There’s always a cavalcade of ongoing rumours about the Vancouver Canucks, but there was one in particular that, going into the 2019-20 season, seemed particularly ironclad.
That was the belief that general manager Jim Benning, heading into the last year of his contract, would be fired if the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs. But that was debunked today with the news that Benning has reportedly signed a contract extension with the team.
Not only that, but it’s believed that Benning’s new deal is of the multi-year variety.
Putting aside whatever you personally think about the job Benning has done as the team’s GM, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want him to go into the season as a dead man walking.
Of course, that begs the question whether he should have been permitted to handle the draft and free agency in that same scenario. (The J.T. Miller trade in particular, has always seemed like a desperate move by a desperate person.)
But still, there are a couple things about this decision that stick out to us.
The first is the timing. The news was leaked on a Friday afternoon following a massive announcement by the Vancouver Whitecaps on the very same day.
That seems purposeful, almost like the Canucks wanted to make the news go away over the weekend.
And then there’s the leak itself.
Unlike many other sporting organizations, large Canucks news almost always seems to be broken by reporters (and often those based in Toronto), instead of announced by the team.
That doesn’t seem very prudent on the part of the club. Shouldn’t they want to get out ahead of the news and create their own narratives? It seems they like to leak it and hide for a bit until fans and media members have taken the time to digest the information.
For instance, that Whitecaps news? It was announced by the team and even required a bit of honesty from outgoing president Bob Lenarduzzi, who admitted that remarks about the club had affected him.
In his tenure with the Canucks (which has included four straight seasons of failing to make the playoffs), Benning has shown nothing close to that level of self-awareness. And he hasn’t had to, because he’s had days to prepare for every question he gets in press conferences that are held long after everyone already knows the pertinent news.
Whatever you think of the way Benning has performed in his job (and opinions are largely split among the fanbase), the news of his extension raises more questions than it gives answers.
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