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Jeff Paterson’s take on Andrei Kuzmenko’s absence, performance, and more Canucks news: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
5 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by Rink Wide’s Jeff Paterson to get his thoughts on the latest surrounding the Canucks.
The show starts off with the guys recapping the Canucks’ 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks this past Saturday.
“There are no excuses; the Sharks were also on the second leg of a back-to-back. It felt like the Canucks weren’t hungry and urgent away from the puck,” Harm noted. “They weren’t hustling, which led to that disappointing first period, and the most important takeaway for me is you just can’t start like that.”
The guys are then joined by Jeff to discuss the Canucks, particularly forward Andrei Kuzmenko’s recent two-game absence due to being a healthy scratch.
“When they lose by a single goal after pressing late, would you like to have had a guy with 39 goals on his resume out there?” JPat said. “Probably, but let’s be honest; the 39-goal scorer of a year ago isn’t the same guy that we’re seeing.”
Jeff then noted that Tocchet’s decision to bench Kuzmenko for the second game was a result of how well the bottom-six performed in the first game rather than his performance.
“It’s not just that he’s not scoring. Tocchet pointed to some decisions (Kuzmenko) made where he just has to make simple and effective plays, but he’s trying to beat guys 1 on 3, having his pocket picked, and teams going the other way. It’s not about the fact that Kuzmenko has gone 9 games without a goal and 1 in 14; everyone goes through slumps. It’s more about those staples Tocchet talks about.”
Harm asked Jeff his thoughts on the Canucks’ power-play situation, as Kuzmenko typically plays a role on PP1, but defenceman Filip Hronek has been successfully filling in.
 “I think I’d stick with two defencemen for the time-being,” Jeff responded. “With the way Hronek is hammering the puck right now, the way Hughes is looking for his opportunity, and that movement. You can see from the on-ice trackers how confusing that movement is for defenses. I’d get Kuzmenko and Hoglander on the 2nd power-play unit, all due respect to Teddy Blueger; he’s here to do other things.”
Quads then asked if Jeff thought there was any reason to be concerned about the Canucks as a whole, having lost 4 of their last 6 games. 
“There are some reasons (to be concerned). The schedule is part of it; this last ten-game stretch they played 1 top 10 team in the NHL, and context matters here,” Jeff answered. “They played Colorado hard for 40 minutes until the game got away in the third period… Really good teams find a way to put the hammer down. Three straight games against varying levels of competition, the game has gotten away from them, and they’ve left points on the table.”
The guys wrapped up their time with Jeff and continued on to talk about some differences they’ve seen in the general mentality of the team this year compared to others.
You can watch the full segment in the video below:

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“I’m curious to see what happens with Juulsen tonight. I thought his performance against the Avs the other night was one of his better games… He was transitioning the puck cleaner, making more decisive decisions and that’s been the biggest problem for him this season. If that’s an avenue he can clean up, he’s at least more competent… If he struggles again, McWard deserves a shot,” Harm said, referencing Canucks’ prospect Cole McWard, who has spent this season with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks.
The guys are then joined CanucksArmy writer Wyatt Arndt to talk about the latest around the team.
Quads mentioned the rumours surrounding Pettersson and a potential ailment, and Wyatt gave his thoughts on how Kuzmenko has responded to Pettersson’s slump:
Wyatt: “He’s a tremendous passenger player, but I don’t think he can drive a line, at least we haven’t seen it yet. Last year was a white unicorn for Kuzmenko. He was always going to be a bit of a work in progress.”
“How do you think the power play will adjust with Hronek instead of Kuzmenko?” Harm asked.
“If you can get more of those switches and baits with Hughes and Hronek, that’s nothing but good,” Wyatt answered, “If you’re going to replace Kuzmenko with anyone, how can you go wrong with that? Their (Hughes and Hronek) chemistry keeps getting better and better.”
The guys wrap up their time with… some football trivia with Wyatt.
You can watch the full replay of today’s episode down below!
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