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‘It’s hard to turn it on and off’: Rick Tocchet urges Canucks to right the ship before playoffs

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
23 days ago
It’s hardly a secret at this point that the Vancouver Canucks are mired in a bit of a slump.
The Canucks have alternated between winning and losing streaks since the trade deadline and have dropped five out of their last nine games heading into Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.
With the Edmonton Oilers surging up the Pacific Division standings and the Vegas Golden Knights starting to get players back in their lineup ahead of the playoffs, the Canucks need to rediscover their top gear — and soon.
“We’ve got to get these guys energized against Arizona,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said after Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Golden Knights. “You’ve got to get the negativity out of yourself now. But, as a player, it’s not so much negativity — you’ve got to look at yourself, ‘how I can do better.’
“We’ve got some individuals that, they’ve got to have that fight [and] a little bit more will right now,” Tocchet added. “You can’t save it. You can’t save it for two more weeks. It has to happen now. It’s hard to turn it on and off.”
The Canucks built themselves a sizable cushion atop the Pacific Division with an extremely strong first half of the season. They remain in first place with a 46-21-8 record and 100 points through 75 games.
In making efforts to improve their roster, the Canucks have traded draft picks and prospects to acquire multiple players. As such, the team does not currently possess its first or second-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft.
The biggest trade the Canucks have made to this point was to acquire centre Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Andrei Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo, and two 2024 draft picks. Lindholm has not played for the Canucks since March 23.
With just seven games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season, the Canucks are five points ahead of the Oilers (who have two games in hand). They’re the only team in the Pacific Division to have clinched a spot in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Canucks will return to action at 7:00 p.m. MT on Wednesday night to take on the Coyotes, Tocchet’s former team, at Mullett Arena in Tempe, AZ.

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