Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Scenes from Canucks practice: As expected, Elias Lindholm skates with Elias Pettersson
21 days ago
Folks, we’re just two days away from Canucks hockey.
Two days away from not having to pretend like we care about the All-Star game. Two days away from not having to hyper-analyze what Thatcher Demko refusing to hug Jeremy Swayman really means.
To this point of the season, being a Canucks fan has been a positive experience, and it’s been far too long that that could be said coming out of the NHL All-Star break.
But here we are.
Canucks management, after having seen their team play 49 games en route to an NHL-best 33-11-5 record, made the decision to make their team even better as they gear up for what they’re hoping is a deep playoff run this spring.
And that’s where today’s story really starts, because today marked Elias Lindholm’s first practice as a Vancouver Canuck as the team skated in Raleigh, North Carolina.
What we saw
As the Canucks get set to take on the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, the big question on everyone’s mind — that it sure felt like we already knew the answer to — was where Lindholm would play in the Canucks’ lineup.
As expected, it looks like that will be next to Elias Pettersson.
Pettersson has lacked regular linemates all season long. He’s played long stints with bottom six players on his wings and more recently seen the offensively-challenged-of-late Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko serve as his flanks. He needed a winger, and Lindholm is the perfect fit.
A legitimate Selke-calibre two-way player that scored over 40 goals just two seasons ago, Lindholm can play centre and is strong in the faceoff circle, giving the Canucks the option of deploying Pettersson’s line in matchup duty. To this point, those duties have fallen on the shoulders of JT Miller and Brock Boeser’s line. Those two have run into some trouble lately, and could be freed up to get back to producing offensively now that the burden of shutting down the opposition’s best can be taken off of them.
For Lindholm, Elias Pettersson will far and away be the best linemate he’s played with this season, which is great news for Lindholm, who has had a disappointing season from an offensive perspective. He’ll have every opportunity to turn his game around playing next to number 40.
Here’s what was said after today’s practice.
What was said
Elias Lindholm spoke about joining the playoff-bound Canucks.
“I’m super happy to be here and excited. The rest of the stuff will figure out itself with all my things back in Calgary, but I’m just happy to be here and get the first skate out of the way.”
Lindholm also talked about the trade getting done over a month out from the trade deadline, touching on the positive effects that should have for him both on and off the ice.
“Obviously, I’ve been knowing that [the trade was coming] for quite some time, and I’ve been kind of waiting to see what happens and what’s gonna happen and where I’m gonna go and so on. So I mean, it’s good for me to come here not too late and close to the deadline and have some time now to get acclimated and get to know the guys in the last 30 plus games together.
“It feels like this group is really tight, and they have a good connection, and so for me to just come in and get to know everyone and maybe have a dinner too with a couple of boys. Honestly, I was lucky enough to be at All-Star with a bunch of the guys as well, so it’s been a good start so far.”
Rick Tocchet spoke about Lindholm’s versatility and what excites him about the addition.
“I love 200-foot players, he can play all different positions, hybrid at centre or wing, obviously a PK guy, a really good PK guy, he’s over 55% on his draws, he can play power play, so we’re just getting a guy who can do a lot of different things for us, and it gives us a lot of options as coaches.”
Finally, Tocchet talked about how to get his players back up to speed after a lengthy break.
“It’s not a crash course, I’m not going to skate the hell out of the guys, I’m not trying to throw these guys a ton of video. We’ll probably have a video session tomorrow at the hotel just to get guys back into game mode, but I think it’s one step at a time. You can’t do cramming just because guys were off for a week, I don’t believe in that.”
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