It’s time for another edition of the Nucks Misconduct Roundtable. We get our writers together and ask them a number of questions about the state of this team we’ve been cursed to follow. Sometimes they play it straight, sometimes it’s Westy and Jimmi, but you’ll always get the unvarnished opinions on the Canucks here.
1. So, that was some press conference, eh? Your thoughts on Rutherford’s assessment of where the team is, and what needs to be done.
Beggsy - I mean, you could chop it up to make it sound great.
“The Canucks need major surgery.”
Yes, okay, great. Tell me more...
“I’m disappointed in the job I’ve done here.”
So true Jim, so true.
“We prefer young players 25 and under over draft picks.”
Dear God, has the Ghost of Jim Benning entered Jim Rutherford’s body???
Westy - A retool done with major surgery. How the fuck do you accomplish that? No, really....what does that even mean? And where was the reporter to actually ask the follow-up? The fact he didn’t do much research into this team before he was given the job, is the only thing that shows in this interview.
jimmi - Remind me to never play poker with Rutherford. Can’t tell if he has any tells. Only thing I could tell that was telling was the CB sweepstakes reveal: “I thought we were tanking, (we’re) pretty close to the bottom.” - so that’s good, right?
Also he used the B-word. Twice. Happening this summer to a billionaire near you. Or not near you, but Franny is gonna pay OEL to hang his rod off the Öresund bridge.
Kent - “We’re not looking towards a rebuild, it’s more of a retool.”
Markus - I said this on Twitter, it feels like the trade deadline of 2015. We’ve been hearing this same shit for like, a decade! No one wants a quick turnaround! I do not understand how anyone could possibly come to that conclusion. I am going to lose my mind if I hear “retool” one more time. Beyond frustrating to hear.
2. On a scale of one to holy shit, how did you feel about the ‘retool vs rebuild’ portion of the press conference?
Beggsy - I give it a 5. It’s frustrating to hear but I wasn’t overly surprised.
The strategy of prioritizing “young players” over draft picks is flawed. Organizations give up on young players, usually for a reason. Those are hard trades to win.
The glass-half-full approach is that hopefully this group contains better talent evaluators than Benning’s brigade of buffoons. But, acquiring a guy like Riley Stillman tells me otherwise.
Westy - I think a retool leads to the Canucks getting screwed over, 8 ways to Sunday. Or was it 8 seasons of Benning? A couple of seasons ago, I thought a retool might work, but not now. Now my frustration wants all of it to burn to the ground and start again.
jimmi - Understand how my cohorts of doom feel. But don’t shoot the Prez. Just yet. This is what we get in a cap league - Nucks get screwed. If there was no cap, Nucks would get screwed differently.
Wasn’t clear if JR or the Nucks medical staff would be performing the major surgery. And how long the recovery period will be. Will he be getting a 2nd, 3rd opinion before operating?
Retool or rebuild or retread. Doesn’t matter. The real down-to-the-studs rebuild needed to be done in 2015 or earlier. Even then, there’s no guarantee of a different outcome — other than it would if Trev stayed and JB was fired. Oh well... Franny played the tool card and now all we have is a belt.
Kent - I am absolutely stunned that it appears either GMJR either went off script here, or that there was no one in what is usually a fairly well-run PR department who sat down with him and said “So, just to be clear... you should really avoid anything along the lines of ‘retool over rebuild’, because the fans are not going to react well to that, Jim”. Like... holy shit, it’s 2023 and we’re still doing this? How is this even possible? All they had to do was be marginally competent and they would blow the Benning regime out of the water, and I’ve seen nothing that convinces me that it’s not just the same shitty TV show with different actors. So disheartening, and if you think it hurts now, just wait. The real pain is coming and it’s going to make you question why you didn’t jump ship to the Kraken when you had a chance.
Markus - Just absolute fucking insanity. Jim Benning promised us a retool for eight years and we got the worst stretch of hockey in franchise history. How Rutherford thinks he’s going to accomplish that with the same roster baffles me and proves he has absolutely no pulse on this market. I said this in my column this week — I’m very sympathetic to JR coming into a shitty situation. But ultimately, getting reclamation projects is just so obviously not the solution. Remember Derrick Pouliot? Emerson Etem? Linden Vey? Sven Baertschi? Adam Clendening? Nikolay Goldobin? Josh Leivo? Ryan Spooner? The logic behind every single one of these random guys was “Hey, they used to have pedigree, let’s see if we can turn them around!” And not a single one amounted to anything! This logic is just completely nuts.
3. The whole reason for the press conference was to give an update/get out ahead of this ever-growing Tanner Pearson injury story. Is the way the team has handled injuries and recoveries something that we should be concerned about, or was Quinn Hughes just saying something he shouldn’t have?
Beggsy - If one of your best players is calling out the team for mishandling an injury then yes, you should be concerned.
At least they brought the docs out to “face the music,” although the 87-year-old guy to the right of Rutherford at the press conference didn’t help his case by continuing to regurgitate “due to confidentiality we can’t discuss blah blah blah.”
Rutherford said he wasn’t worried about how this would affect the team’s reputation, but how could he not worry? Better hope that mountains and living by the ocean is enough to make NHL players forget about 280 days of rain and shoddy medical care.
Westy - The Canucks under Aquilini, have never been open with the press when it comes to injuries. I won’t take a side on this one as I am not a doctor. Quinn Hughes opening his mouth does make the team accountable for answering questions, but it doesn’t mean we know if the answers are true or not.
jimmi - Agree with Westy - I’ll need medical assistance to continue. The Nucking medical arts are a dark art with some science mumbo-jumbo thrown in. However, we know hockey injuries are caused by faeries (and dirty plays) that can only be properly treated by picking 1st in June.
Kent - I’m gonna go one step further than Westy here (which is rare, because I usually have to be the voice or reason to his rum-fueled madness), but I feel like there have been so many medical issues with this team for more than a decade now, and things just don’t ever seem to go right. The Canucks are consistently one of the most injured teams in the NHL, and only so much of that can be attributed to bad luck. As far as Hughes’ comments, that’s not a good look, and even as fucked up as this season has been, I guarantee none of you had ‘press conference to explain a recurring injury’ on your bingo card.
Markus - The Pearson thing in a vacuum maybe is not a concern, but this has been a running storyline for a while, so it’s hard not to notice. I’m not an expert so I can't really comment in depth, but when stuff like keeps happening, it’s hard not to think that changes need to be made. Remember when Benning he said he'd be “more involved” on the medical side? Yeah, this has been going on for a while.
4. Let’s get your thoughts on the 5 game road trip from hell, if it’s not too painful to ask?
Beggsy - It was the perfect road trip, aside from that win in Carolina.
Westy - I openly stated in gamethreads that 0-5 was a real possibility and the team came through with a gutsy win at the end. A retool won’t fix that.
jimmi - What’s to fix? Other than the draft odds. Please fix those.
Kent - What Beggsy said. Now, I would have been fine with another loss, but in light of the Odjick news, that was a pretty satisfying win, and I would think they’re gonna come out on Wednesday and in honour of the Algonquin Assassin, hammer the crap outta those jackasses from Tampa. After that, let the tank forge forth, but for the soul of this team and its fans, a win Wednesday is a must. Overall, that road trip showed in perfect detail exactly what the issues are with this team, and how far away they are from even being a middle of the pack team.
Markus - Like Beggsy said, they ruined a perfectly good road trip with a W. Let’s hope for many more just like it.
5. The Canucks have 6 games remaining this month: How many wins do you see them snagging?
Beggsy - As much as we all want to dream about the tank, it ain’t happening. This team needs to trade Horvat now, shut down Demko for the season, and play OEL and Myers 30 minutes a night for it to happen. Otherwise, this team is too talented and their schedule is too soft the rest of the way.
Oh right, your original question, I see them winning at least 3 (maybe four) of six, I say they lose to the Avs at home and the Kraken on the road, while picking up at least three wins in their other games at home versus the Lightning, Oilers, Blackhawks and Blue Jackets.
Westy - I call 2 wins! Now I guess you want me to predict which ones. Ok...Kraken..Blackhawks. Which means they lose ground to the team above them.
jimmi - Win over the Bolts and Fawks, possibly the Jackets. Prefer close, hard-working losses. Seeing Bedard lifting the excruciatingly heavy and disgusting Fawks jersey in June is the stuff of nightmares. Please make them stop.
Kent - I agree with Jimmi, which is as upsetting as it sounds. Wins over Tampa, Chicago (in OT) and Columbus and yes, that means losing for the first time to Seattle, just to make this hell season feel even worse.
Markus - Two, maybe? I’ll say they get CBJ and one more. Maybe the Oilers, who are having a rough go of things.
6. And finally, with the passing of Canucks legend Gino Odjick Sunday, Garry Valk tweeted that he should be placed in the Canucks Ring Of Honour. How do you feel about that? Also, let’s have your favorite Gino memory.
Beggsy - Gino should be in the Ring of Honour. Call it the Harold Snepsts category of fan favorites who bled for the franchise. No one seemingly cared about being a Canuck more than Gino.
I’m going to date myself with Gino memories because he was a bit before my time. But, I’ll say that I just have so much respect for his “I don’t give a fuck” mentality. He would do anything if it meant standing up for a teammate and retaliating for something he didn’t like from the opposition. For that reason, I’ll go with the clip of his just annihilating Dominik Hasek, which was clearly a retaliatory play for something that happened earlier in the game.
Westy - I was around for Gino and Bure. Gino was the only reason Bure scored so many goals. Breathe on Pavel and Gino would be all over you. Great Canuck and teammate off the ice as well. I am still trying to figure out the parameters for Ring of Honour and while Gino was loved, I’m not sure that an enforcer with a heart of gold should be up there.
jimmi - Agree with my disagreeable cohorts. Gino needs to be in the Ring. Fav story was how Gino stuck up for Trev when the Mess took the ‘C’ - and how Gino fought to stop Trev being traded. And for his noble efforts, Gino was traded himself. Gino would go to the wall and beyond on and off the ice. A Nucking legend forever.
Kent - The Ring Of Honour has to make room for Gino. For those of us who were lucky enough to watch him play, yeah he was a tough bastard, but this was a guy who could skate on a line with Pavel freaking Bure and not be a liability. He scored 16 goals in the 93-94 season, with 271 penalty minutes. But there are two things that stand out for me when I think about Gino. First, was this goal.
Secondly, the night Gino had enough of the St Louis Blues running up the score and taking liberties, so he decided to fight them all. What a coward Glenn Anderson was, eh? Scumbag.
Gino was larger than life, and despite other stops in his NHL career, always identified as a Canuck first and foremost. RIP Gino. Canucks Nation will always remember you.
Markus - Gino was before my time, but it’s impossible to not have his passing feel like a gut punch as a Canucks fan. It’s hard to say a favourite, being from a different era, but I love that story of him showing up at the KGB building and asking for Pavel. An icon in Vancouver and a legend among Indigenous communities. RIP, and yes, in my view, he’s a textbook Ring of Honour guy.