Now Jim Benning has some slight idea of what it was like to be Mike Gillis when Roberto Luongo gave him a list of one team to which he wanted to be traded, and that was the one that was bankrupt at the time and he had the contract that “sucks.’”
Welcome to his world, Jim, although you have a few more choices with Ryan Kesler and it’s likely a smokescreen to get the media to stop asking every day.
But the part about waiting until the trade deadline didn’t sound a very optimistic note, if you ask these ears.
After all, if you’re moving a blood-and-guts guy like Kesler at the deadline, it almost certainly means you aren’t going to be making the playoffs, and sounding that alarm now is rather discordant.
And while all this Kesler stuff is really interesting to the Vancouver fan, as are the possible movement scenarios being outlined with respect to the draft, we need to remind people that while these peripheral issues are important for a contribution next year and vitally important to the future of the team, it’s largely window dressing if you’re curious as to how this team will actually play next year.
Sorry, but that’s really all about the twins. Are they finished and on a downward spiral, or will they spring back for longer than the first 20 games, the way they were full of life last year for such narrow window?
That’s what’s going to drive this team to any possible improved offensive numbers. That’s what’s going to improve the power play.
This is the question that almost everyone in the know is really asking, particularly since they’re starting the first year of a four-year contract, and no matter how noble they might be, they’re surely not leaving $21 schmil on the table if they decide they can’t play to their own satisfaction at the end of next season.
Yes, the team is married to these guys, so everyone is naturally sounding a positive clarion about their future.
Ask any employee in the Vancouver Canucks organization and they’re convinced to a person the twins are going to come back and play more like the first 20 games last year, not like the last 60.
And they are that way because it is too horrible to think otherwise.
Besides, they are such overwhelmingly nice, positive people and they have been stars in the past. They believe Daniel Sedin will return to having some idea of how to shoot a puck into the net and Henrik will return to being one of the best playmakers in the game, because they want to believe. We all want to. They have a whole city pulling like hell for them, simple as that.
Benning, coach Willie Desjardins and Trevor Linden are all big believers, but they were believers in Jordan Schroeder and the tooth fairy, if they aren’t the same person.
They have to be, it’s part of the job and besides, they have untradeable contracts and life would be unimaginable if Daniel is the same guy we saw last year and Henrik goes from iron man to the thin man the way he did last season.
None of us optimists examine the stats, which show a steady, inexorable decline. That’s also too painful, and to be fair there are other variables — such as lack of support from a second or third line at times —which help buoy the spirits.
But folks, if these guys don’t show some sort of offensive consistency, the Canucks can move up and down the draft like a window washer at the Trump tower and it won’t matter a row of pins for next year.
Of course there are things they can do to help the twins. Benning can get a right-handed point man the coach can trust defensively who can rip it the way Sami Salo could, and that would really help the power play.
A stronger second line would help too, obviously, although they may not have the money and prospects to make it happen right away.
Desjardins needs to put them out in offensive situations at all times and tell them they must score, that nothing else matters: “Just score.”
They’ve played in the league too well for too long not to be defensively responsible. That’s in their blood. They need to be told one thing: “Score.”
But after all this is dealt with as well as it can be, it’s up to them. If they signed that contract in good faith, and we all know they did, they were expecting to be the Sedins for most of its term, not cardboard cutouts of themselves.
Do we still expect Hart to have his Art Ross Trophy stuff? Of course not. But they need to resemble themselves in some way.
Without that, what happens beforehand and at the draft itself is strictly for the future, the longer-term future.
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