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Patrick Alvin doesn’t know what Canucks fans want

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“I think the fans want to see a team that competes every night and plays the right way.”

Although he may be the team’s general manager, Vancouver Canucks fans haven’t heard much about Patrick Alvin.

Instead, a spokesperson for the Canucks’ management group was President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford. It didn’t always go well, however, with Rutherford’s public criticism of coaching Bruce Boudreau and his admission that he was talking to other coaching candidates. what he called “speculation” about the change in formation.

Alvin was present Sunday when the Canucks introduced their new head coach, Rick Tuckett. What this showed was that he still lacked a good understanding of the Vancouver market.

“I think the fans want to see the team go head-to-head every night.”

When asked about the anger currently simmering in the Canucks fan base and how the team hopes to win back the fans’ trust, Allvin’s response was ambiguous.

“I think the fans here and the city of Vancouver are missing a banner hanging from the rafters,” Alvin said. “That’s what they expect, isn’t it?” and win hockey games. I think that’s what the fans want to see. I think the fans want to see a team that competes every night and plays the right way. »

Alvin wasn’t wrong in saying that fans are desperate to see the Canucks win the Stanley Cup, though he put it in an odd way—the banner on the rafters isn’t exactly the point, but it could say, “Look at the banner. Maybe fun in the future.”

But, because Canucks fans want to win a Cup so badly, what they want from the Canucks right now is a clear plan to get there. That’s what Alvin and the Canucks leadership group failed to get across, and Sunday’s press conference was another missed opportunity to get that message across.

Instead, Alvin spoke of fans wanting a team that “competes” and “plays the right way”.

For nearly a decade, fans have watched a management group try to ice a competitive team that “plays the right way” every season. He’s missed the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons and is one of the worst potential collectors in the NHL.

Even when Alvin suggests that fans want to “win hockey games,” he’s not quite right. There is a portion of the fanbase that would rather lose games to the Canucks right now to secure a better position in what has to be the strongest NHL draft entry in years.

“If everyone improves every day, the team will improve.”

Allvin might have a better idea of ​​what Canucks fans really want if he hadn’t attended the town hall event for the team that pitched last-minute season tickets earlier in January. Participants They promise they will get an Q&A with Alvin But he was replaced by Vice President of Hockey Operations, Stan Smil, who He was unable to answer many questions from fans.

When asked directly on Sunday about the current negativity from Canucks fans and why fans should have faith in the team’s vision and process, Allvin’s response did absolutely nothing to bolster that confidence.

“I don’t really know what you’re referring to, I guess,” said Alvin. “What is the end result, winning the cup, right? Like I said earlier, when you enter this building, I haven’t seen a sign here yet.

“I think the quality of the people we’ve brought here will make it easier for the players to feel comfortable every day that they come here, so they can play. It’s not about me or [Tocchet]It’s about the team and this organization. We must provide players with all the solutions and all the tools to make them better. And if everyone gets better every day, then the team gets better.

It looks like a passing plane, but not very big.

There are two main problems here. One is that the Canucks’ off-ice movement did little to make the players feel comfortable — or “safe,” as he said at another point in the conference. Boudreau’s failure deflects legitimate concerns about him How the Canucks handled Tanner Pearson’s hand injuries and ensuing surgeries – How relieved were the players when they saw a teammate go from 4-6 weeks at the end of the season?

In addition, the Canucks’ improvements to the team’s locker room and facilities were disappointing and at best surface level. Then there is the players obvious annoyance with the way Boudreau was positioned.

The second problem is that improving individual players will only get a team so far if those individual players aren’t good enough. Some players have a lower cap than others, while the veterans probably already hit it and won’t get better every day but will get worse over time.

“brick by brick. “

The closest Alvin has come to a plan is the go-to phrase he uses in interviews and press conferences, which also came up on Sunday: “Brick by brick.”

He is shown to favor a methodical approach to building a team, constantly adding pieces until the team improves. From other comments it seemed clear that these “blocks” meant mostly the addition of players under the age of 26, such as Ethan Beer, Riley Stillman, Lynn Pedersen and Jack Studnica.

As a metaphor, it is useful. For example, constantly adding bricks to a building with weak foundations causes everything to collapse.

Or, one could add too many of a certain type of brick – let’s call them wings – while neglecting another type of brick – say, defenders – and end up with a lopsided building that doesn’t really fit.

Or, one could keep adding bricks without a plan and end up with nothing more than a pile of bricks.

What fans want — more than a team that competes hard and plays the right way — is confidence that Canucks management has a plan and that there is a long-term plan to deliver the Stanley Cup to Vancouver. The Canucks’ actions have so far provided no indication of such a long-term plan.

Indeed, Rutherford’s words show that there is a clear disconnect even on the definition of “long run”.

“The deals we’re doing are trying to get players who are 26 or 25 or younger and get this team together in a year or two,” he said. Rutherford said a week ago. It will never be a miracle solution. There is a long game here. »

The simple fact is that Canucks fans have little or no faith in the organization right now. The trust between the fans and the team has been broken and it’s something that will take some time to repair.

It will take much longer if the Canucks continue to misunderstand their fans.

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