Kuzma's Canucks notebook: Coach Lidster signs on, Weisbrod hiring no surprise

 

 
 
 
 
John Weisbrod, right, (standing with Stan Smyl), is named vice-president, player personnel, for the Vancouver Canucks during 2014 Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp at UBC in Vancouver, B.C., July 7, 2014.
 

John Weisbrod, right, (standing with Stan Smyl), is named vice-president, player personnel, for the Vancouver Canucks during 2014 Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp at UBC in Vancouver, B.C., July 7, 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

More on This Story

 

John Weisbrod called Jim Benning a lone wolf. It was a compliment.

However, a wolf pack is more successful in the hunt for prey and, in an NHL player personnel capacity, the Vancouver Canucks believe they’re going to have better bite. When Benning hired Weisbrod as vice-president of player personnel Monday, it wasn’t surprising. He retained Lorne Henning and Laurence Gilman as assistant general managers but wanted to add familiarity and expertise to his management team.

Benning was assistant general manager of the Boston Bruins when Weisbrod served as the club’s collegiate and free-agent scout in Florida. They were separated in distance, but not in philosophy in how to build a winner and capture the 2011 Stanley Cup championship over the Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins acquired collegiate defenceman Matt Bartkowski and blueliner Dennis Seidenberg in 2010 from Florida. They traded for Gregory Campbell in the same year after landing Mark Recchi in 2009, Johnny Boychuk in 2008 and Adam McQuaid in 2007.

“They (Bruins) are so good now that people forgot when we got there it was sort of a mess,” recalled Weisbrod. “When (general manager) Peter Chiarelli took the job (2006) and hired Jim and I, we were 28th in the league. We had a big hole to dig out of and would talk every day about good fits and we started grabbing guys out of Florida. We seemed to look at the game the same way.

“Jim is involved in everything and cares about everything, but he has a lone-wolf mentality and likes to do his own thing. Hopefully, I can provide some more stability to make sure we’re set up the way we want to be with drafting, free agency, trades and the Utica Comets.”

Weisbrod, 45, who was dismissed last December as the Calgary Flames’ assistant general manager and player personnel director, also did a nice job at the 2013 NHL draft table. Sean Monahan was a home run with the sixth choice, finishing fourth in rookie goals last season goals with 22 despite the Flames’ 23rd-ranked offence and 24th-ranked power play. Then, instead of taking home-grown winger Hunter Shinkaruk at No. 22, the Flames opted for QMJHL winger Emile Poirier. The Canucks chose Shinkaruk at No. 24 and his WHL season was limited to five goals in 18 games before hip surgery. Poirier had 43 goals and 129 points with Gatineau — including a league-leading eight shorthanded goals — and then four points in his first two games with the Abbotsford Heat. He also had added a goal in three AHL playoff games and signed an entry-level deal with the Flames. Shinkaruk will probably need another year of seasoning before challenging for a Canucks roster spot.

The Flames also selected Morgan Klimchuk with the 28th overall pick in 2013 and the Regina Pats winger had 30 goals and 74 points in 57 games and played four games with the Heat.

“John understands the quality of player I like and is a good judge of talent,” said Benning. “The difference between teams in the NHL is the job they do in the rinks with scouting. To me, there are two types of players — those who will play with in the NHL and those you can win with in the NHL.”

Weisbrod was drafted in the fourth round by the Minnesota North Stars in 1987, but the Syosset, N.Y., native made his first mark in the NBA. As general manager of the Orlando Magic, he fired Doc Rivers and moved the disgruntled Tracy McGrady in a seven-player swap with the Houston Rockets. It led to written death threats from fans.

ALWAYS SOUNDED LIKE LIDSTER

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins wouldn’t confirm it Monday, but he made it sound like the hiring of Doug Lidster as an assistant coach was imminent. The former Vancouver defenceman — who served as an assistant to Desjardins with the Calder Cup champion Texas Stars — even reportedly admitted it later in the day. Then the Canucks finally confirmed it.

Glen Gulutzan was expected to be retained as the other assistant, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Lidster, 53, played nine seasons with the Canucks and the Kamloops native had 75 goals and 343 points in 897 games with the Canucks, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars. The former NHL blueliner was also an assistant coach with the Canadian national women’s team.

“If it works out, it’s a real good fit,” Desjardins had said earlier of Lidster. “I respect him as a coach and he’s played at a high level. We talked about it today and we’ll make some decisions real quick and we’re getting really close on it. All that stuff is in the works.”

SHINKARUK TRADE, WHAT TRADE?

One of the popular theories is that winger Hunter Shinkaruk was going to be packaged if the Canucks could get the first overall pick from the Florida Panthers at the draft last month. In reality, it wasn’t going to happen, according to Benning.

“It was all speculation and I don’t know where that came from,” said the Canucks’ general manager. “We were never looking to actively trade Hunter. This stuff gets started out there and it’s not true.”

Said Shinkaruk: “I definitely did hear about it with Twitter these days, but it’s the profession I’ve chosen and my name is going to come up in trade talk (speculation) no matter how good it goes.”

bkuzma@theprovince.com

twitter.com/benkuzma

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
John Weisbrod, right, (standing with Stan Smyl), is named vice-president, player personnel, for the Vancouver Canucks during 2014 Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp at UBC in Vancouver, B.C., July 7, 2014.
 

John Weisbrod, right, (standing with Stan Smyl), is named vice-president, player personnel, for the Vancouver Canucks during 2014 Vancouver Canucks Summer Development Camp at UBC in Vancouver, B.C., July 7, 2014.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice
Will the Habs sign Subban to a long-term deal?
 
Yes
No
I don't know