fire Green first, hoping new faces behind the bench can somehow get a different result from the ones in front of them? Or does he realize the change has to start at the top, and the arduous task of trying to break down this mess and remake it into an NHL team once again has to begin immediately?
The biggest fear is that Benning is allowed to alter the lineup before he leaves, which would be outrageous. He made multiple moves this past summer, all designed to make this team a legitimate contender for a playoff spot. The news that he was taken by surprise by the way this team has played, despite many warning that this team would not be any better than last season, surely has to be what seals his fate.