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Canucks re-sign GM Ben­ning to re­build team

Ottawa Sun - - SPORTS - — Post­media wire ser­vices

VAN­COU­VER — The Van­cou­ver Canucks have given gen­eral man­ager Jim Ben­ning more time to try and re­build the strug­gling NHL fran­chise.

Ben­ning, who was in the last year of his cur­rent deal, has been signed to a multi-year con­tract ex­ten­sion, the team said Wed­nes­day.

The deal is be­lieved to be three years.

The Canucks are cur­rently mired near the bot­tom of the NHL stand­ings and are in dan­ger of miss­ing the play­offs for the third con­sec­u­tive year.

“It’s been hard,” Ben­ning said about re­build­ing the fran­chise. “Los­ing is never fun. I knew com­ing it was go­ing to be a lot of work.

“The tough part of it is the de­vel­op­ment. If you draft well, the de­vel­op­ment of those play­ers, you can’t seem to get them up and go­ing fast enough.”

As the sea­son pro­gressed ques­tions be­gan to sur­face if the Canucks would keep Ben­ning or de­cide to head in an­other di­rec­tion.

Trevor Lin­den, the Canucks’ pres­i­dent of hockey op­er­a­tions, praised the work Ben­ning has done and said it was im­por­tant to main­tain con­ti­nu­ity mov­ing for­ward.

“It’s a re­sults ori­en­tated busi­ness,” Lin­den told a news con­fer­ence at Rogers Arena. “I know there has been some chal­lenges in that re­gard. I also rec­og­nize there is a lot of good things hap­pen­ing in our or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Al­low­ing this man­age­ment group, who I think has con­tin­ued to do things bet­ter, to con­tinue on that path, is im­por­tant.”

Van­cou­ver took a 22-28-6 record into Wed­nes­day night’s game against the Florida Pan­thers. The team’s 50 points left Van­cou­ver 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Con­fer­ence and 28th out of 31 over­all.

The Canucks are one of the low­est scor­ing teams in the league and have just four wins in their pre­vi­ous 11 games.

Still, Ben­ning sees some progress.

Right winger Brock Boeser leads the team with 26 goals and 48 points and is a can­di­date for rookie of the year. Bo Hor­vat has es­tab­lished him­self as the team’s top-line cen­tre and found chem­istry with winger Sven Baertschi, who came to the team in a trade en­gi­neered by Ben­ning.

BYFUGLIEN, BOWEY FINED

Win­nipeg Jets de­fence­man Dustin Byfuglien is among three NHL play­ers fined for penal­ties to­day.

Byfuglien is fac­ing a $5,000 fine for slash­ing Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals for­ward Jay Bea­gle dur­ing a game Tues­day.

The Cap­i­tals’ Madi­son Bowey is also fac­ing a fine of nearly $2000 for in­ter­fer­ence in the same game.

Las Ve­gas Golden Knights’ Deryk En­gel­land is fac­ing a fine of just over $2,500 for cross check­ing in a Tues­day game against Chicago.

GETTY IM­AGES

Deryk En­gel­land of the Ve­gas Golden Knights was fined $2,500 for cross check­ing dur­ing a Tues­day game.

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