The Canadiens blew up their front office, are the Canucks next?

Following a front office shakeup in Montreal, is it finally time for the equally despairing Canucks to comtemplate systemic change in Vancouver?

On Zone Time this week, Julian and the crew debate whether the Toronto Maple Leafs are a juggernaut or just a regular NHL contender. They ask when Canucks fans will see change after the Canadiens blew up their own front office, and try to make sense of 'Lemieux-Tkachuk-Quick-Gate'.

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Video Transcript

JULIAN MCKENZIE: We can go in on the Montreal Canadiens and the fact that after their Cinderella run, everything has gone to-- well crumbling down. Like a building just kind of falling in on itself, the implosion, that's basically the Montreal Canadiens right now.

Marc Bergevin is gone. Trevor Timmins is gone. Their AGM, Scott Mellanby resigned. Paul Wilson-- they even fired the PR-- the head PR guy. Like, they clean swept everything moving. And also, some of those pieces I mentioned may or may not be linked to the Vancouver Canucks.

I can let you guys comment on the Canadiens collapse right now from a managerial standpoint if you want. I think it might be a little bit more fruitful if we talk about anoth-- if there's another team out there who deserves some kind of front office sweeping. And it can be the Canucks if we so choose to go there.

I understand a lot of people in Vancouver have wanted the front office managerial staff to be cleaned out for quite some time. We've made it no secret about Jim Benning and how he's gone in Vancouver. Sam, how-- like Jim Benning, Vancouver right now, I mean, let's just throw it out there, right? Like, overdue--

SAM CHANG: He's never leaving.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Right? OK, well--

SAM CHANG: He's never leaving.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: You're taking that stance, I guess. He might leave.

SAM CHANG: I don't know what it's going to take at this point for him to get fired. Like, this is-- I don't know what it's going to take for anyone to get fired. They've won seven games. It's December-- when this comes out, it's December the 1st. They spent the last two years saying, look how well we did in the bubble. We took Vegas to seven games. This is a great core.

People were falling over themselves to say Benning had a great off season. And like, he had a good off season relative to all his other previous off seasons. But those were all terrible. So like, you have to think of the context when you say he had a good off season.

And like, yeah, I'll give it to him-- Connor Garland was a good pickup. But this is a team that we've been told is going to continue to improve. And they're terrible. Like, they're not even-- it's not even like Ottawa where you lose but they look like they're having fun or they put in a good effort. They just look like garbage. It's painful to watch. It's not fun.

It's-- and it's the same thing every night. And yet, they're just-- they're unwilling to make any decisions about the coach, about the front office, like nothing. They're just gonna-- they're just gonna wait. And it makes no sense.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Are you good?

SAM CHANG: No, I'm not good.

OMAR: Yeah I just--

SAM CHANG: I was actually like upset that they lost to the Habs last night. I mean, that they beat the Habs.


SAM CHANG: Yeah. It felt like a loss.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. Yeah, jeez. That's so bad that looked, how bad you felt. Holy crap.

OMAR: Yeah. I mean--

SAM CHANG: Every win just prolongs-- prolongs the suck.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: You need a hug. I'm so sorry.

SAM CHANG: I need a new GM.

OMAR: I just don't get-- I don't get what they're waiting for. Like to Sam's point, like when you have-- I thought-- I don't know. Like, I don't follow the Canucks like every single day. But I think man, you hit Bikini Bottom when a player says out loud, we don't know what we're doing during a drill.

Like, I don't know how Travis Greene-- and again, I'm not throwing all that to Travis Greene. But I don't know how you just say, you know what? Let's just fire someone or just let someone leave and see what happens there. But they're doing absolutely nothing.

It's insanity, man. It's the definition of insanity. You're doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And I don't know if they're-- if they just like internally, they're just like, OK we're just going to tank for a tick for the first overall pick. I don't know if that's what it is.

But it's just like, it's just it's getting from bad to worse. And now-- we're now-- now that there's the speculations about what's happening in the room and like beef between players, it's just-- it's just crazy. Because now we're going beyond on ice stuff. And we're only focusing on off ice issues. And that's an issue.

SAM CHANG: It's not even just the locker room. Like, fans are now talking about beefs between media members. Like the hockey is so bad that we will literally talk about anything else that could be more entertaining.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: In terms of media beef in Vancouver, what's the spiciest media beef going down right now?

SAM CHANG: Oh, the spiciest media beef is between Ian McIntyre and Matt [INAUDIBLE] right now.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh. Can you give us some context for people East of the country? Like, what's going down?

SAM CHANG: The context is they are like publicly sniping at each other on Twitter for-- one for being for-- McIntyre says [INAUDIBLE] is like fabricating things about the locker room rift. And [INAUDIBLE] is calling McIntyre like a management lackey because he was photographed walking with Francesco Aquilini in the airport.


OMAR: Oh boy.


SAM CHANG: And so, That's what people are talking about instead of, you know, losing every single game.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's bad in Vancouver. I mean, Arun, do you have any thoughts on this? I want to let you get in on this.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: No. I mean, I think like Sam and Omar have covered most of it. I mean, I just think it really speaks to I think a lot of what Sam was saying. It's like if this hasn't already happened, if Benning hasn't already been gone, like what's it going to take, right?

I looked it up. Like Travis Green is the eighth longest tenured head coach in the NHL, which is fascinating to me. So like for Travis Green and Benning, yeah it seems like Aquilini doesn't really want to get rid of these guys despite the franchise being in turmoil. I'm not particularly sure.

And to look to other organizations, yeah like, I don't know. I was thinking about what other organizations would need a complete overhaul. And it just seems like the Canucks are the only real answer, unfortunately.

But it really does seem to be that, you know? Ownership has complete faith in their head coach and general manager. The-- Aquilini might be the only guy in the hockey world who has that faith in his coach and his GM to figure it out. I mean, you could say maybe it's tanking for the first overall pick.

My mildly hot take on that is tank for 2023 instead where Connor Bedard and Matvei Michkov are there.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's how I feel about that, man. A lot of these teams are tanking a year too early. But that's just my two cents.

ARUN SRINIVASAN: Yeah. Bedard and Michkov are both generational at this point. But anyway, that's neither here nor there. I'm curious to see how it plays out. But it does seem that the Canucks were going to make any moves, it'd be in the off season, because why hasn't it happened already?

OMAR: Which is so weird. Because you see like, you know, the Habs cleaned house. And they made the final last year. And again, there's obviously a lot of other things that happen within the organization. But like, I don't know.

If I'm a Canucks fan, I'm like looking at Montreal. And I'm looking back on my team. And it's like-- like what's the difference? Like, I don't-- I don't get what's-- they're like they're losing as many games. You know, the feel around the team is, you know-- is up and down. More down than up, nowadays.

But it's like, I don't get what they're waiting for. And even if the plan is to tank, like-- OK so tank for what? You're still going to have the same people around who are going to build up what you've been breaking down?

OK, yeah, sure. Let's retool. But you don't have the same people. That doesn't make any sense. So it's just like, just let people go. I don't know, man. Like maybe-- is there like-- is it like a ransom going around? Like, you know, secrets or whatever? Are there like stuffed animals that are being threatened or something?

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Stuffed animals?

OMAR: I don't know, man. I don't-- I just don't get-- I don't understand how-- how look-- at the very least, because again, we see it all the time. We see it all the time. When an NHL team starts to suck, the first one to get it is the coach.


OMAR: So I'm actually really surprised Travis Greene is still around. I thought he'd be-- I thought he'd be out first. And then they would just wait until the off season and then like offload Benning and whatever. But it's like, no. Like, everyone's still here. So I don't-- I don't know what the plan is. And again, as a person who used to be a fan of a team who didn't know what the plan was, it's not fun.

SAM CHANG: And I agree. Like, I'm surprised he's still here. But at the same time, if you look at that roster, like if everyone was firing on all cylinders, I don't think Travis Greene is getting this team any better than like right on the edge. Like maybe a wild card team. That roster is not good enough to make the playoffs regularly.

And people who-- there are a loud faction of fans here who are like, this is just Travis Greene's system. This team should be way better. It's like, this blue line is garbage. It's not a good roster. They should be-- they should be better than what they are now. But the idea that this is a team of contenders is ridiculous.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, they're not.

OMAR: The off season when we saw all the players passed out on the ice after that drill, little did we know it was a prophecy for the future.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: The Vancouver Canucks are really in it. And hey, I would be very happy for Sam and for a lot of Canucks fans if by the time this episode drops, maybe the Canucks did something. But it doesn't seem as if they're going to do anything.

SAM CHANG: The rumor this morning was that they're super interested in Marc Bergevin. So I don't know if I actually want--

OMAR: Whoa wait what?

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh, yeah, right.

OMAR: Wait, time out. Time out.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh, Omar, you didn't catch that, right? When I was listing off all the guys for being let go from the Canadiens, like I was saying the Canucks are interested some of them. And it's--

OMAR: I thought that was a joke.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: But Omar-- but Omar, it's not just Marc Bergevin. There's interest in Scott Mellanby, too. And there's interest in Sean Burke who's the goalie coach consultant for the Canadiens. Right now the Canucks essentially want to be the Canadiens right now, reportedly. Reportedly.

OMAR: Can I-- can I just say so-- can I just talk directly to--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I'll get-- Omar, you have-- Omar, you have the last word on the Canucks. And then we'll move on to the hottest beef in the National Hockey League.

OMAR: Yeah. Whether I'm talking to you, whether you're watching this on YouTube or you're listening to this--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Solo cam, give him the solo cam.

OMAR: I need you to understand, OK? If you want to be a general manager or an owner or a hockey president whatever, just do it. Just do it. Because year after year, we see all these examples of these people just doing things that make absolutely no sense. They just fired everyone in the Habs organization. So we're going to rehire them to join us because they're going to help. How the hell does that make any sense?

That's like that's like someone using a baseball bat to like try to hit a ball. The bat breaks. And then the person throws the broken bat. And then someone else tries to use a broken bat to hit the ball afterwards. That doesn't make any sense. I don't get it. I don't get it.

So listen, if you want to be a GM, if you want to be anything in the NHL, just do it. And if they ask you for a resume, say I don't need a resume. And if they say why, list off all the people that get hired after they do bonehead stuff. You know what?

You know what? You know it's going to be funny? The Canucks are going to fire Benning. And then they're going to hire Peter Chiarelli. I'm calling it right now. I'm calling it right now. And then, [INAUDIBLE] going to come in and he's going to be like you know what? I have a vision.

SAM CHANG: Why do you hate me?

OMAR: I believe that I can be a contender. I believe I can do all of these things. That's what's going to happen. It's going to make absolutely no sense.

SAM CHANG: Hate me so much.

OMAR: I'm just saying, man-- I'm just saying it's a cycle. It's a cycle of stupid. And I don't understand why it keeps happening. Just hire new people. It's like go into the younger systems and hires-- hire new people. God.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: The only thing I just want to add before we move off here-- to anyone listening to Omar's rant who feels inspired and happens to live in Montreal, learn French. That's the only thing I'll add to that. Because you have to learn French to be the GM there.