“I’m not happy sitting here today, definitely not satisfied”: Allvin and Tocchet reflect on the season in year-end review

Photo credit:Vancouver Canucks
Tyson Cole
28 days ago
While the Vancouver Canucks would have preferred to have their year-end reviews sometime in June, it was much earlier than they’re used to in mid-April. Rick Tocchet and Patrik Allvin met with the media later this afternoon, and here is the main synopsis of the media availability.
The first question got cut off, so I’m just going to give an educated guess as to how the beginning of the question was framed.
Q: [Reflect on the whole season] and the playoff run that your team put on and the overall season you had as an organization?
PA: “I’m not happy sitting here today and definitely not satisfied. To reflect on the whole season, you have to back it up to the beginning of the season, and Jim Rutherford said, ‘If everything goes right, we have a chance to be a playoff team.’ And when Tocc[het] talked during the year, it’s about the process leading up to the playoffs and how do we get better every day. I think if we look at the segments of our games, I think we got better. But that being said, we’re not satisfied at all.”
Q: This group took some big strides and accomplished a lot. How does what this group did this year colour how you approach things going forward with some tough decisions to make this summer?
PA: “That’s the meeting I’m going to have with Rick and the coaches moving forward. The players expressed their interest to stay. We all know we have a salary cap, so we want to be a competitive team moving forward, so there’s only so much I can pay certain individuals.”
Q: Petey came in here a little while ago and said he was playing with an injured knee. He said that it happened in January and that it got worse as things went on. Was there any consideration to hold him out for a period of time then, to potential letting him rest to be better down the stretch?
RT: “I think he had tendinitis. But no. Obviously you go through the doctors and trainers, and we felt it was fine to keep going.”
Q: While they accomplished a lot, it looked like offensively, even when Brock was healthy and Petey was healthy, they might have still been a top-six forward short. Watching the way things played out, is that something in hindsight you might have been more aggressive at that time? And how did you see it as it played out?
PA: “When we talked about the lineup and roster we had moving forward and where we can allocate money and what would give us the best chance to win in the playoffs, we felt strengthening the middle was a priority with Elias Lindholm. Would I have if I had more access and money, I would have definitely added a top-six forward.”
Q: Do you expect all of your staff back? Do you expect to add anybody to coach the powerplay?
RT: “We talked yesterday, and we’re going to try and keep us intact. You’re looking at all options. The powerplay is obviously something we got to look at. I think it’s more of a connection thing for me. Game 7, four-minute powerplay, I don’t think it’s about plays, I think it was about a connection thing and that’s on me. Me personally, if there’s a guy out there I feel is ‘the guy’ I would look at. But I don’t think that’s the case here.”
Q: Do you have a pecking order in your head [that the team wants to re-sign first], this is the way I’m going to go to you first and then you. How are you approaching it [re-signing their free agents]?
PA: “We have different ideas on how we want to structure our team moving forward. We’ve had conversations with Rick to prioritize [said players]. I think we have a lot of younger players in our system that deserve to get an opportunity to come to training camp and we might leave some spots open for them.”
Q: What did you see and what didn’t you see from Elias down the stretch and into the playoffs? And now, with the new contract kicking in, the expectations and pressure come in a market like this. 
PA: “Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Expectations come, and I don’t know what he said, but I’m sure he wasn’t pleased with his performance after the All-Star break, and I think you learn a lot. He knows what he needs to improve on in the summer, and he wants to come back and be a really impactful player. His talent level is unique, and that doesn’t go away. This was his first playoff experience playing every second day with travel. When you’re a player like him and Quinn Hughes, they’re all going to play harder against you.
Q: How do you make sense of Ilya Mikheyev’s final 60 games, with one goal, playing in the top-six a fair bit? And is there an NHL player there that can contribute to a team that wants and needs to get better?
PA: “Yeah, I truly believe so. It wasn’t his fault that he was put in a top-six position; it was my fault. I don’t think anybody was expecting Ilya Mikheyev to be a top-six player. He’s a good mid-six player. I’m convinced that he’s going to come back and provide the value that he has and the intangibles he brings with his speed.”
Q: During the playoffs, the lack of shots became a major talking point. You pointed to a lack of execution with missed shots, but are there some things in terms of systems you’ll change heading into next season?
RT: “Yeah, I’d be crazy not to. There’s some simple things like hitting the net, changing angles. I know a lot of people here like shot volume, which I don’t mind. I’m not quite sure just throwing a puck at the net with nobody in front – we’ve got to get some guys to get to the net, more net-front presence.”
A little bit of a broken sentence here, but from what I gathered from this, Tocchet’s saying that if you don’t have anybody willing to crash the net to get a potential rebound off of an outside shot, what’s the point? The goalie can just make an easy stop, or there’s a juicy rebound in the crease that no Canuck is there to tap in, so the opposing defender can clear it – which makes sense to me, and I’m happy there’s finally been an explanation to the low shot volume.
Q: You limited rush chances against, but you didn’t attack much in transition. Did that lack of attacking off the rush make it more difficult to put teams on their heels in the playoffs? 
RT: “Yeah. It comes from execution, too, and getting your defencemen in the rush. I love the makeup of our D, but saying that we do have to get better on the rush. The first half of the year, we scored on a 3-on-2, and our conversion rate was high; second half, it wasn’t.”
Q: Knowing what you already have on the roster, what are you looking at add to the roster?
PA: “A top-six winger would be nice. I think we need to add speed, but again, it’s for us to meet with our staff and see what we have in-house.”
This is now the second time Allvin has mentioned bringing up players from Abbotsford. I wonder who they already have their eyes on in terms of in-house replacements. 
Q: Quinn Hughes took another step forward this year, playing alongside Filip Hronek. How much credit do you give Hronek for unlocking that side of Hughes, and how does that play into the upcoming negotiations?
PA: “I think they played well together — two good puck-moving guys. I think there’s part of their games I liked together, but I also think they’re capable of having their own pair. I think you can get more out of Hronek offensively. I think he maybe played a little more cautiously, backing him up and giving him the puck. We expressed to Fil that we want to keep him here and be a part of us moving forward.”
Q: You’ve got Dakota Joshua, Myers and Zadorov, three guys who share some common traits in that they’re towering presences that play with some snarl and heaviness in your lineup. How crucial is it to maintain the size edge that seemed to be such a significant part of this team’s identity as the year went along?
PA: “Yeah, we want to keep all those guys. Hopefully, we can come to an agreement and work with them. For me, it’s not about giving one guy all the money; it’s about finding ways to be competitive and finding ways to have players that are able to improve, as we saw this year. Dakota coming in here [was] highly recommended by staff and we have seen him over the two years take steps.”
“We’ll find the next Dakota Joshua here for the coaches to work with.”
*Dakota Joshua fans gulp*
Could we have seen Joshua’s last game in a Canucks uniform?
Rick Tocchet ended the interview by explaining what he told his players heading into the offseason. And his answer left me very encouraged about that he’s behind the bench for the Canucks.
“The exit meeting’s a 20-30 minute conversation you go through each guy, but these 30 minutes, that’s it. But that’s not that’s it. I’m going to be in contact; I’m going to be flying to see a couple of guys. It’s a 3-4 months before training camp; I can’t get it done in 30 minutes.”
Hearing Tocchet saying he’s flying out to see players throughout his time off to help them with their training so the team can come back better and stronger shows the level of dedication and leadership and should leave no surprise as to why he won the Jack Adam trophy this season. 
I’ll end on this note from Allvin from the closing line of his opening answer to the fans:
“I can’t say enough about the fans and my experience being in Vancouver here (as he shakes his head with a grin on his face); it was amazing. What they did for us. The one game that stands out is when we’re down 4-2 against Edmonton, and the fans gave us a win 5-4 there with Garland’s late goal. It was amazing.”
“Driving in [for] game days watching all the jerseys. I mean, guys talked about it. Ryan Johnson kept saying, ‘Wait, wait until a sunny day when the playoffs are in Vancouver; it’s just amazing.’ 

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