Breaking news: Canucks Nation has a lot of questions about amateur scouting director Judd Brackett’s relationship with general manager Jim Benning and assistant GM John Weisbrod.
This week’s mailbag reflects the hot-button issue burning through the fan base. Alas, several of the questions are not legally safe to print since essential-services provisions amid the novel coronavirus shutdown do not include attorneys to defend against libel and defamation lawsuits.
But we’re including a selection of Brackett questions and a bunch of other stuff in MacIntyre Mailbag 2. (I’m thinking of going to Roman numerals).
What caused beef between Benning/Weisbrod and Brackett? Is it simply that Benning/Weisbrod want to scout more?
— Judd Brackett is underrated (@JuddBrackett_1) May 14, 2020
Numerous reports base this dispute on autonomy. Brackett doesn’t have control over the amateur scouting department that he desires. Stuff happens in sports organizations and guys move on, but what makes this issue exceptional is the level of detail being reported regarding Brackett’s unhappiness – right down to the contract that Benning offered him — and that it’s all occurring during what appears to be a golden era for Canucks scouting and drafting.
Regardless of the business, every worker wants to feel valued and respected, and every manager should seek that for their employees. Brackett has done an excellent job and deserves respect, as well as a degree of latitude. But as far as I know, there isn’t an organization in the National Hockey League in which the GM – and remember, Benning built his career as scout – has ceded total control of his scouting department and draft to a senior employee. Because if the owner comes looking for a scalp, his first stop isn’t the scouting department.
who would be the lead candidate for the new director of amateur scouting, considering bracket is as good as gone?
— jwu (@honeyribss) May 15, 2020
Good question and I don’t know. The Canucks added five new amateur scouts last summer and Benning said this is the strongest department he has had, so it’s extremely likely that if Brackett leaves he will be replaced from within. It would be naive to think, given how long this issue has been ongoing, there hasn’t been some succession planning. Benning promoted Brackett to the top job a year after inheriting him from Mike Gillis’ scouting staff.
What does Weisbrod even do and why was he even hired on?
— Zhao (@lintspeed) May 15, 2020
Benning hired Weisbrod to be his right-hand man, and as such Weisbrod is involved in nearly every aspect of hockey operations, including amateur scouting. Gillis had Laurence Gilman, Brian Burke had Dave Nonis, Nonis had Steve Tambellini. I’m not saying the Benning-Weisbrod dynamic is the same as those others or that those assistant GMs had the same level of influence. But every GM wants a supportive lieutenant he knows and trusts. That’s why it might be the most important hire after a head coach.
Is the Judd bracket news out of proportion due to the lack of content. Our market can sometimes make little things into big things. Is it overblown?
— Steven Rush (@HockeyRush17) May 14, 2020
The Brackett story would be big no matter what the circumstances but, yes, there isn’t a whole lot else to occupy West Coast attention these days in sports.
How Many goals did Judd Brackett score last season and why does everyone think he is such a god. Did he not decide on Juolevi over Tkachuk
— JB Ryan (@Jibs10) May 14, 2020
Zero goals. The same as Olli Juolevi at the NHL level. But Juolevi was Benning’s choice back in 2016 because the GM wanted a defenceman and loved what he saw from the Finn at the world juniors. He could have chosen Mikhail Sergachev or Charlie McAvoy. Benning is believed to have gone with Brackett’s first-round recommendation ever since.
I think I’ve heard the name Judd brackett Enough to last a lifetime can we stop please
— Jackie Torpedo (@JackieTorpedo) May 14, 2020
You’ll have to ask Canucks Twitter, but let’s move on.
What are your memories of Alex Mogilny's 1995-96 season of 55 goals & 107 points? Is he appreciated enough among best players to ever wear the #Canucks sweater?
— Canucks Prospects (@NucksWatch) May 15, 2020
Alex Mogilny was the best player I’ve ever seen in a Canucks uniform. But only for that one season. Incredibly gifted offensively, he could also play in his own end and in any situation. Teammates and staff, including Pat Quinn, loved Mogilny. But the team started to crater in his second season in Vancouver, and Mogilny wasn’t inspired playing for a draft position. I once tried to get a reaction from Mogilny, who was always chill, by asking him after practice one day if there was any sweat on his jersey. Trent Klatt just about fell out of the next stall. I also asked AlMo after the season for a summer contact, and his reply: “Sure, you want my credit card number, too?”
If the Canucks don't make it through the round Robin portion of the 24 team playoff are they in the lottery and able to keep their draft pick?
— Wolfman P (@wolfmanp) May 15, 2020
A lot of details still to be worked out IF the NHL returns with an expanded post-season format, but the league has said the Canucks are a playoff team on winning percentage and I don’t think that will change. The Canucks have no choice in this: they traded their 2020 first-round pick for J.T. Miller, but will defer payment to 2021 only if they miss the playoffs this season.
Mac…..hope you are well.
What do you think the Canuck blueline looks like next season?
How many new bodies do we see?
— allan powell (@socklesshal) May 15, 2020
There are a lot of moving parts on the blue line. The only certainties for next season are Alex Edler, Tyler Myers and Quinn Hughes. UFA Chris Tanev and RFA Troy Stecher could both be salary-cap casualties, and the team is expected to try moving Jordie Benn. Benn’s US$2 million salary could go to Nikita Tryamkin, and there’s a chance Brogan Rafferty makes the NHL roster after his excellent season in the AHL. Outstanding prospect Jack Rathbone could even play his way into NHL duty if he leaves Harvard, but that seems unlikely due to all the uncertainty in the hockey world – and real world – these days. After that, there’s still a chance for Juolevi on the left side. Unless the Canucks get Tanev and/or Stecher back at salaries that fit the cap, Vancouver will have to go on the market for another defenceman or two.
How long is your mullet?
— Robert Yang (@RobertTYang) May 14, 2020
The universal answer to that question, unless it’s to Barry Melrose, is “too long.” I’ve tried trimming my locks, but think I’d be more successful acting as my own chiropractor than barber. Since there’s no photographic evidence, I admit that I once had a ponytail as a very young man in the late ’80s, but my hair was never long and straight enough to form more than a little pigtail. I looked like an extra in a pirates drama.
Wondering if you can help me figure out who is the guy in this photo behind Pat Quinn? Can’t put my finger on it as it’s nearly 29 years ago… pic.twitter.com/LqtnIcgJ1w
— Joey Kenward (@kenwardskorner) May 14, 2020
Firstly, that was only 28-and-a-half years ago. But I cannot deny this graphic evidence: that’s my mentor, former Sun columnist Archie McDonald, on the far left and, I believe, a photographer standing behind Pavel Bure. The frightening part is that Pat Quinn’s hair migrated over time to my head.
OK. Which Scot was best at his craft? Golf: Old Tom Morris/Young Tom Morris? Football: Kenny Dalglish/Willie Johnston? Motor racing: Jackie Stewart/Jim Clark? Poetry: Robert Burns/Walter Scott? Politics: William Gladstone/John A. Macdonald? Acting: Sean Connery/Fat Bastard?
— Mike Beamish (@sixbeamers) May 14, 2020
Outstanding question. Glad you asked. Easily Old Tom, Kenny Dalglish, Jim Clark and Sir Walter Scott. The choice of actors is close, but I have to go with Fat Bastard because I saw “Rising Sun.”
Who would win a fastest skater competition between Harold Snepsts and Dana Murzyn?
— Ten Zowie (@TenZowie) May 14, 2020
On ice, Snepsts, easy. And I congratulate you for spelling Harold’s name correctly. But in sand, I’d go with Murzyn because those pumping arms would help generate momentum. And his skating stride would be the same.
Top five golf courses you’ve played while “on assignment.”
— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) May 14, 2020
I sense some cynicism in this question from my semi-retired friend who last paid for a round of golf when balls were gutta-percha. Work ALWAYS comes first and I have never missed a big story on the road – like, say, the reacquisition of Trevor Linden – because I was at a Jimmy Buffett concert. I have, however, on rare occasions brought my golf clubs to the NHL draft, then taken an extra day on my own dime before flying home. In this way, I was able to play: 1. Whistling Straits (a drive from Chicago) 2. Bethpage Black (New York City) 3. Streamsong Red (near Tampa) 4. Bulle Rock (a drive from Philadelphia) 5. Longaberger (outside Columbus).
Hey, Iain: During your long and storied career, have you ever encountered a reporter who did play-by-play in the press box when he, or she, should have been quiet? Asking for a friend.
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) May 14, 2020
Welcome back to Twitter my witty and fully retired Vancouver Sun colleague. You sell yourself short (no pun intended): You were both play-by-play man and colour anaIyst. Such as the time you offered in your customary staccato: “Canucks lose the faceoff. Turnover. Look at that, another bad pass. This team’s not ready to play.” And then the first 10 seconds of the game ended.
But I do miss your observations and appreciate your ongoing willingness to catch my mistakes before most Sportsnet readers see them.
Back when you were an intermission guest on pay per view @Canucks TV broadcasts, did you ever leave your cellphone on and in your jacket pocket and have someone call you while you were being interviewed? And were you mad the caller had an unlisted number? Asking for a friend.
— Steve Ewen (@SteveEwen) May 14, 2020
Who is this? Friends don’t call friends while on live television.
What position is the strongest in the farm system, and what do you think is in most need of help?
— dmolson (@burlivespipe) May 14, 2020
The Canucks have an excellent group of wingers on their way: Nils Hoglander, Vasily Podkolzin, Kole Lind, Will Lockwood, even Aidan Mcdonagh. And Zack MacEwen is already on the team. Their weakest position in the system is arguably their strongest at the NHL level: centre. The Canucks regarded Tyler Madden more as a winger than centre, but traded him to the Los Angeles Kings for Tyler Toffoli. Fifth-round pick Carson Focht is probably the best centre in the pipeline, and he just finished his draft-plus-one junior season in the WHL. It’s an area the Canucks need to address.
A update on Levio would be nice!
— Jaskaran (@Jaskarancanucks) May 14, 2020
Josh Leivo continues to rehab from his broken knee cap. Canucks always said if the playoffs lasted long enough, Leivo might play again this season. But if they started tomorrow, he’d still be unavailable.
Alright, alright. Tell us about the beef bourguignon.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) May 14, 2020
Easy but lengthy recipe. Requires commitment. Use quality stew beef from a butcher and don’t cheap out on the wine. Go with two-thirds/one-third mix of wine and beef stock and use plenty of flour when you initially cook the onion and celery to ensure a substantial sauce as you cook the meat for three to four hours in a sealed cast-iron pot. You’re welcome.