Canucks owner addresses Benning firing: 'Maybe we were too patient'
It's a time of change for the Vancouver Canucks.
Team owner Francesco Aquilini and interim general manager Stan Smyl held a press conference to discuss the club's decision to shake things up amidst the Canucks' abysmal 8-15-2 start.
The main message? Vancouver's on-ice product wasn't good enough.
"The status quo was just not acceptable," Aquilini said, according to TSN's Farhan Lalji. "We will get it right."
The Canucks let go of head coach Travis Green, assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner, assistant general manager John Weisbrod, and much-maligned general manager Jim Benning on Sunday.
Benning had taken the brunt of the heat from fans, with "fire Benning" chants raining down at the end of Vancouver's 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Aquilini was honest when asked if the Canucks had held onto Benning for too long.
"Maybe we were too patient, we could've maybe done it sooner, I don't know," Aquilini said, according to The Athletic's Thomas Drance.
A fan tossed their jersey onto the ice at the end of Saturday's contest, which was the last straw for Smyl.
"The end of that game was very tough to watch," he said. "And at that point, I felt that I needed to get involved and to make my views known."
Moving forward, Aquilini said the plan is to find a general manager and "maybe a president." Smyl can make moves for the organization if the opportunity arises.
There is no current timeline for the search.
Above all, Aquilini reiterated his faith in the club but added that the next general manager would have to decide whether Vancouver goes through a rebuild.
Canucks new head coach Bruce Boudreau also addressed the media Monday and outlined his game plan as the new guy in town.
"You'd really like to make it a winning team from here on in. To get the guys happy, to get the fanbase happy again with them winning and wherever that leads, that leads. We just don't want things to continue the way they were continuing," he said.
"If it ends up getting into a playoff spot, fine and dandy. ... I never think it's an impossibility."
Following their first skate with Boudreau, several Canucks players took the time to talk about the franchise's monumental changes made to the organization.
"I really believe in our group, I believe in our core players, I believe in our young guys. I want to win here. I want to be a Canuck, I want to win here as a Canuck," captain Bo Horvat said, per TSN. "Looking at management, they believe in us too.
"I don't think anyone wants to rebuild here."