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honest ... if VAN can do it, why cant others ?

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09-19-2004, 02:59 PM
  #126
Tom_Benjamin
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Originally Posted by thinkwild
But you're right, the players most Sens fans have on the block are these UFAs. Not because we cant afford them, but because they arent really worth it. Id rather develop Eaves, Bochenski and Meszaros and give Spezza, Fisher and Vermette big minutes.
I think there was a marketing element to it, too, but there was also another factor. I think it happens after every successful building job. The team ends up with too many young players. Colorado hit the same wall. It didn't matter whether they really wanted Fleury or Kasparaitus or even Bourque. They had to unload players.

When you are lousy it is easy to improve. Every year at camp you have four or five young guys fighting for a job. Several rookies get a chance. Suddenly you are really good. There is a useful player in every spot. When you are bad, you have oodles of ice time to fill. When you are good all of the ice time is spoken for. If you want to keep producing players, you have to open ice for them.

Hockey is about human resource planning and the Ottawa demographics are screwed up. They have too many young players. I thought Gleason looked great for the Kings this year. What were the Sens going to do with Laich? It sounds stupid but the Sens have to get rid of some of those guys. They needed some older players just so they can get rid of them.

They are trading future value for temporary depth - not improvement - just to spread out the age of the talent a little. If Ottawa is going to sustain excellence, they want to keep letting veterans go to add a job a year for a kid. In Ottawa's case they have to acquire players to dump.

The teams with the most talent release the most talent, too. Colorado and New Jersey have dumped way, way more talent than Edmonton over the last ten years. What else can they do? They keep producing young players who can play. One reason Selanne did so poorly in Colorado is because that Svatos kid is going to be really good and Granato couldn't resist playing him.

Both Colorado and New Jersey will aggressively pursue veteran players at the deadline, but they hardly ever sign free agents. Why? I think the answer is they have to offload talent. They have too much. The Avalanche did not foresee a job for Regehr. They owed it to the league and to Regehr to move him. They dumped three prospects for Fleury and then let him go.

New Jersey had to move Morrison because they had waiver draft problems coming up and they didn't have a job for him. They got Mogilny for him and let Alex go when his contract expired. It isn't that they did not really like Alex as a player. Everybody does. They needed his ice time. They couldn't fit him into their five year plan. This business isn't just about getting this guy or that guy. It is way more complicated than that.

I think Vancouver fans were really lucky when Pat Quinn came to town in 1987. He and Burke faced a fan base that was so disgusted it hurt and they had to sell a rebuild. They did it by laying out the blueprint from day one and explaining every decision in light of that blueprint. We didn't know anything about payroll at all even though looking back money was always part of the equation. It was great. The fans actually learned from Quinn and Burke. I've thought about team building in a different light ever since.

Everything Quinn said then about building a good team holds true today. We've watched it happen twice in Vancouver since those days. The difference today is that we ignore everything except the money when it you do it right, the money takes care of itself. The right hockey decision is always the right money decision too.

At this stage in Ottawa, the team really can't improve. Nobody can really get better than being one of the best teams in the league and that's the point I was trying to make. That's the objective. It is achieved. The Stanley Cup is the real objective of course, but the way you win a Cup is to become one of the best teams in the league and then hold that position. If you do, you probably get hot at the right time sooner or later and go all the way.

That isn't nearly as exciting as searching for, and finding, the final piece of the puzzle but it is a lot closer to reality. Completing the puzzle is media myth. The human resource planning doesn't get easier when you are on top - it gets harder. Change in Ottawa can make the team worse, but it is very unlikely to make it better. The Sens have to give away talent and the choices are harder than when you are lousy.

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The great teams of their era. Who were the bad teams of that era? Was that era not defined by the great teams. Arent they the nostalgia we long for.
The Canucks. Always the Canucks and the other west coast teams. One of the things that really gives me the pip about this whole level playing field argument is that the field is so dramatically tilted by geography in the NHL, it's a joke. Everybody ignores that.

The biggest disadvantage Edmonton faces is the schedule. It is a lot harder to win playing in Northern Alberta than it is sitting in Detroit or St. Louis. That West Coast teams face enormous disadvantages is all over the statistics. Nobody can statistically demonstrate a lack of parity in the NHL due to market size by try looking at it geographically. Look at the schedules. It is easy to see why Vancouver has mostly sucked for so long.

The best suggestion Brian Burke made was about a 70 game schedule. I don't think we'd recognize the standings in the west if it happened.

Tom

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09-19-2004, 03:18 PM
  #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin

At this stage in Ottawa, the team really can't improve. Nobody can really get better than being one of the best teams in the league and that's the point I was trying to make. That's the objective. It is achieved. The Stanley Cup is the real objective of course, but the way you win a Cup is to become one of the best teams in the league and then hold that position. If you do, you probably get hot at the right time sooner or later and go all the way.
exactly right. If you have a chance to win every year, sometimes you will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
The Canucks. Always the Canucks and the other west coast teams. One of the things that really gives me the pip about this whole level playing field argument is that the field is so dramatically tilted by geography in the NHL, it's a joke. Everybody ignores that.

The biggest disadvantage Edmonton faces is the schedule. It is a lot harder to win playing in Northern Alberta than it is sitting in Detroit or St. Louis. That West Coast teams face enormous disadvantages is all over the statistics. Nobody can statistically demonstrate a lack of parity in the NHL due to market size by try looking at it geographically. Look at the schedules. It is easy to see why Vancouver has mostly sucked for so long.

The best suggestion Brian Burke made was about a 70 game schedule. I don't think we'd recognize the standings in the west if it happened.

Tom
I agree that travel hurts those teams, but Detroit might not be the best counter example. Detroit and Columbus are the only teams in the eastern time zone in the Western Conference. They have to make 2 trips each year to Western Canada, and 2-3 tips to California\Phoenix. They also make 2 trips each to Dallas and Colorado. Whereas the Rangers and Devils can drive to about 25% of their road games. Its a huge factor.

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09-19-2004, 04:03 PM
  #128
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Originally Posted by hockeytown9321
I agree that travel hurts those teams, but Detroit might not be the best counter example. Detroit and Columbus are the only teams in the eastern time zone in the Western Conference. They have to make 2 trips each year to Western Canada, and 2-3 tips to California\Phoenix. They also make 2 trips each to Dallas and Colorado. Whereas the Rangers and Devils can drive to about 25% of their road games. Its a huge factor.
Yes, but Detroit and New York don't really compete with each other because they are in different conferences. Detroit competes with Vancouver. The Eastern conference is pretty fair because all the teams have more or less the same schedule. They all have it easier than all the Western teams.

The same thing is not true in the West. Vancouver is competing directly with Detroit. Vancouver has the worst geography in the NHL by a mile. They are isolated in one corner of a league with huge geographical spread. It shows up in both the road record - longer, tougher road trips - and at home. Western trips usually aren't too tough because there are so few teams out here the games are usually well spaced.

The Eastern conference games are much easier for the Red Wings than for the West Coast teams. The one thing that drives the Canucks nuts - they look for it on the schedule every year - is when the opponent beats the team to Vancouver and has a couple of days off while the Canucks finish up a road trip. In that situation the first game back is almost always a disaster.

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09-19-2004, 04:29 PM
  #129
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I've only read some of his thread, but it seems to me there's alot of useless rhetoric being spouted back and forth. So the key question is this: does every team have an equal chance to be competitive? That's a tough question to answer, but certainly what we need to look at is empirical evidence rather than a few isolated cases. So how would we able to do that? Well, since market size is often touted as the reason why some teams are more competitive than others, let's look at that. What someone should do is plug into excel market size (greater population) as one variable and success (points) as the other, and then look at the correlation. I'd do it myself but I'm too lazy and I don't have a spreadsheet application currently available. After that's done, the discussion could go from there.

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09-19-2004, 04:52 PM
  #130
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Yes, but Detroit and New York don't really compete with each other because they are in different conferences. Detroit competes with Vancouver. The Eastern conference is pretty fair because all the teams have more or less the same schedule. They all have it easier than all the Western teams.

The same thing is not true in the West. Vancouver is competing directly with Detroit. Vancouver has the worst geography in the NHL by a mile. They are isolated in one corner of a league with huge geographical spread. It shows up in both the road record - longer, tougher road trips - and at home. Western trips usually aren't too tough because there are so few teams out here the games are usually well spaced.

The Eastern conference games are much easier for the Red Wings than for the West Coast teams. The one thing that drives the Canucks nuts - they look for it on the schedule every year - is when the opponent beats the team to Vancouver and has a couple of days off while the Canucks finish up a road trip. In that situation the first game back is almost always a disaster.

Tom
Agreed. Maybe they should go back the divisonal playoffs. I know for Detoit, a few times in recent years they've had to play on a Saturday in Detroit for ABC and Sunday in LA or Anaheim. There should never be back to back playoff games, its just another example of Bettman hurting the credibility of the league by letting outside forces dictate terms to him.

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09-19-2004, 05:14 PM
  #131
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster
"Burke might of been the only GM in the NHL who had a business mind."

,,,,

No wonder Burke was canned - he was actually doing very little.
hey there ... Burke was not only GM, he was also President of the club. This means Cobb reported to him, unless Cobb was employed Orca Bay and not the Canucks.

DR

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09-19-2004, 06:57 PM
  #132
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Originally Posted by DementedReality
hey there ... Burke was not only GM, he was also President of the club. This means Cobb reported to him, unless Cobb was employed Orca Bay and not the Canucks.

DR
No, he did not.

I posted the excerpts from the Orca Bay organization structure on several ocassions in the past. Burke was President of the Canucks and reported to McCammon. Cobb was not involved in the actual the hockey operations and had everything else including all the financial portfolios except player contract negotiation in his hands. Cobb was Chief Operating Officer of Orca Bay and the vancouver Canucks and Cobb reported directly to McCammon by-passing Burke - that was the point of my post. It was different org chart than usually seen and was done to ensure that financial matters were not in Burke's hands.

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09-19-2004, 06:58 PM
  #133
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster
No, he did not.

I posted the excerpts from the Orca Bay organization structure on several ocassions in the past. Burke was President of the Canucks and reported to McCammon. Cobb was not involved in the actual the hockey operations and had everything else including all the financial portfolios except player contract negotiation in his hands. Cobb was Chief Operating Officer of Orca Bay and the vancouver Canucks and Cobb reported directly to McCammon by-passing Burke - that was the point of my post. It was different org chart than usually seen and was done to ensure that financial matters were not in Burke's hands.
ok, sounds like you researched it ... odd to give a guy the presidents title and not give him the porfolio of a president.

dr

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09-19-2004, 07:16 PM
  #134
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Originally Posted by DementedReality
ok, sounds like you researched it ... odd to give a guy the presidents title and not give him the porfolio of a president.

dr
Not really, Burkie is heavily into appearances. He had the title but not the powers nor the responsibilities. It is also strange that as President he was not an alternate rep to the NHL Board of Governors in place of McCaw or McCammon - that also went to Cobb.

As I said Burke was doing very little other than polishing his PR image and feeding stories to Gary Mason of the Vancouver Sun.

Here is an excerpt from a description of Cobb's duties on the SFU honoured alumnhi website from prior to his departure from the Canucks (Feb 2004):

"As chief operating officer for the Vancouver Canucks and Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, Dave Cobb is responsible for leading the overall strategic direction of the company, including sponsorship and tickets sales, broadcast, finance, human resources, communications and arena operations. Under Cobb’s direction, Orca Bay has thrived in an extremely competitive industry. Cobb has reconnected with fans, business and the city community to build a season’s ticket base and encourage higher attendance at games. As an alumnus and former soccer player for Simon Fraser University, Cobb has also served as a patron, spokesperson and mentor. He has participated in ceremonies, supported fundraising efforts and acted as a role model to SFU students."

http://www.sfu.ca/mediapr/sfu_news/a...ws02190407.htm

The Canucks website on his duties before the re-organization were clear to point out he reported directly to McCammon and not Burke.

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09-20-2004, 12:54 PM
  #135
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
If we want the same rules to apply under the new CBA, it is easy to find a formula the owners would love. Extend the existing CBA in every respect save one:

1) Designate hockey revenues and define the percentage the players get.

2) Hold back 20% of every player's salary until the end of the season.

3) Audit the books and settle up. Money collected that is over the player's designated share is divided equally among all the teams.

Since I don't care what whether the owners get their cost certainty, and I don't care what player salaries are, I would support that. The owners would also sign it in a second. The players wouldn't, of course, but that's neither here nor there.

Would you? Why or why not?

Tom
Yes, I think that works for me... as it would force GM's and teams to consider team payroll a lot more carefully... Teams that are cost conscious (given where they are in the 'cycle') are rewarded... Teams that are not cost conscious (given where they are in the 'cycle') are punished...

In the new CBA, I would also want something that more explicitily and strongly guides teams to use the proper building strategy (i.e. the 'cycle to success')... IMO, a priority should be to curb the behaviour of trying to 'buy a winner' and/or 'take shortcuts' - as IMO, that is the biggest reason why the NHL as a whole couldn't get the existing CBA to work (why the league as a whole is in trouble)... Home growing your 'core' is the ONLY way to go for year after year success - a solid foundation that has slow and steady steps forward... It ultimately generates a team millions of dollars in profit, keeps your team salary structure in check, and keeps the NHL salary market from severely inflating...

Although very good for Vancouver, I want a system that discourages Florida from trading Jovo for Bure (we could have still got a very good young player or two from an 'elite' team - where Bure belonged given his salary)... IMO, Florida being in the market for Bure is ultimately very bad for the league... Florida keeping and growing Jovo themselves is ultimately very good...

IMO, the new CBA should punish (although not eliminate) teams from trying to acquire players that they shouldn't - given where they are in the 'franchise life cycle'...

An idea I was thinking about that could help force (idiot-proof) GM's and teams to follow the 'cycle to success' is a transaction tax...

Like the GST, a % of the value (salary) of the player that you are acquiring... I'd make it as high a percentage as I could get away with... This would help force 'beginning of cycle' and 'middle of cycle' teams to think long and hard before acquiring high-priced players (i.e. it would punish these GM's and teams who are trying to 'skip steps' by acquiring players that they shouldn't be in the market to acquire - given where they are in the cycle)... Yet at the same time, the 'elite' teams would be able to easily pay for the 'tax' of expensive players they wish to acquire...

The league collects the tax money, and divides the tax equally amongst all the teams... This additional money 'rewards' teams who are 'home growing' and holding on to their own players - additional money to help teams pay for keeping together the 'core' that they are slowly and correctly developing in-house...

I think something like this, combined with what you suggest, completely works for me...

I would also like player salaries to be more of a variable cost, and less of a fixed cost (given that actual player and team output is variable from year-to-year)... But I'd perhaps leave that to a future CBA...


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09-21-2004, 02:50 AM
  #136
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Do you live in Vancouver? Vancouver was definitely not selling out games when they were losing. Revenues tanked. They always do with a loser. In every market.

The team struggled to sell 7,000 season tickets (they have 17,000 now). The announced crowds were ridiculous. The books said average paid attendance was about 12,500. If you wanted a couple of tickets to see the game, you watched the Canucks on TV and waited until the "hot ticket offer" came on. "Call this 800 number in the next hour and you get two tickets for the price of one".

The luxury boxes weren't sold out and even the sold ones were often empty. I knew someone who worked for one of the large forest companies and I could score freebies in ten minutes if the opponent was unattractive. The only good thing about being the fan of a team that sucks is that tickets are cheap and easy to get.

When the team is great, tickets cost an arm and a leg and can be very hard to find. Vancouver has premium pricing so if you want to see a good team - Detroit, Toronto, Colorado - it costs 20% over the face value of the ticket. Revenues per game are probably twice what they were four years ago. This also translates into more concession spending and more merchandising money.

Even if you don't go to the games - I don't go often any more - it costs a lot more. When the team sucked, I could get 79 games with the basic cable. The others weren't televised. I watched all 82 Canuck games last year, but it cost me $70 more on the basic cable and $180 more on the pay per view. The Canucks are getting a big chunk of the difference.

The Canucks were legitimately described as a small revenue team. They could not afford expensive players. They had to sell off talent. People pointed at them and said "See. There is something wrong with the NHL when teams have to dump all their stars for financial reasons."

The financial reason was the fans would not pay very much for a team that sucked. They wouldn't spend $200 at the rink to watch the Minnesota Wild thump them 5-1. People didn't want to spend nothing to watch the Wild thump them on free TV.

Today they are a big revenue team that can afford a big payroll. When you factor in the rink profits, they are also a big profit team. The result is that McCaw is about to realize a massive capital gain on his property. I don't begrudge him a single penny of it. That's the way the business is supposed to work.
WELL TOM. I don't know what era you are talking about, I assume the Messier era. Im talking about the first 3-4 years of the Canucks. They were a non-playoff team and were still one of the best teams attendance wise. They were a hockey market from the start. The same thing can't be said about teams like Nashville, Florida. That's the point im trying to make.

I hope you didn't strain your hand by typing so much.

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09-21-2004, 05:35 PM
  #137
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Originally Posted by chapel113x
Im talking about the first 3-4 years of the Canucks. They were a non-playoff team and were still one of the best teams attendance wise. They were a hockey market from the start. The same thing can't be said about teams like Nashville, Florida. That's the point im trying to make.
I dont see the relevance of this point. After 3-4 years of novelty and pride in finally having a team, all that mattered was winning, just like anywhere else. Florida has already shown they have supporters when winning, and Nashville seems obviously on the way there too. Its just startup costs



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Originally Posted by I in the Eye
In the new CBA, I would also want something that more explicitily and strongly guides teams to use the proper building strategy (i.e. the 'cycle to success')... IMO, a priority should be to curb the behaviour of trying to 'buy a winner' and/or 'take shortcuts' - as IMO, that is the biggest reason why the NHL as a whole couldn't get the existing CBA to work (why the league as a whole is in trouble)...
I think the biggest reason was, they allowed RFA salaries to escalate because they thought the purpose of RFAs was for other teams to use it to outbid for someone. Now they know better. They all admit it, and dont do it. The only RFA offer sheet should be for market value to someone who doesnt want to sign, but then they should wait until the team decides to trade rather than sign and make a trade given that the default compensation is 5 1st round draft picks.

As to the the punishment, I think we are really close to seeing things similarly. Giudelines to the proper strategy is great. I think we pretty much have them though. Teams shouldnt take shortcuts because it is often in their best interest right now.

But Im not convinced we need to punish or prevent them from buying a Cup. Not if it isnt an easier way to approach things. I dont begrudge the Leafs their attempts to buy the Cup, its all they know But as long as I dont think they have an unfair advantage in the choices they make being easier to buy a cup with, then Im not really worried what they spend. Right now, I know all they can spend it on is older players. Sure they are beating us as our players are approaching their peak years, but im not afraid they will have an unfair advantage if we continue and they buy whoever they want.

This is the beauty to me. No need to prevent them from doing something that isnt an unfair advantage. Thats the trick to find.

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09-22-2004, 05:46 PM
  #138
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Originally Posted by thinkwild
As to the the punishment, I think we are really close to seeing things similarly. Giudelines to the proper strategy is great. I think we pretty much have them though. Teams shouldnt take shortcuts because it is often in their best interest right now.
If we already had effective guidelines for teams to follow the 'proper strategy to success', wouldn't the majority of the teams be following it already? Wouldn't we be seeing far less 'shortcuts' in a given season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkwild
But Im not convinced we need to punish or prevent them from buying a Cup. Not if it isnt an easier way to approach things. I dont begrudge the Leafs their attempts to buy the Cup, its all they know But as long as I dont think they have an unfair advantage in the choices they make being easier to buy a cup with, then Im not really worried what they spend. Right now, I know all they can spend it on is older players. Sure they are beating us as our players are approaching their peak years, but im not afraid they will have an unfair advantage if we continue and they buy whoever they want.

This is the beauty to me. No need to prevent them from doing something that isnt an unfair advantage. Thats the trick to find.
IMO, teams shouldn't be prevented from trying to buy a cup, or trying to buy an expensive plug to fill a hole... But IMO, they should be 'discouraged' (punished) from doing so... IMHO, buying expensive 'new blood' for a fix is the quickest and most effective way to disrupt a team's salary structure...

For example, if the Canucks bought an established 2nd line RW - unless his salary somewhat fits into our existing salary structure (given what our other 2nd line - and bubble 3rd line/2nd line players earn), then the next time our 2nd line and bubble 3rd line/2nd line established players contracts are up for renewel, their will to earn a similar wage to what our 'new blood' 2nd line RW earns has gone up... Equal (or similar) contribution, equal (or similar) roles, equal (or similar) compensation...

If our two other 2nd line players are earning $1.5 million each, and our 'new blood' RW we brought in is earning $3.5 million... Unless the 2nd line RW is performing head and shoulders above what our other two 2nd liners are performing, then at least two more salaries have risen - based on player and player agent expectation alone... Given the variable nature of player output from year-to-year, it's a gamble... If our 'new blood' RW performs significantly worse then our two other 2nd line players, then we may end up paying the 'comparable' team players who are actually performing, significantly more...

And if the Canucks accomodate, then that plays a role in what 'similar' 2nd line - and bubble 3rd line/2nd line players will demand on other teams... IMO, none of this (contract signings) occur in a vaccum... IMO, they are all inter-related since they are all signed in the context of the NHL (with some contracts being clearly and significantly more related to each other than others - but IMO, they are all related)... $100,000 over payment here for a comparable player in a comparable situation, $500,000 over payment there for a comparable player in a comparable situation... IMO, it all eventually adds up and contributes to an escalating salary problem...

But if you don't agree, then it (a transaction tax) at least rewards those who are properly home growing their 'core'... It's an added incentive to do things the right way...

Edit: Not to mention, this new guy (2nd line RW) takes development time away from Jason King or Ryan Kesler It was a balancing act (being a cost conscious GM with the old CBA)... I'm glad that our GM didn't listen to me (or other Canucks fans) - looking for a 'quick fix silver bullet'... Burke took a lot of heat, but as the GM (the one making the decisions), I'm glad that he had the backbone to make unpopular (but long term beneficial) decisions for the Canucks... I'm glad that he allowed our core to develop - while on a budget and employing the proper strategy, achieving success... Ironic that he got canned...


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