It’s customary to start a post-gamer with the score, but boy does that seem out of place when it means nothing to anyone. But I’ll get it out of the way just in case you want to know: the Canucks lost 4-2 to the Avalanche on Thursday.
Now on to the good stuff. Trevor Linden and Pat Quinn were both on CKNW with Bill Good this morning and their answers to his questions were huge. It’s crazy that these interviews haven’t got more coverage, but hey, that’s what I’m here for.
Good asked Linden some excellent questions, and the new president gave out tons more information than he did yesterday.
1. Linden part 1 – thoughts on coaching
Were the Sedins misused this year?
“I think you have to use your people where they will best excel, and good coaches understand that. I haven’t talked to John about it. I think most people would say you put your best offensive players in the most offensive positions you can.”
Was it a good idea to use the twins to block shots and kill penalties?
“It’s one of those things where I probably felt personally it was a misuse of their abilities, but I’d have to dig deeper into it.”
Good: “But you know they’ll do anything they’re asked to do.”
“Exactly, but I have to get the information. I’m not sure if John feels that was a mistake or not, I mean if he feels strongly about it… (trails off).”
On usage of depth players and running the bench:
“When I think about the coaches that were most influential for me, if you take Pat Quinn for example, his greatest strength was to use his whole bench. I think certain players can take big minutes, and certain players start to economize.
When you save yourself because you know you’re going to play X amount of minutes, it’s not a great thing for your bench. I think when you take other players out of the game by playing them such small minutes, that can detract from the overall team identity.”
Side note: Scott Rintoul recently asked Ryan Kesler if playing so many minutes affects him. He said: “There wasn’t a game where I felt like I didn’t have legs or I couldn’t go. There’s a certain way you need to play when you play that many minutes. Is it tough playing that many minutes every night? Yeah, but I welcome that.”
So Kesler pretty much agreed with Linden’s thoughts on economizing to handle the playing time.
Does the team need to get bigger and faster?
“Big and fast is always a good thing in any sport. The model never changes. I think we need to support the core guys with people from underneath, and I think that’s been part of the disconnect in the last couple of years”
2. Linden part 2 – on his autonomy
Good: “Francesco Aquilini promised you complete autonomy over hockey decisions. Are you confident he’ll be able to do that?”
“I am. I’ve had great conversations with Francesco and a very positive conversation with the family, so I’m completely confident in that. I think Francesco really wants someone to keep him informed and deal with the hockey operations side, so my role would just be that
Ownership is always going to have some degree of influence… I’ll tell you this – to have a local owner that’s passionate about the team and wants to win and does nothing but spend money to make that happen – that’s a good thing.”
3. Quinn part 1 – on coaching
Before I start here, if you’re wondering why Quinn’s voice is even relevant any more, it’s because he’s Linden’s mentor. When the new Pres needs advice, he’ll be picking up the phone (or perhaps walking down the hall – more on that below) and talking to the man who drafted him.
Why did the Canucks perform so badly this year?
“During the first part of the year, (the Canucks) played (their) veterans until their noses were bleeding, and then we started to hit the injuries. I talked to (team doctor) Mike Bernstein and he said the injuries are terrible. He said so many of them are coming from the blocked shots and they’re fractures, and they’re not easily healed.”
Thoughts on divvying up playing time:
“I think you don’t leave half your bench. I wanted all of our bench to play. I wanted everyone to be involved.”
“I knew that Mats (Sundin) was at the top of his game if he played about 20 minutes… I think that’s the same with these players here. There comes a point where your play will drop off, whether it’s in the third period or whether you coast a little bit so you reserve energy in the third period, you’re not at the maximum you can bring each night… That’s why I knew in ’94 we were going to beat Toronto, because they wore Gilmore out. He could hardly play against us in the semi finals.”
“The players want to play. They love being out there. I know when I used to play I wanted to be out there every shift… I like the way Detroit approaches it, Chicago approaches it, Boston approaches it – everybody gets used. The better players get to play more, but everybody gets used.”
On using everyone on the bench (including fourth liners):
“I know this: you don’t get confidence sitting on the bench and watching the play go on or getting two minutes of play, or being sent out because it gets rough out there. I don’t buy that style of coaching, and yet it exists.”
His thoughts on bringing in Tortorella to coach the team in the first place:
“To assess your team like you need a hammer – now we need the tough guy – well it’s like bringing Mike Keenan in… to pull the whip out and play the tough guy with them didn’t seem the right way to approach this group of players.”
Conclusion: Linden basically said if Tortorella doesn’t admit to and agree he made huge mistakes, he’s gone, while Quinn compared him to Mike Keenan and disagrees with everything he’s ever done… pretty sure they’re already removing Torts’ murphy bed as we speak.
4. Quinn part 2 – on managing
On Linden’s autonomy:
“I watched the announcement yesterday. I’d like Trevor to know that I heard that he’s going to make all the hockey decisions. I hope that’s the case because if not, the players smell that out. As soon as they smell out they don’t have to answer to you, you’re a goner.”
His thoughts on no trade clauses:
“One of the rules I’ve always had is give everyone a chance, and for those that can’t seem to fit in, get rid of them. If you can’t soar with the eagles, then get out of the way because we don’t want you with the team. If you get stuck with that contract, what are you going to do? Are you going to buy one out a year?”
Note: Quinn was always a “players’ coach” but as you can see here, and from what we’ve heard about what happened with Pavel Bure and Wayne Gretzky, he wasn’t always the “players’ GM.”
Second Note: Quinn doesn’t agree with too much the Canucks have done in the past six years.
5. Will Quinn be part of Linden’s plans?
Good to Linden: “Will you use Pat in any formal way?”
“I’ll definitely talk to him about perhaps being involved or supporting me in some way.”
Good to Quinn: “On Twitter I’m getting the question asked of Pat if he’ll accept if offered a position with the Canucks.”
“I certainly would with Trevor in there for sure. I don’t know what Trevor has in mind. He has a plan, and if I could be of assistance to the Canucks, I’d be there in a heartbeat.”
Note: My Spidey senses (or just not being dumb) tell me he’s as good as hired.
6. Why does Linden matter so much?
First, both Elliotte Friedman and Jason Botchford – two journalists who always get to the bottom of the story – have stated that the Canucks owners made their decision to hire Linden mostly based on season ticket renewals (rather than what he’d do for the team’s performance).
And how are Canucks fans reacting?
— Omair Khan (@OmairiKhan) April 9, 2014
It’s working… and we know the women love him…
— Torah S (@TorahSnelling) April 9, 2014
— paul nagy (@pnagy73) April 9, 2014
— Reese Alexandra (@how_byronic) April 9, 2014
Hey, the Aquilinis didn’t make their fortune without knowing what sells. Trevor Linden – he sells.
Note: Quick thanks to Sean Spence (@SpenceCanucks) for bringing Bill Good’s interviews to my attention