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Instant Reaction: Tocchet says Canucks have to “go back to grade school” to learn to defend after loss to Detroit

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy in which we give you our instant reaction to the game, and ask our commenters to do the same in the comment section below! The Stanchies by Wyatt Arndt will be posted tomorrow morning, and The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report by Mike Liu — will be posted later in the day.
Rick Tocchet didn’t mince words post game after this one.
“It’s not frustration, it’s my job as coach to make these guys understand stuff,” said Tocchet. “We’re gonna practice tomorrow and we’re gonna have to go back to grade school on how to defend, how to stop and start because too many guys are spinning. Very high-risk team. You know, in the road trip, I thought some parts of our game, I thought we got it, but then we get this high risk, and you know, some of the better players tonight, they’re just too risky for me.”
Tocchet criticized his team’s defensive zone coverage, their grittiness, their wall work, and the little things, among other things. It was a tough game, through and through, and Tocchet is absolutely right in his criticism of this team.
Anyway, now for the game itself. This was one of the games you dread writing about. It may also be one of the games that you as a fan dread watching.
The problem for both reader and writer is that you never know when these games are going to hit, especially with this team.
They always keep you guessing. Sometimes they show up to play big time against the league’s best, and other times they get blown out by the Detroit Red Wings in back-to-back games.
In case you didn’t know already, tonight was a case of the latter, as the Canucks fell 6-1 to the Detroit Red Wings.
Now, I don’t get an early look at The Statsies, but I’m guessing tomorrow’s game flow chart will show a line that begins downward for the Canucks, dips a little more in the second, and then drops off a cliff in the third period.
By the third period, the Canucks looked like a team that Detroit viewed as one they could use to simply pad their totals against. It was one of those games where you didn’t really think for a second that the Canucks would mount any sort of comeback.
One might call it a snooze fest, and the presence in the building tonight would tell you that’s valid.
BUT HEY, there was a penalty shot because Detroit netminder Ville Husso took a delay of game penalty in the final minute of the game, which is an automatic penalty shot. Everyone knows that. You call yourself a hockey fan and don’t know that rule? Shameful, really.
What was really interesting was the sense of content — or was it contempt — from the home crowd. As time dwindled down and the Canucks got blown out on home ice, there were no boos, no jerseys on the ice. This was so unusual that even the home broadcast pointed it out.
The reason this is interesting, of course, is that everyone in the fanbase, both casuals and diehards, seem to understand that each loss gets the Canucks closer to drafting a better player in yet another lost year, and that the best of those better players is a franchise-altering Canucks fan from North Vancouver.
Don’t try to say tanking doesn’t work or that because there’s no guarantee of Bedard, that we shouldn’t be talking about it, either. The one year the Canucks actually did tank back in 2016-17, it got them Elias Pettersson, who remains one of the only reasons to keep watching this team’s games. If the Canucks continue to lose like this, they’re going to get an impact player in June, whether it’s Connor Bedard or not.
But maybe they could keep the scores a little closer and entertain us a little more down the final stretch of the season, yeah?
Anyway, the quote from Tocchet that we’ll sign-off with:
“No more smashing sticks and stuff. You can’t be entitled in this game. It’s a hard game to play and we got to stick together, that’s just the way it is. That’s what teams, that’s what good teams do.”
What was your instant reaction to the game tonight? Let us know in the comments section below!

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