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Business on the Side

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
It's summer and Canucks GM is doing what you would expect while it's the "off-season".  He's relaxing in a boat at Langara Fishing Lodge in some friendly competition but it's not all fun and games as he checks in with the Team 1040 this past week.

Here are some of the highlights of his call or you can listen to the whole interview.

What is the latest in regards to Trevor Linden signing or maybe not signing with the team?

I met with Trevor less than a week ago and he's actually headed over to Europe on a bike tour so he was going to go do that.  He should be coming back in the next five or six days and then we're going to get together again and we're just going to keep pushing through it.  Our situation is make sure that it's something he wants to do again and it's a good fit with the club.  I think it's moving in the right direction, no question about that.

Why is it taking so long to come to an agreement?

We want to make sure that there is still a good fit, it's something he wants to do, it's a good fit with the coaching staff, and there's a situation where everyone is happy their roles.  In my opinion, I think it's going to work out but he wants to take his time here too. 

He's spending his time training and getting ready and then we're going to get together again, pretty similar to how we did it last summer.  I would expect that once we get to the middle part of August, we'll have a situation that's resolved.

 Do you think Trevor would be comfortable in a reduced role if he did return next season?

Well I don't think it's really a reduced role, I think there has to be a fit in terms of what he wants to do, how he wants to play, and what the coaching staff wants to use him for.  I think when you go into any season with any player with preconceived notions, it's a recipe for disaster. 

It could be even more of a role, who knows but I think you have to be on the same page in terms of, what if it is less and how do we all handle it.  Trev did play very well in the post season and everyone understands what kind of a character person he is and the respect that he has with our teams and with Steve [Tambellini] and myself. 

What do you have up your sleeve in the next couple of months to improve the team's offense?

I've said I'd like to add more scoring but I also said if there's nothing there then I'd be happy going into the year with what we have.

There hasn't been an opportunity that's presented itself to us yet that's been an upgrade for our team or would come at a significant cost.  But are we still going to add some more scoring is the question and we're going to continue to pursue that and I would expect that at some point.  Whether that's between now and camp or if it's into the first week of the season, I would expect that we would try to add some scoring at some point but I'm not going chase either.  If it's not there, I'm going to wait for it.

What are your thoughts on the big contract signing around the League when a lot of people were saying this wasn't going to happen after the lockout?

It's been a different summer, there's no question about it.  I think each summer so far since we've come out of the lockout is different.  I don't any of us can say we know what to expect or knew of what we were going to expect this year and I don't know what I'm going to run into next summer but the signings have been significant. 

The upfront money is large, you're talking about $10 million dollars for some players - that's the most this year - and the term of the deals is long.  If you're asking me if I'm surprised by them, in some cases yes, there's no question.

When you see deals like these go down, a lot of people see that as circumventing the salary cap to a certain degree because yes you're using the cap number to average out that contract but in essence  you could be paying $60 million to $65 million for a $50 million payroll.  Do you think that's right?

Whether it's right or not, it is permitted under the bargaining agreement.  We have rules as to how far you can jump down every year.  It's 100% rule so you can't jump down from $10 million to $2 million, you can only go down to $5 million and then 100% after that. 

It is permitted whether or not we like it or whatever we think it is, circumvention, it's not something that I can point to and say that they can't do that.  Several teams have done it this summer so it's not just one club.

Do you think the Canucks will at an advantage when the other clubs are trying to get back under the cap come September?

It doesn't [necessarily] mean that we're going to be one of the teams that's able to pull a deal off.  I think that's going to happen and it already has happened. 

You've seen some teams drop some players, move some players to free up some cap space.  I think it's probably going to happen again.  There are players who are still going to arbitration who are going to push their teams cap space up higher than they probably want to be and I do think there will be some movement between now and training camp.  In my opinion, there's no question that's going to happen.

Is Burkie in a boat with the Cup by himself?

No, I told him if he brought it, I wasn't coming. (laughs)  Hearing the stories from him is enough, I don't need to see it as well.

Do you guys spend much time talking business or do you try to get away from it?

A little bit of both.  You're in a boat for 12 hours, you have to mix it up a little bit.  That's one of things that is positive when you get up here is that with some of the guys, you can talk about the business, talk about what we think is going to happen, and some of the questions you're asking. 

We talk about that as well, pick each other's brains and help our planning moving forward and see if there's any kind of a fit for us or between these teams.  It's not all business that's for sure, we kind of spread it out a little bit. 

Is there a prize for whoever gets the biggest fish?

Yes there's a trophy.  It's a yearly thing so it's more pride than money.  There's definitely something on the line.

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