Since Jim Benning was recruited out of the Bruins’ organization and named Canucks general manager, the following things have happened:
— Derek Dorsett was acquired in a trade with the Rangers and signed to a four-year extension.
— Luca Sbisa was acquired in a trade with the Ducks and signed to a three-year extension.
— Bruising winger Jake Virtanen was drafted sixth overall, ahead of smaller — but arguably more talented — forwards like William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers.
— Brandon Prust was acquired in a trade with the Canadiens.
The common denominator? Toughness. Benning felt the Canucks needed more of it. He won a Stanley Cup in Boston with a big, bad team. Beat the Canucks in the final, actually.
That answer still stings in Vancouver.
So, what did Benning think when the Canucks were pushed around by the Ducks the other night?
“That Anaheim game was the most disappointing loss for me since I’ve been here,” Benning told the Vancouver Sun.
“I just felt that there were instances in that game where last year we (would have) stuck up for one another; when someone was picking on one of our guys … it was a pack mentality and as a team we stuck up for each other. For whatever reason, we didn’t stick up for each other that game. That was really disappointing for me to see that.”
Benning clearly believes in the “pack mentality” philosophy. When the Sbisa and Dorsett extensions were announced in April, here’s what he said:
“Over the course of the year … where in scrums and stuff, there’d be one guy and he’d have to figure it out. But about halfway through the year, we stuck together as a team and that was everybody in the scrums sticking up for one another. And I think a big part of that goes to Derek and Luca for instilling that mindset among our group.”
The Canucks are back in action tonight against the Dallas Stars.