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Trevor Linden says tampering comments were ‘rather innocent’

BUFFALO, NY – Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning is facing punishment from the NHL over tampering charges. Several teams voiced concerns over a radio interview in which Benning openly discussed Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos while both were under contract. 

His boss, team president Trevor Linden, acknowledges Benning may have gone too far. But ultimately, he said, the comments were harmless.

“I talked with Bill [Daly], and he recognized that they were rather innocent comments. At the time, in an effort to be candid and honest, he probably crossed the line somewhat. I think they were rather innocent. We’ll see what the league says on Monday,” said Linden, referencing NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who said at the NHL Draft on Sunday that the League will likely “announce something this week” as far as punishment.

The main complaint came from Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, who said the comments crossed the line. “I was not happy and I’m still not happy about that,” he said on Friday. 

Linden said the relationship between Benning and Bergevin is actually agreeable.

“It’s funny because Berge and Jim have talked to each other in the last couple of days over various trade scenarios. There was a lot of talk about that situation throughout the League. It’s part of it. Berge and Jim have done a lot of things together. They talked at the table in the sixth or seventh round about swapping a pick or something like that. So I don’t see the problem,” he said.

Linden said he doesn’t have an inkling yet about the NHL’s tampering punishment, which could range from a fine to a loss of draft picks.

“They were considering it and talked about it. We’ll hear more on Monday,” he said.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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