It is time for the Vancouver Canucks to break up with Jim Benning

The Athletic

It can be difficult to see a toxic relationship when you’re the one in it, missing the forest being cut down behind you because the tree in front of you is so majestic. It doesn’t matter if everyone else can see the wreckage lying in your relationship’s wake because it’s not theirs to judge.

The lies, the gaslighting, the stress, the neglect, the resentment, the inconsistency, the rollercoaster of emotions — it can all be excused with the promise of potential. It’s the hope that things can get better, ignoring that the bad far outweighs the good because the good can at times feel incredible. Special, even. It’s chasing that good feeling while drowning in despair, hoping that just a little bit of patience and effort can cast a lifeline.

That things can change.

Not all toxic relationships are doomed, but with enough time you have to take a person for what they are at face value. You have to know when to call it quits. They’re not changing. They’re not getting better. Every band-aid solution only stops the bleeding momentarily before another metaphoric wound opens up. If a person shows you who they are — believe them.

For almost eight years now, Jim Benning has, time and time again, shown Vancouver, the organization and its fan base, exactly who he is: a man truly unfit to run a successful NHL franchise.

It’s time to move on. It’s time to break up.

Honestly, it’s been time. For a while now. That’s something that many outside Vancouver could see for the majority of Benning’s tenure and each year it seems like a growing contingent in Vancouver sees it too. It’s extremely difficult not to. But when you’re so close to it with a heavy emotional investment it’s understandable to turn a blind eye toward it. It’s the hope that kills you and if there’s one thing the Canucks’ front office is good at it, it’s selling hope.

Almost every season under Benning has ended in disappointment and every following offseason has brought about aggressive changes to make sure that’s not the case next year.  Then the cycle continues and it’s hard to fathom why it’s even been allowed to continue for so long.

Eight seasons and counting where he’s been given chance after chance. This time it’ll be different. This time things will change.

It never is and it doesn’t help that the root issue isn’t being addressed: the man in charge who has had enough chances to turn this ship around. Every offseason brings about change, sure, but a shockingly high percentage of those looked incredibly misguided from the get-go. That’s on Benning for both not knowing what he had in front of him and generally not knowing what he was acquiring either. It all stems from poor player evaluation creating an incredible combination of bringing in the right players at the wrong time (J.T. Miller, Conor Garland), the wrong players at the right time (Braden Holtby), and my personal favourite, the wrong players at the wrong time (Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Brandon Sutter, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers, Erik Gudbranson, Tucker Poolman, Travis Hamonic). 

#hockey, #nhl

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