Rick Tocchet’s message to Thatcher Demko: ‘Your season isn’t over’

Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
Thatcher Demko has missed each of the Vancouver Canucks’ last two playoff games while recovering from a knee injury, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t still been contributing in his own way.
As Daily Faceoff‘s Frank Seravalli laid out in a feature story published Saturday morning, Demko has been hanging out with the team throughout its Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Nashville Predators, offering words of encouragement to interim starter Casey DeSmith along the way.
It took words of encouragement from Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet to get Demko in his current headspace. As Seravalli put it, the star goaltender was distraught after coming down with a fluke injury on an innocuous-looking play in the final minute of Vancouver’s Game 1 win.
Tocchet spoke with a tearful Demko and reassured him with some simple words of wisdom: “Your season isn’t over. We’re going to need you, because we’re still going to be playing when you’re ready again.”
One thing seems to be for certain: Demko won’t return to action for the Canucks for the rest of their series against the Predators. He’s officially considered week-to-week, and although there have been conflicting reports about when (or if) he might be able to come back, he hasn’t officially been ruled out for the second round and beyond.
DeSmith held the fort in Friday’s Game 3 as the Canucks beat Nashville 2-1 despite only mustering 12 shots on goal. He had struggled in Game 2, a 4-1 loss on home ice, but bounced back nicely in enemy territory with Demko by his side off the ice.
“He just said he believed in me,” DeSmith told Seravalli. “You know, he’s watched me all year. He knows my game. And he said he’s excited to watch me and wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it.”
While DeSmith will likely be tasked with the rest of the Nashville series, the Canucks will need Demko back at some point if they wish to make a run similar to the one they went on in 2011.
Demko, 28, posted a 35-14-2 record and a .918 save percentage in 51 games with the Canucks during the 2023-24 regular season. He was one of six Canucks players named to the 2024 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto.
Game 4 between the Canucks and Predators is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 28 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Click here to read Frank Seravalli’s full story, including quotes from Casey DeSmith and Rick Tocchet, over at Daily Faceoff

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