Gallagher: Canucks ‘plan’ is housekeeping by any other name

 

Canucks fans and local media under Trevor Linden’s spell — for now

 
 
 
 
If reaction to Friday’s dealings are anything to go by, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, centre, and GM Jim Benning, left, will enjoy some breathing space afforded by Trevor Linden’s standing in this city.
 

If reaction to Friday’s dealings are anything to go by, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, centre, and GM Jim Benning, left, will enjoy some breathing space afforded by Trevor Linden’s standing in this city.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

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The wonderful goodwill Trevor Linden brought with him to his job of president of the Vancouver Canucks is already having something of a voodoo effect in this market as he tries to make sense of his new surroundings.

On Friday Linden’s newly appointed general manager Jim Benning traded a player who wanted to be traded despite the fact said player with the no-trade clause gave him just two possible destinations. Then he made arguably his best move of the day, dumping the salary of Jason Garrison, and then picked up a possibly useful fourth-line piece in pesky Derek Dorsett for a third rounder. While all this happened quickly to make it seem like a lot was being accomplished, particularly given there was only one other major deal in the league on a day when more was anticipated, it was essentially routine stuff.

The liberated cap space has the potential to be very helpful if there are in fact players who can make an impact and the cap space is spent wisely, but that isn’t known yet and really won’t be known until the season is well under way. The moves are neither good nor bad yet, they are a complete unknown. It’s not as if they were able to move up and land that top centre that might have you thinking they finally have a young replacement for Henrik Sedin. They couldn’t pull that off despite a solid effort. But to talk to fans, watch the television news shows, listen to talk radio and read our gushing sister publication, you may as well start planning the parade and order the food for the Stanley Cup winning party.

Callers to talk radio are enthusiastically endorsing ‘the plan’ and proclaiming the moves as the start of a rebuild, which will to lead to a cup and you might agree if you could just figure out what that plan is, based on what’s transpired. It may well be. But trading a guy who wants out and lauding it because it didn’t drag on like the Luongo situation when in fact the situations are not even remotely comparable, then dumping a contract and picking up yet another third liner simply do not constitute a plan or bold moves. They are essentially housekeeping, albeit important housekeeping, but largely unexciting at least until we see whom the money will buy.

While you would think all the years this town has seen such moves look promising and end as the season always ends would leave the fans and media reserving judgment, you’d be wrong. These moves are being made by Linden and his staff, and because this is so, the public somehow ascribes him an indulgence of goodwill, a level of faith that he somehow knows how to do the right thing because he is the outstanding person he is. And please don’t get this wrong; this is a very good thing and just what the new GM and coach need at this point in the team’s history. It’s one of the best aspects of the Linden hiring.

This very real goodwill Linden has built up over his years through his many good works and his charisma will give Benning and new coach Willie Desjardins breathing room that wouldn’t normally be there if the Aquilini family had hired the next best candidate out there, whomever that might have been. The power of this faith has already convinced ownership to get out of at least an active roll in the kitchen (although this may have been one of Linden’s conditions for accepting the job) and it’s bound to buy the group time away from the usual cycle of cynical coverage this town has come to adapt as a default position. It has got the populace to happily accept what they think is going to be some sort of rebuild, openly greeting whatever takes place as part of some plan whether it is or not. There’s no question had the previous regime been left in place and done exactly the same things on the weekend, the reaction would have been considerably different.

The best thing about this breathing space of enthusiasm? It’s entirely likely to rub off on the players when camp begins in September.

tgallagher@theprovince.com

twitter.com/tg_gman

 
 
 
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If reaction to Friday’s dealings are anything to go by, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, centre, and GM Jim Benning, left, will enjoy some breathing space afforded by Trevor Linden’s standing in this city.
 

If reaction to Friday’s dealings are anything to go by, Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, centre, and GM Jim Benning, left, will enjoy some breathing space afforded by Trevor Linden’s standing in this city.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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