Canucks president Linden picked the brains of San Antonio Spurs management

The San Antonio Spurs are the defacto choice as the best-run organization in North American professional sports. The Vancouver Canucks? Not so much.

In an effort to narrow that gap, Canucks president Trevor Linden and vice president of hockey administration TC Carling spent nine-and-a-half hours with Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, assistant general manager Sean Marks, and the Spurs' human performance department last week.

"We were grateful for the opportunity to meet with the senior leaders of the Spurs," Carling told Sportsnet's Dan Murphy. "They have been the most successful team in North American professional sports for nearly 20 years and they were generous with their time, insights and hospitality. It was clear from the information they shared and their values why they have been successful for so long."

Murphy suggests the Canucks - who wouldn't get into specifics about the content of the meetings - were particularly eager to learn about how San Antonio has managed aging talent like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The Canucks are the seventh-oldest team in the NHL and rely enormously on the 34-year-old Sedin twins and 34-year-old goaltender Ryan Miller, so that would make sense.

It's perhaps interesting to note that Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman has some ties to the Spurs organization. Gilman was the general manager of the Spurs-owned San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, for three years from 2004 - 2007.

Now we'll have to wait and see whether Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins takes Gregg Popovich's lead and habitually infuriates the league office (and rival ownership groups) by resting the Sedins and Miller during marquee games scheduled to be broadcast on national television.

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Canucks president Linden picked the brains of San Antonio Spurs management
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