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J.T. Miller talks about enjoying playing in Canada, learning from Alain Vigneault, and how ‘you could write a book about the 2022-23 season’

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Faber
By Faber
8 months ago
J.T. Miller joined Cam Janssen and Andy Strickland on the latest Cam and Strick Podcast episode that dropped on Tuesday.
We recommend listening to the episode as Cam and Strick do a great job making players feel comfortable and opening up but we transcribed a ton of Miller’s quotes here for you.
As I said, I recommend listening to the episode!
Here are some links to the episode.
Apple Podcast Link
Spotify Link
Early in the interview, Miller spoke about how he enjoys playing in Canada.
“I like playing in Canada, [it] definitely has a passionate fan base,” said Miller. “What’s weird is, Tampa was the most blue-collar place I’ve played, you know, out of the three teams by far I mean just the Rangers environment being downtown Manhattan and then going into similar just a lot less people out in Vancouver. You kind of get used to it but where I come from, it’s a lot different.”
Miller was asked if he can hide and go to dinner with his wife or if it’s just too hard to do with the passionate fanbase.
“I can for sure,” said Miller. “I live in West Vancouver. So I’m on the North Shore and I’m the only guy over there and it’s very reminds me at home a little more. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet and all the fans have been fans [for a while]. The people that live over there. It’s an older crowd. It’s not like downtown, they’re very respectful that’s more of a ‘nice game’ or ‘nice turnover’, whatever the hell they want to say but it’s quicker to the point.”
Miller spoke about learning a ton from his first couple of NHL coaches John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault.
“Tortorella was my first coach — so that was a humbling experience for me, especially [being a] punky skilled [player] and you know, thinks the shit doesn’t stink type of guy, which I still don’t think it does, but that humbled me pretty quickly,” said Miller. “Then to jump from him to Alain [Vigneault]. Honestly Alain and I, I’m sure you guys know, we had a rocky relationship, but I think at the end of the day, it was all for the better of me and I’ve been I’ve said that openly. Honestly, I think he’s helped me create a standard for myself that I now look to see in my teammates and continually do to myself. He’s had such a great track record on every team he’s been on, it’s been pretty amazing. And we always butted heads but as I said, I was 20, 21, 22 years old, and those are some hard years and he was hard on me, that’s for sure. But at the end of the day, I think it helped create the player that I am now.”
He later spoke about learning from the New York Rangers teams that were powerhouses while Miller was breaking into the NHL.
“I was on a very short leash, and it’s because of what that team was made of,” said Miller. “I learned so much about what the playoffs were like at such a young age and then haven’t had the success recently it’s created more of a drive to want to get back there and I think that’s kind of a blessing in disguise. I don’t think I’d change anything, to be honest. I’ve learned so much and there’s still so much to learn but being humbled at that young of an age is a good thing and I feel like I’ve gotten better and more comfortable every year and I think that’s probably why.”
Cam and Strick then asked Miller about last season and how it was dealing with everything on a day-to-day basis.
“I try to stay off [social media] I’m not on Twitter or anything,” said Miller. “I mean, it’s impossible to completely get out of the way especially when it just turns a little toxic and it turned very negative and it felt like everybody’s looking for something to grab on to. I mean, you could write a book about last season. I mean about everything from our start to Travis getting fired two years ago, I guess to Bruce coming in and then the whole sh*t show and Bruce at the end of his tenure, I don’t even know what to say it was so bad and I got it’s just another season I want to just kind of erase. Everything just changed when Rick [Tocchet] got there.”
Cam followed up on the Vancouver media and rumours swirling around Miller being traded.
“They’re rumours,” said Miller. Like, I’m not the guy who gets caught up in a rumour. If it came from my agent or my general manager, then it’s something but typically, when that sh*t happens, unless you’re just a couple of big names in the media that aren’t in Vancouver, they typically can get on to that. So it’s like, I don’t get attached to that stuff. And to be honest, I have way too much pride to kiss their ass anyway. And I would tell them that to their face, so I don’t know I would rather actually stir the pot with some of them than they have them say something nice about me.”
The hosts joked about Miller and kissing the ass of the media to get them to say something nice about him. Miller obviously isn’t going to do that, I can vouch for that as someone who attended every practice and game this year. Miller went on to say it’s not all the media but there are some that he can’t stand.
“Not all of them,” said Miller when talking about some of the toxic Vancouver media. “I just can’t stand some of them and honestly, I think they know that I feel that way. So it’s not really anything to hide.”
Miller talked about the passionate fan base.
“There’s not been a lot of playoff hockey in the last 10 years,” said Miller. “I think that there’s a reason to be pissed if you’re a fan. No question. I mean, they’re loyal and they care and they have tons and tons of passion, you know, reminds me of playing in New York. I would rather have a fan that cared and didn’t care. I mean, honestly, I mean, I’m not saying I promote the jerseys and stuff on the ice. Like I spoke on behalf of that before but I have a ton of passion myself. So I mean, I would never fault somebody for yelling, ‘go f*ck yourself’ on the ice because you’ve been playing like sh*t. I mean it is what it is. There are times in the year where things become pressing and annoying, but, you know, in the grand scheme of things I, you know, I take the passion over anything because then one day when we are, you know, if it’s this year, or next, or the year after, playing in the playoffs, and all of a sudden that passion is going to be helping us so, I kind of try to look at it that way.”
Miller then spoke on the Bruce Boudreau firing and how that situation played out.
“I think you guys know I can’t like speak on behalf of that,” said Miller. “But how can you not feel bad I mean, Bruce [Boudreau] is one of the best humans I’ve had as a coach behind the bench in my whole life. He’s just a really great person and I know that everybody and their mother would tell you guys the same thing. So you know when you see somebody that you actually really care about, it sucks to see them go through that and to see him emotional and like I said, I can’t get into too much but the same emotional sucks for everybody.”
Then, Miller dove into the 2022-23 season.
“Last year was a perfect season for a guy like me to be played as the villain,” said Miller. “I obviously carry a lot of passion and the thing I care about the most is being there for my teammates, and then when I feel like I’m not doing enough or feel like I’m not providing enough, the ones that you feel you’ve let down the most are your teammates. So, when that stuff comes out, it’s all a reflection of that. And I understand that there are times in places where it’s more appropriate than not and like the goalie and then net thing honestly, I didn’t even think about it twice. I spoke with the goalie coach and the head coach and I apologized to [Collin] Delia. And it was like, I’m sorry that made you look bad or anybody look bad, but I’m not trying to make anybody look bad. I was a little more disappointed that we didn’t have a plan. I had full possession behind the net and we couldn’t get our f*cking guy on the ice. That’s what I was pissed about. I don’t look at it as ‘I hate Collin Delia’, I looked at it as, can we get another guy in the ice because we have like 30 seconds left in the game? I told the media that the next day, I said ‘I’m trying to win the game’. I shouldn’t have to explain myself, but like, I mean, I feel like I’m constantly trying to explain myself. Listen, there are enough people that understand me that really I mean, I get pretty good sleep at night.”
Miller did joke about the play and said that Delia probably saved him an end-to-end turnover that would have resulted in the back of his net anyways.
Later on, Miller spoke about the time he and Luke Schenn got in an argument as they were heading into the intermission.
You’ll probably remember this video that went around social media and got a lot of views on YouTube.

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Miller gave his side of the story in this video.
“It’s so funny is there’s a video on it and it says Luke Schenn calls out J.T. Miller, and if you want to know the deal, I was motherf*cking Luke — we weren’t communicating on our own and enough, that’s all it was about. I’m like, ‘We’ve got to talk louder out here’ and it was bad, we got absolutely waxed that whole period. And it was like, him calling me out. And I told him I mean, we were good 10 minutes later, not even. We went into the locker room and we talked it out. I mean, it’s just like I said, you’re in the heat of the moment. [Some] people carry a higher passion level and there’s not two people that are the same you know, that’s but then once again, just another scenario where I’m explaining that I’m not that bad of a guy.”
Andy Strickland asked a great question about the optics of a scenario like him and Schenn going at each other or a situation where backchecking is an issue.
“That’s been a hard one for me to juggle,” said Miller when talking about optics versus reality. “Last year was the first time I’ve ever felt in that position where I felt like the only thing that mattered was optics. And that’s a sad place. I think there were three or four moments last year, and I’ve said this same exact quote somewhere else before, that the media defined my season with a couple of those moments. And I think that that’s just really sad. And I think that there are things I regret in the course of the game, 100%. But like I said, we were dealing with so much turmoil, and so much BS outside of X’s and O’s in hockey, I think I got outside of my lane and trying to help and everything and I should have just been worried about playing hockey and so when you see the video in Calgary of me not backchecking, that has nothing to do with that play. That has everything to do with I just felt exhausted. I just felt tired emotionally, mentally and physically. A guy like me that cares a lot about everything. I feel like it’s also my Achilles heel. And I think those are some prime examples of that exact thing.”
Miller also spoke about Rick Tocchet coming in and making his leash shorter. He spoke about his buddies on the team being Tanner Pearson, Tyler Myers, Thatcher Demko, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Luke Schenn, and Brock Boeser. He also joked a bit about the Canucks’ rookie party in Vegas and how they won the game after that party. Miller also talked about how he approached fighting in games and how it can help the team or himself.
Finally, Miller talked about the Canucks building and evolving into the next season and how young players like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will help.
“They’re a big part of it, listen, I was going into essentially a year left [before] free agency and [was] playing some good hockey I thought. There’s a reason I went back there and it’s looking at the team we have and we’ve been quote on quote not in the playoffs for so long. We look at the core like the guys you just listed and then you have Demko in net and it’s a lot of young really good players that we’ve drafted highly over the last couple of years and the new staff we have now I mean, things are just changing and evolving, and I thought it would be kind of dumb of me then to want to go find something that I think is going to happen in a place I’m already at if that makes any sense. I believe in it. We went into it with a high expectation last year and I think it got the best of my brain and I’m trying not to do that, you know, we have a better team than we do last year. And I think we’re going to everybody’s one year more mature. And one year more of knowing what to expect — all the young guys and it’s going to be exciting. I think we’re going to surprise people. I’m not saying I’m not going to put a number or whatever on in a place on it. But like it’s we’re a hard team to play against. And I think that what we started to build last year was Rick and I think it’s really going to be really fun and I’m just more motivated now than ever and I think a lot of guys in that room would say the same thing.”
Again, the interview is 57 minutes long and there’s a lot to chew on. Cam and Strick do a great job making Miller comfortable and they cover a ton about this Canucks team and Miller’s offseason fun as well.
Apple Podcast Link
Spotify Link

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