Conor Garland’s teammates wore shirts with his face on them and Canucks fans chanted his name in eventful 400th career game

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Lachlan Irvine
18 days ago
When the Vancouver Canucks arrived at the rink ahead of their pivotal matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday, they did so in outfits cooked up by J.T. Miller. Each player wore bright blue shirts with Conor Garland’s name and face on them, commemorating his 400th NHL game.
The idea was meant to give the players a laugh after a stretch of tough recent outings. Miller admitted after the game that he’d stolen the idea for the prank from Garland himself, who’d planned to use it for a secret third target.
“I’m not taking any credit, but you know, it worked out great. And honestly, it looks like it helped a little bit today,” Miller told Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.
“It’s a little inside joke we have,” Elias Pettersson said.
By the end of the night, Garland’s teammates looked like oracles. The winger’s pair of goals against Vegas marked the 100th and 101st of his NHL career; the second, a greasy rebound past Logan Thompson, proved to be the eventual game winner, with linemate Miller earning the primary assist for his 100th point of the season.

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When the horn sounded on a 4-3 Canucks victory, the fans celebrated his effort with chants of “CO-NOR GAR-LAND, CO-NOR GAR-LAND.” The 28-year-old, soaking it all in from the bench after being named the first star of the night, looked a little bit emotional from the whole ordeal, but nonetheless appreciative.
Garland explained those feelings with his signature wry personality in the locker room afterwards.
“I might go down as the worst player ever to have their their name chanted in a stadium,” Garland joked. “But it’s obviously cool. That’s the reward of playing in a Canadian market, playing in a big market like Vancouver.”
Miller seemed to disagree with his friend’s analysis of himself. “He’s been one of our most consistent players all season long,” Miller said. “He works really hard and is an easy guy to play with. He’s always a buzzsaw.”
Staying in Vancouver was something almost no one expected to be in the cards for Garland, after his agent had made a trade request prior to the start of the season. Now with 42 points in a regular top-six role, that potential storyline feels a whole decade in the past.
He showed some vulnerability when asked to look back on the 400 NHL games he’s played across the last six seasons.
“My first year in the minors was tough, I only had four goals (editor’s note: he actually had five) so not many people probably thought I could ever come here. But when you make it in and you get your foot in the door, you never want to have it slam shut on you,” Garland said.
“It’s just about staying and playing as hard as you can for as long as you can.”
His head coach in both of his two NHL stops told a story that summed up Garland’s career pretty nicely.
“It was with Arizona and I told him when we were in practice, I said, ‘You’re not a 17 minute player. You’re just not.'” Rick Tocchet said. “And he looked at me and said, ‘Well you better make me one.'”
On Monday, Garland logged over 18 minutes for the third straight game.
Hopefully his teammates have a t-shirt maker on standby for next time.
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