The Vancouver Canucks are continuing to lose hockey games and the pressure is on owner Francesco Aquilini, head coach Travis Green and general manager Jim Benning.
A day after the Canucks lost their fifth straight game at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche, Benning spoke to the media for the first time since training camp and he was asked numerous questions on the state of the team.
You can watch the full press conference here.
With the press conference being uploaded to Youtube and with the help of Otter AI transcribing it, here is a quick recap highlighting what was said at the press conference.
On the team’s poor start to the season and the struggling special teams
Right off the bat, Benning was asked about the Canucks dreadful start to the season.
” This is not the start we envisioned,” said Benning. “We made some good moves this summer to strengthen the team. We fixed some of the issues with the players and personnel we may have had in the past. We’ve got 11 new players on the team now but there’s some issues that we’re trying to figure out to get to win hockey games.”
He was also asked about the penalty kill which continues to be the worst in the NHL.
“I think (at) five on five, we’ve really improved, but you know, right now, our special teams are hurting us,” said Benning. ” For whatever reason, We’re not performing on the power play, and then our penalty kill, it’s really hurt us this year is was. It was evident in the game last night, they scored three power play goals and that’s a difference in the game.
On Elias Pettersson’s struggles, calling out star players and the play of new acquisitions
Elias Pettersson signed a three-year contract worth 7.35 million dollars per season shortly before the 2021-22 campaign kicked off. So far, he has not lived up to expectations and has looked like a shadow of his former self. Pettersson has three goals and six assists in 17 games this season.
"“Part of our problem is our good players aren’t playing to their potential,” said Benning. “We all know the type of player that he (Pettersson) can be. Whether it’s the long layoff, he didn’t play four months last year, and, through the summer, getting back to playing competitively again, and you know, we know, he’s capable of a lot more than he’s shown so far. But it’s our jobs as a management team as a coaching staff to keep working with him to get him to where he needs to be because he’s a big part of our team. Some of our players need to regain their confidence to play up to their potential. We’re going to need to string a bunch of wins together to get back in it”"
“Bringing in Ekman-Larsson and Poolman, those are guys that could work with some of the players we have to make them better and I think they’ve shown that,” said Benning.
Ekman-Larsson has looked fine defensively but has been very poor on the penalty kill. The offence hasn’t been there for OEL as he only has one goal and two assists in 17 games. He is also making 7.26 million dollars for the next six seasons.
Poolman’s contract was questionable from the moment it was signed and he also has been poor on the penalty kill and has made defensive mistakes and his puck-handling looks substandard.