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‘Not even close to playoff hockey’: Rick Tocchet very unhappy with Canucks’ effort in Seattle

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Photo credit:© Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
4 months ago
As the Canucks continue to stumble through their worst stretch of the season, their bench boss did not mince words when describing their effort after their latest loss last night against the Kraken.
“Not much compete from the guys, that’s on me. I’ve got to take the blame for that,” Tocchet told reporters when assessing the team’s performance in Seattle. “I didn’t get the guys to compete hard enough so I’ll take the heat on this one. It was a lot of no-shows tonight.”
The Canucks only held the lead for about nine minutes of the first period as they were either in a deadlock or chasing the game after Vince Dunn tied it at the 13-minute mark. They did not do enough to challenge Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer, as Vancouver registered just 21 shots on the night, having as little as 12 through the first two periods.
Fatigue might have influenced why the Canucks looked off on their third game in four nights, but Tocchet did not use that as an excuse and instead was candid in his assessment of a worrying trend that is factoring into the team’s recent struggles.
“We need some guys to buckle up, change a few things, maybe off the ice, get some rest. I mean this is not even close to playoff hockey,” he said. “If these guys think playoff hockey is that, then we’re in trouble. There’s been a couple games here where we need some guys to get going. I don’t care what our record is. It’s been a little bit disturbing, some of the efforts from some of the guys right now.”
Vancouver is not in danger of missing the playoffs as their 80 points have them tied with the Bruins for the best record in the NHL. At the same time, Tocchet wants them to start developing better habits leading up to the postseason to ensure the team is mentally ready for the two-month grind for the Cup, and the fact he is this irate at the Canucks of late is certainly eyebrow-raising.
On top of the team’s lacklustre play of late, Vancouver continued to struggle on the special teams as they failed to convert on any of their four power-play chances and gave up one on three penalties taken. Their power play this month is converting below 10% efficiency in February, while the success rate of the PK during this ongoing slump has been reduced to a coin flip.
Tocchet expressed his frustration with the Canucks’ lack of effort on the PP and their “awful” clearing attempts, but to him, the most concerning is he feels the team is forgetting about the “staples” he has been preaching all season long.
“We gotta start to pick it up here,” he said. “When the puck comes on a rim, we have a technique to do it, and you have to have the B-A-L-L-S to get the puck out. You can’t just go in soft, and you can’t ice pucks on a rim.”
“Some things in our staples are foreign to us right now.”
The Canucks are stuck in a rut and it will be up to them to find their way out of it and return to their winning ways. They will be looking to right the ship in a juggernaut matchup with Boston coming to town on Saturday night, with puck drop set for 4 p.m. PST.

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