We’ve reached the first major pressure point. The Vancouver Canucks start the on-ice days of training camp tomorrow (Thursday) in Abbotsford and as it stands early Wednesday afternoon they will do so without 1st-line centre Elias Pettersson and top-pair offensive defenceman Quinn Hughes.
“I’m disappointed that they’re not going to be here for the start of camp,” Canucks GM Jim Benning told the media Wednesday morning, “but I’m going to continue to talk to CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and (agent) Pat Brisson and try to get something figured out as soon as we can.”
Benning later added, “They’re complex negotiations. They’re two real good young players, they’re important to our organization. We’ve had a lot of conversations with Pat Brisson to try and find common ground and we’ll continue to have those conversations. I think we’re getting close … we’re gonna be talking again this afternoon and hopefully we can get something done quick.”
According to a source close to the players, anything is possible but there is much work to be done, and indicated that predicting the day and time of when an agreement will be reached is extremely difficult. Sooner than later would make all parties happy, including the fan base.
Similar to his GM, Head Coach Travis Green used “not here for camp” language. Were they conceding the fact that the two players might be absent for a period of time, or just staying in the moment and referring to Wednesday’s off-ice evaluations?
We’re disappointed obviously that they’re not here, as a coach, we have a lot of new bodies on the team,” Green said. “I think being two big pieces to our team, it’s important that they’re here and obviously for young players, training camp is a big part of working on certain parts of your game, and these are two young players that are vital to our team. You know, it’s an important time for them as well, and our team.”
All of the Vancouver Canucks players that addressed the media Wednesday morning showed their usual solidarity and understanding.
“It’s tough for sure, but this happens a lot around the league,” Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers said. “You handle it in stride. We want those guys back as soon as we can but we also understand the business side of things. We have full support for those two and I’m sure they’ll be joining us soon.”
We’ll see if the optimism turns to reality shortly. The first on-ice sesson begins Thursday in Abbotsford at 9 am.