The Vancouver Canucks were fined $50,000 by the NHL for violating NHL By-Law 15, the league announced Tuesday.
“Canucks general manager Jim Benning violated the provisions of NHL By-Law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his club’s potential interest in players under contract to other NHL clubs,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated in a press release. “I spoke with Jim and accept his representation that he intended no harm with his comments and that he will handle similar questions from the media differently in the future.”
Last week, prior to the NHL Draft and before the free agency negotiating window opened, Benning admitted in various media interviews to having interest in pending unrestricted free agents Steven Stamkos and Milan Lucic. The window for teams being allowed to have contract discussions with UFAs opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday.
Benning and the Canucks responded to the discipline with the following statement.
The league doesn’t often announce tampering fines publicly like this. The last major example of the league doing so was back in 2009 when then-Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson openly discussed during a radio interview that his team was interested in pending UFAs Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
In addition to Benning’s comments about Stamkos and Lucic, he also openly acknowledged he had engaged in trade discussions with the Montreal Canadiens regarding P.K. Subban. It wasn’t a tampering a violation, but Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin later told reporters he felt Benning “crossed the line” by openly discussing the Subban trade talks.