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Photo Credit: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Scenes from Bruce Boudreau’s first Canucks practice: Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser will kill penalties for this team

Fresh off kicking off the Bruce Boudreau era of Canucks hockey with a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night, the Vancouver Canucks were back on the ice at Rogers Arena for their first Boudreau-led practice today.

Here’s what we saw:

Lines

The Canucks elected not to change up their lines too much from the win yesterday, but Boudreau was clearly trying to find defence pairings that work, as the pairings were truly all over the place.

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The Canucks new head coach confirmed that Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a maintenance day.

“One of those old guys,” the 66-year-old Boudreau said of OEL’s maintenance day, tongue very much so in cheek.

Practice was upbeat in tempo, with Boudreau raising his voice a few times.

One quote we heard from Boudreau while the team was working on rush defence:

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“We’re not going to keep [expletive]-ing around at the blue line anymore! You guys are good enough and I know you can do it!”

This quote certainly highlights Boudreau’s coaching style of positive reinforcement that we’ve heard about before.

“I always thought of it as a player,” said Boudreau when asked about his coaching style. “I mean, you wanted positive reinforcement. You can give me hell and tell me whatever you want, but if you’re gonna show me all my negative clips, then show me a couple positive ones to make it to offset it. You don’t ever want to feel that all you do is something wrong. You want to feel that, ‘okay, that’s a correctable thing, but look at all the good things I did, I want to keep that up.'”

The team also participated in an intense battle drill, in which the goalies were allowed to score — because this is a fun team now.

Warning for coarse language from Canucks players in the following video:

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What was said

Much like the mood in the fanbase, the mood around this team right now is very different than it was a week ago.

“Well we have to start having fun,” said J.T. Miller when asked about the mood seeming to have picked up since the organization made changes. “I don’t think it matters who was coaching here. With that comes hard work and they go hand in hand, you start winning some games, and then coming to the rink isn’t very dreadful anymore. So it’s just — it’s different.”

“I think when you feel excited, guys are a little more excited to come to the rink,” Miller added. “It’s a change, and we’re running with it right now. I think we can put together a little streak here. We’re playing pretty good.”

Yesterday, Boudreau was very open in admitting that he likes to use his top guys plenty, and isn’t worried about giving. Quinn Hughes led all Canucks skaters in ice time last night, but isn’t worried about needing to take a maintenance day.

“He [Boudreau] said I was gonna be playing a lot, which obviously, I want to be at the top of my game and for me, I felt good this morning,” said Hughes. “I don’t know, I’m only 22, so I think I can bounce back pretty quick. But if there’s ever a point in the season where I’m really tired, maybe there’ll be a discussion, but as far as right now, I feel good and ready to practice.”

Hughes also added that he thinks being asked to kill penalties meant a lot to Elias Pettersson.

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“It’s good for guys. That gives them confidence — to know that the coach trusts them and wants to play him,” said Hughes. “I think that meant a lot to Petey honestly. And I think when you give a player like that a chance to do that, he’ll go through a wall for you.”

Hughes added that he wants to play on the PK as well, which I followed up by asking Boudreau about.

“They both asked me about penalty killing and I said ‘yeah, we’re gonna try it,'” said Boudreau. “We’re gonna try Boes at one point too. I mean, let’s face it, whatever it was, wasn’t working before, so trying new guys isn’t going to hurt you. The problem with Hughesy last night — he still played 26 minutes — but I told him we are going to use him on the penalty kill. He played six seconds, which is nothing but the one penalty he was going to kill, Hamonic was the one that got the penalty, so we wanted to keep the groups together. And that’s the only reason he didn’t get a chance, but he’ll get a chance tomorrow.”

The Canucks face off against the Boston Bruins tomorrow night from Rogers Arena. Puck drop is at 6 PM.