Sports Willes’ Musings: Rumours swirl around Tanev ahead of NHL draft

10:41  19 june  2017
10:41  19 june  2017 Source:   The Province

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The NHL draft is the one day Canucks fans approach with an uneasy mix of keen anticipation and utter fear. — Chris Tanev has been the subject of more rumours than Jared Kushner lately and with the draft now just six days away, the interest in the Canucks’ defenceman will only intensify.

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The NHL draft is the one day Canucks fans approach with an uneasy mix of keen anticipation and utter fear. To help kick-off the week, here’s something else that conflicts its audience, the Monday morning musings and meditations on the world of sports:

Chris Tanev has been the subject of more rumours than Jared Kushner lately and with the draft now just six days away, the interest in the Canucks’ defenceman will only intensify.

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But the question with Tanev isn’t whether other teams are interested in him. He’s a 27-year-old, right-shot defenceman with a reasonable contract who fits comfortably in most team’s top four. Of course there’s interest in him.

But will anyone overpay to acquire Tanev? That’s the real question for Canucks general manager Jim Benning.

Dallas, for example, is thought to be one of the teams most interested in Tanev and they have the third and 29th picks in Friday’s draft. One of the rumours making the rounds has the Canucks, who pick fifth, flipping picks with the Stars and picking up their late first-rounder and another asset for Tanev.

Benning — and to be clear, he was speaking hypothetically — didn’t think much of that idea.

“I”m going to make those calls and see what it’s going to take to move up,” said the Canucks’ GM. “But I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot to move up a couple of spots.”

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Translation: If the Canucks can hit a home run with Tanev — and that probably means two prime assets — they’ll make the deal. Otherwise they’ll hang on to him. They’ve already lost Nikita Tryamkin. On Sunday, Luca Sbisa was left unprotected in the expansion draft.

Benning insists he wants to maintain a competitive environment on his team. How does he do that by trading away his best defenceman?

Benning was also asked about the size/grit factor on his club and if that would be a priority in the draft. The top teams in the West can all play fast, but most of them also play big and the Canucks were simply pushed out of too many games last season.

Benning, however, said speed and skill would be the priority in this draft.

“I agree with that (size) argument, but as we transition it’s about speed and skill,” Benning said. “We have to teach our players to be strong on the puck and compete hard. I think that’s teachable.

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“We want players who are going to be competitive and play hard, but, more than anything, we need skill.”

Still believe the player the Canucks are targeting with the fifth pick is Portland Winterhawks centre Cody Glass. No intel on that. Glass just ticks all the boxes for the locals.

Interesting comment from Lions head coach Wally Buono after the Leos rolled over Saskatchewan 42-10 in their final pre-season game Friday night. When asked about his takeaway from his team’s performance, Buono didn’t reference any individuals, but did talk about a change in the team’s identity.

“We focused on playing faster, playing more physical, playing with more aggression,” Buono said. “I thought that was evident. (Friday night) those elements showed themselves.”

This weekend, then, Buono opted to keep eight defensive linemen — including Canadians David Menard, Maxx Forde and rookie Junior Luke — as part of the Leos’ final cuts. It’s an unorthodox configuration, but it guarantees a rotation of fresh bodies on the D-line and more beef on special teams.

Buono believes the Lions have to match Calgary’s physicality before they can beat them. He’s remade his team with that in mind.

The ‘Trade Tanev’ talk gets muted heading into the draft

  The ‘Trade Tanev’ talk gets muted heading into the draft The Canucks believe it will be “near impossible” to move up in this weekend’s draft. The same could apply this week for any Chris Tanev trade. It’s not entirely because Vegas selected Luca Sbisa, a replaceable left-handed, third-pairing defenceman, although Vancouver is making it a significant factor. It’s also because a market for Tanev has […]The Canucks believe it will be “near impossible” to move up in this weekend’s draft.

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Still with the Leos. It was an emotional scene in their locker-room Friday as the players, one by one, lined up to embrace Jason Arakgi who’d just played his last CFL game.

Arakgi is a Montreal kid who should have been too small and too slow to play pro football, but he carved out a nine-year career on the sheer strength of his will. There was no BS about Arakgi, no pretence, and along the way he made a deep impression on his coaches, teammates and those who covered him in the media.

“Best teammate ever,” receiver Nick Moore offered as Arakgi said goodbye to take a sales job in the medical field.

Not a bad way to be remembered.

And finally. Brooks Koepka has had the look of a star for some time and he’s to be lauded for his winning turn at Erin Hills, Wis., on Sunday. But it’s still a little weird to see 16-under-par winning the U.S. Open along with the other red numbers on the leaderboard.

The U.S.Open is supposed to be the toughest tournament in golf and, generally, the winning score is a couple under or a couple over par. Historically, it’s also been played on the game’s classic layouts. The USGA will be returning to those courses in the immediate future — the next four Opens are at Shinnecock, Pebble Beach, Winged Foot and Torrey Pines — and you’re not going to see a lot of 16-under scores there.

In the meantime, it’s hard to know what’s gained by moving one of the three most prestigious tournaments in the game to a wide-open, 7,700 monster as a one-off. Koepka will always be remembered as a U.S. Open champion.

Just not sure if Erin Hills will be remembered as a championship layout.

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