The owner of the Vancouver Canucks said Saturday he has no intention of firing general manager Jim Benning or coach Travis Green.
“I have full confidence in Jim, Travis and this group,” Francesco Aquilini wrote on Twitter. “I have no plans to make changes.”
The comments appeared with the Canucks having lost six straight games prior to hosting the Calgary Flames. Vancouver (6-11-0) was next-to-last in the Scotia North Division entering Saturday and had played the most games in the NHL.
“Of course I’m disappointed by our poor start, but the last thing we’re going to do is panic,” Aquilini wrote. “We’ve been better in recent games and I believe we’ll continue to improve.”
Recent media reports suggested Aquilini might be considering those changes.
“Contrary to what you may have read or heard, we’re sticking to the path we’re on: Building on our core of young talent,” Aquilini wrote. “Progression is not always a straight line. There is no easy fix, only patience, commitment and hard work.”
Vancouver captain Bo Horvat this week addressed the idea that the Canucks were playing poorly because they lost teammates this offseason, including goalie Jacob Markstrom and defenseman Christopher Tanev to the Flames.
“Obviously it is tough to see guys go, but at the same time you’ve got to move on and play for the team you are playing for,” Horvat said. “You can’t dwell on anything, and we have a great group of guys here and a lot of good hockey players and because we lost guys doesn’t mean we are trying to play bad.
“We all want to win here, and we all want to do well, so I don’t think that’s a theory at all.”
Green’s contract expires after this season (his fourth), and Horvat also pushed back against the idea that Green not having an extension in place is a cause for their season so far.
“That makes no difference to us,” Horvat said. “We all really like ‘Greener’ as a coach, and he’s done a heck of a job with our group. Obviously we’d love to see him stay and be a part of the Vancouver Canucks, but at the same time [we] have to worry about winning hockey games.”
Vancouver lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games in the Western Conference Second Round last season, one game from advancing to the conference final.
Aquilini praised the NHL Draft picks of forwards Brock Boeser (No. 23, 2015) and Elias Pettersson (No. 5, 2017) and defenseman Quinn Hughes (No. 7, 2018), and the outlook for rookie forwards Nils Hoglander (No. 40, 2019) and Valeri Podkolzin (No. 10, 2019).
“This has been a unique year for everyone,” Aquilini wrote. “Roster changes, very little training camp, no preseason, and just a few practice days. It takes time for new players to fit in and a new group chemistry to take hold, both on and off the ice.”