There isn’t a lot to be positive about the Vancouver Canucks right now.
It’s hard not to blame fans for being apathetic and jaded with the team. The Canucks have gone 0-3 on the recent road trip and were outscored 19-5. The penalty kill is an absolute dumpster fire, the power play isn’t much better and the team is struggling to score and find an identity.
Fans have been calling for head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning to be fired. Chairman Francesco Aquilini has also been the subject of outrage from fans with some wanting him to sell the team.
Aquilini met with Benning on Tuesday afternoon. It looks like changes won’t be made. For now, they will continue to ride with what they have and be patient.
According to Satiar Shah of Sportsnet 650 and Sportsnet insider John Shannon, it looks like the organization will see what happens on the upcoming three-game homestand and judge by the fans’ reaction before they consider making changes. The Colorado Avalanche who spanked the Canucks 7-1 on November 11 come to town on Wednesday. The Winnipeg Jets visit on Friday and the Chicago Blackhawks come to Vancouver on Sunday.
The Canucks could either lose the three games embarrassingly the same way they did on the road trip or somehow win all three or something in between. Keep in mind, even if they win the next three games, they will still be below .500.
Note the two words above, “remain patient.” This is the eighth season in Benning’s tenure and patience is running thin in this market. You would think the team would have rebuilt and become a contender with the GM in charge for eight seasons but it hasn’t happened yet.
Since Benning took over in 2014, the Canucks have a .489 points percentage. The only GMs who lasted seven or more years on the job over the last 20 years with a worst winning percentage than Benning are Mike Milbury and Doug MacLean.
With the team starting poorly, it is hard to be patient. It is also hard to be patient after eight years of going nowhere. Sure, the team made the playoffs twice in Benning’s tenure. The first was losing in six games to the Calgary Flames in the first round in 2015 and the second was the bubble playoffs where the Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild in the play-ins and the St. Louis Blues in round one before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games. They could have been out earlier in that series if it weren’t for Demko’s brilliant goaltending.
After the offseason the Canucks had, there was the hope of the team making it back to the playoffs. However, after a dreadful start, remaining patient isn’t the way to go.
It is also ironic that the organization has preached patience when they have traded back-to-back first-round picks, traded multiple picks for reclamation projects and overpaid fourth liners to make the playoffs.
Making the playoffs shouldn’t be the end goal, winning the Stanley Cup should be.
Fans voiced their frustrations with a new way last season with fans not allowed in the building. There was a crowd-funded “Fire Benning” banner that flew over Vancouver last spring.
Aquilini spoke about the banner on Sportsnet 650 back in October.
That was just the beginning. Fans will continue to voice their displeasure by simply not showing up to games and Rogers Arena will be displayed with plenty of empty seats. Those who do show up will definitely try to make their voices heard. Maybe some will wear paper bags over their heads and display signs showing disapproval of Green, Benning, and Aquilini.
Canucks fans chanted “Fire Gillis” back in 2014 and we could hear similar chants against the current regime on Wednesday.
It also looks like a follow-up to the banner is being planned on Twitter with billboards being planned.
By continuing to be patient, ownership is lighting gas on the fire. The team is a mess and fans will continue to be unhappy. The bleeding needs to be stopped. It’s been too long and this can’t continue.
Why should anyone be patient anymore? The organization has tried to take shortcuts for the last eight years and has delayed the contending window from opening. With fans tuning out, desperate measures need to be called for in these desperate times.
Ownership decided to continue with what the Canucks have and waiting to see how the fans that attend games respond is an asinine and spinless move. It’s like being in a building that is on fire but not wanting to get out. The fire is starting to become out of control in Canucks land and ownership isn’t moving out of the building.
Patience? Canucks fans have had a lot of that over the last eight years but that has vanished into the wind. With these next three games at home, the pitchforks will be out.