Elliotte Friedman reports that Canucks players are sick of hearing their names in trade rumours.
And I get it, the trade deadline is tough on families. In the Canucks’ case, a new regime came in December and change was the order of the day.
Three months later, we are still awaiting that change, and everybody knows the March 21st deadline is likely to bring some.
The bigger question is how deeply does Jim Rutherford cut now? What are his assessments of this player group, particularly the Canucks core, which in three seasons together, is barely above .500.
Smyl: “What happens when you get to this point is your start finger pointing…the only people that are going to make any difference are the players in the dressing room and the direction set by the organization.” #Canucks
— Sekeres and Price (@sekeresandprice) December 6, 2021
Because back in December, Canucks executive Stan Smyl outlined a culture of finger-pointing in the dressing room when the team was losing. That was shortly after Bo Horvat called some of his teammates “passengers.”
#Canucks captain Horvat: “We have too many passengers sometimes during these games”
Says it comes down to working hard.
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) November 16, 2021
More recently, new head coach Bruce Boudreau has bemoaned the team’s preparation, and new general manager Patrik Allvin has subtly questioned practice habits.
Throw in former Canuck Jannik Hansen’s dour assessments of this group on weekly Vancouver radio hits, and you have signs pointing to a culture problem in the room.
Therein lies the challenge now for Rutherford and his new administration.
It’s not just getting more talent and more depth into a top-heavy organization, it’s also making a call on the culture. Who he wants to lead the next phase of Canucks hockey, and who is just too scarred by all the losing and dysfunction of seasons’ past.
I don’t envy them. Making those calls are tough enough on hockey grounds. Even tougher when you have consider culture.