“Blow it up”. This may be the most overused phrase in sports. When one’s favorite team loses and does not meet expectations, talk shows and social media light up with critical fans suggesting it’s time for (name the team) to “blow it up”.

The Vancouver Canucks have “blown it up” and now that their many fans have been appeased, it’s time for them to remain silent. Anything and everything not only can, but will be used against them. Okay, that may be going a bit far since this isn’t a police interrogation.

Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini listened to paying customers (and even those that don’t attend the games) that demanded change and as a result, significant changes have been made.

To date, the Canucks hired a rookie president of hockey operations, a rookie GM, a rookie coach which means no Gillis and Tortorella to bash. Luongo is long gone, Schneider is a distant memory, and Kesler received his wish for a one way ticket out of town. Even serviceable defenceman Jason Garrison was shipped to Tampa to free up a roster spot. Moreover, the much maligned David Booth was bought out. These are just some of the examples of the Canucks “Blowing It Up”.

Starting with the Kesler deal last Friday, Vancouver added centre Nick Bonino, and defenceman Luca Sbisa from Anaheim, forward Derek Dorsett from the Rangers, winger Linden Vey from the Stanley Cup champion Kings and then made a splash on Canada Day, with the signing of free agent goalie Ryan Miller to a 3-year, $18 million deal. Vancouver added forward Radim Vrbata on Wednesday as the 33-year-old ex Coyote agreed to a 2-year contract for a total of $10 million. In other words, the Canucks changed more than 20 per cent of their 20-man roster in a few days. These transactions do not include their draft picks that will be part of the team’s future but not likely this season. Both Dorsett and Vey played for new coach Willie Desjardins in Medicine Hat (WHL) so it’s clear that past ties to the new men in charge could play a role in the transformation of the team.

“Each day you kind of put one piece together and identify the direction you want to go. I’m thrilled the way we’ve been able to move forward the way we have. Hiring a coach, dealing with a difficult situation (Kesler’s trade request), bringing in players who are excited to be in Vancouver and what that brings to the team, bringing in a new crop of kids like Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann and Thatcher Demko, it’s just all really positive,” super boss Trevor Linden told the Vancouver Sun.

It’s easy to make changes, but making changes for the “better” can be an entirely different story. The Canucks are in worse shape today, in terms of winning, than they were in 2011, but are they better off than last season when they missed the playoffs? That’s debateable, however, the arrival of Miller should end the drama that has prominent in the key position of goaltending.

Patience should be the team’s next buzz word. Sure they still have the Sedins, Burrows, Hamhuis and Bieksa, however, the Canucks, as they are constituted today are just an average NHL team, which on paper is not good enough to compete for a title. It’s anyone’s guess where this team will be in three or four years but for the immediate future fans should withhold criticism since they got what they wanted.

Yes, this may turn out to be a case of “be careful what you wish for”.


I was impressed with the manner in which Canucks rookie GM Jim Benning addressed the Ryan Kesler situation. Benning did not let the issue linger and reacted promptly. It was no secret that Kesler asked for a trade and even had the audacity to demand Anaheim or Chicago because the other 27 options were not to his liking.

Considering Benning’s predicament, Vancouver maximized the return even though it was a package deal. Benning told the media “I didn’t want this to fester. We don’t want somebody that doesn’t want to be here.”

This position by the Canucks is principled and understandable. It’s part of a culture that the Prince George Cougars are trying to change (players requesting a trade). If a player wants out of a city, whether it’s Vancouver, Prince George, Lethbridge etc. it’s best to not keep him in an environment which could turn toxic. To be successful, teams need stability behind a solid organization that players believe in and trust. Once that is accomplished, seldom will players request a leave.

From the Quote Rack:

Johnny Manziel was seen partying with Justin Bieber. One is a self-indulgent, spoiled, self-centered hell raising brat that many want to see deported. The other is Bieber.

Luis Suarez received a whooping nine-match suspension–he asked the FIFA if he could serve it in
bite-sized increments.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The player who Luis Suarez of Uruguay bit was Italian defender Chiellini. Upon his return to Italy, Chiellini told reporters he would never complain about the mosquitoes in Manitoba again.

Most of the World Cup Italian, Spanish and Portuguese players promised they’ll be back in 2016 for the Summer Olympics. Of course, they will then be representing their countries in Men’s Diving.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

With a “blowout”, by World Cup standards, 2-0 win, looks like Colombia didn’t have to fight tooth and nail to beat Uruguay.

How bad a stretch did the San Francisco Giants have in June? Most Northern California fans haven’t seen such a bad stretch since the San Jose Sharks were in the playoffs.

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

And in case you missed it:

Three reasons ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian ran in the Milwaukee Brewers sausage race:
3. It was an opportunity he relished;
2. To make the others play ketchup;
1. He wanted it in the wurst way.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the sports director for radio station TheGoat94.3 His column appears Fridays on hqprincegeorge.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to [email protected]

Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller