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NHL considers discipline for Canucks GM

Benning facing penalty for comments on Subban, Stamkos

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BUFFALO -- The NHL plans to make a determination on potential discipline for Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning because of comments he made during a radio interview Thursday about trying to acquire defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade and attempting to sign Steven Stamkos as an unrestricted free agent.

The NHL does not condone executives or anybody associated with a team publicly discussing players under contract with another team unless granted permission. It is considered a form of tampering.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday he has been in touch with Benning and Canucks president Trevor Linden about what happened and the League will have an announcement next week.

Daly said the potential discipline is meted out on a sliding scale based on the damage the comments may have caused.

"There are a lot of different factors involved in something like that too," Daly said. "You have to see if there was damage done by the comments. Typically, if it's perceived it's more a violation than damage done, the penalty might be less. It really depends on the certain circumstance."

Benning made the comments on TSN 1040 Radio in Vancouver. He said he has talked with the Montreal Canadiens about acquiring Subban and added he plans on calling Stamkos' agent, Don Meehan, to discuss the potential of the Tampa Bay Lightning center signing with the Canucks.

Subban has six years remaining on his contract with the Canadiens. Stamkos' contract with the Lightning expires July 1, when he can become an unrestricted free agent.

"I received a number of concerns, not solely from the teams involved," Daly said. "So it was a matter of general concern among some of our clubs."

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin reportedly was upset at Benning's comments.

"He crossed the line," Bergevin told The Province in Vancouver.

Benning's comments about Stamkos would not have been an issue had he waited until Saturday to make them.

The NHL interview period opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday, granting GMs permission to talk to pending unrestricted free agents and their agents to gauge their interest in signing. Daly said GMs are allowed to talk publicly about pending UFAs during that window.

The window is open until 12 p.m. ET on Friday, when players can begin to sign with another team.

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