Scenes from Canucks practice: Boeser and Hughes return on the eve of the season opener
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
3 months ago
Only one more sleep until game day.
The Canucks got in one last skate before packing their bags and heading to Edmonton for their season opener against the Oilers tomorrow night. And there appears to be some good news on the injury front just in time.
Let’s go to the line rushes!
- Brock Boeser skated with the top line of J.T. Miller and Tanner Pearson today without the non-contact jersey he’d been wearing for the past few practices, according to Sportsnet 650’s Brendan Batchelor. That means Boeser will likely be good to go for Wednesday, but Bruce Boudreau appears to be easing him back into special teams, as Andrey Kuzmenko was spotted in Boeser’s usual spot on PP1 by Rink Wide’s Jeff Paterson. Brock instead worked with the second unit.
- Quinn Hughes returned to practice today after a few maintenance days off. Luke Schenn and Jack Rathbone alternated as Hughes’ defensive partners after skating as a unit yesterday.
- Ilya Mikheyev once again skated with the main group in a non-contact jersey after the Canucks announced he would be starting the year on injured reserve yesterday. According to Batchelor, Mikheyev alternated with Nils Höglander as Elias Pettersson’s right winger with Kuzmenko, tipping Boudreau’s hand as to where he sees Mikheyev fitting in when he returns.
- Nils Åman once again anchored Boudreau’s fourth line with Dakota Joshua and Curtis Lazar. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Åman will be in the opening night lineup, a pretty impressive feat for the 22-year-old rookie given the uphill climb to get there.
What Was Said
Brock Boeser all but confirmed that he’ll be playing Wednesday night, and talked about how much he’s looking forward to game action after missing the preseason.
“Obviously you don’t want to be injured, and I was looking so forward to the preseason, I was feeling good. It’s hard not to let it affect you,” Boeser said. “But I tried to stay positive and did everything I could to get to this point to be able to play tomorrow.”
“To get this gray jersey off, it always feels great. So I feel ready and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
When asked how he feels he can adjust to the regular season grind without tune-up games, Boeser knows he’ll have to stick to the basics early on.
“I’ve had one preseason game the last two years. So I don’t know, maybe preseason isn’t my thing,” Boeser said with a grin. “But no, I just gotta go out there, play simple at first, get your legs and feel it out.”
Quinn Hughes said he’ll also be good to go after missing the last weekend’s worth of practices, and discussed how important getting off on the right foot will matter this year after their dismal first two months last season.
“We finished [last season] off really strong, but the runway wasn’t big enough. So yeah, I think there’s a huge importance of trying to start the season strong,” Hughes said. “It’s definitely on all of our minds, especially this first road trip.”
“Everyone’s been looking forward to the start of the season for a long time now, and starting in Edmonton is always a good challenge. Hopefully, we can play well tomorrow.”
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