The trade deadline has past and like all years, whether there was movement or not, Canuck Twitter lost its collective minds and brought out the pitchfork. The target…Jim Benning.
I know….what a shock. After so many years of bad contracts and questionable trades, Jim should expect this. I am not here to defend Jim Benning and his tenure. I will say that Jim does spend a lot of time cleaning up the mess of another individual though. I am referring to the luckiest man in Canuck land…Travis Green.
I am still trying to figure out how the narrative “Benning bad, Green good” The two are linked together. Benning didn’t put this team together by himself or with a Ouija board, he had lots of input from scouts and his coaching staff. Travis Green evaluates his players every single practice and game and gets to place them in the lineup anyway he wants. And while he has had this power, he has a winning pct of.494. (Willie was .498 in his 3 years)
And yet Travis Green can seem to do no wrong. “It’s not his fault that Benning picks these guys!” Really? Do you really think this is how an NHL team works? GM picks all players and coach gets no say? That would be a real dysfunctional relationship. And if reporters believe this to be true, why don’t they ask that question to Travis Green? “Travis, are you onboard with the Gaudette trade?” It’s a simple question, that could be answered in a yes or no style. But we’ll never get that question asked by a Canuck reporter. The fear that Green won’t ever answer your question again, or the Canucks won’t let you in another Zoom call stops reporters from asking. Reporters would rather stick with narrative that gets them less hassle online and a spot in line for the next conference.
Will we ever know what really happened with Gaudette? Probably not, but some would say he was un-coachable. Unable to learn the defensive role that had been asked of him. It’s almost the same argument that some have used against Jake. But the un-coachable knock really should be aimed at Green. When he was brought up from Utica, Green was touted as someone who would have respect from vets because he played in the league and also a coach that was great with youth. Well, it seems that two players that were supposed to be part of the youthful future weren’t able to play the way the coached asked them to.
What I need you to do for me is take out last year’s playoff run from your mind. COVID and the NHL allowed a non-playoff Canucks team to play-in. The team got hot at the right time and did well. But, if you get rid of that stretch and judge Travis Green for the rest of his term, How has he really done as coach? There seems to be a lot of people that are willing to give Green a free pass for the decisions of Benning, but Green is not a separate entity in this team. His system, his choice of lineup and his coaching have a huge effect on the results this team has produced.
Again, I am not absolving Benning from his mistakes…I am not a priest. But to say Green would do better if he had better players, is a copout for two reasons. Benning could also say, if I had an experienced coach, this team would have been better. And secondly, almost any coach can succeed with good to great players, but to be a great coach, you should be able to get a team to overachieve more often. This team hasn’t. They had one good run of less than 20 games in the time Green has been coach.
It’s time to clean house in Canuckland, but it seems the owner doesn’t mind mediocrity or worse. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that if Benning is coming back, so is Green. And that’s too bad.