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Scenes from Canucks practice: Vitali Kravtsov moves to first line in place of Andrei Kuzmenko

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
7 months ago
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A day after their 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, in which Thatcher Demko snapped the longest shutout drought in franchise history, the Vancouver Canucks were back for at Rogers Arena today for what will likely end up being their final practice of the season.
And what a practice it was! Here’s what went down.

Line Rushes

Well, we’d be lying if we said we saw this coming.
Last night, Vitali Kravtsov was credited with a goal after throwing a puck toward Sheldon Dries that deflected in off of Seth Jones and in behind Chicago netminder Alex Stalock. It resulted in what will technically go down as his first goal as a Canuck. Now, Kravtsov finds himself on the first line alongside Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland.
Andrei Kuzmenko alternated with Aidan McDonough on the fourth line, and it will be interesting to see who finds themselves as a healthy scratch for tomorrow’s game against the Calgary Flames, which is also the Canucks’ final home game of the season.

SCENES FROM MORNING SKATE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

What was said

Rick Tocchet spoke about Kuzmenko’s game of late, and why he’s now off that top line.
“I mean, it’s dropped a little bit,” said Tocchet when asked if Kuzmenko’s play has dropped. “I don’t know if it’s totally his fault. I just don’t know, that line’s just not really good on the forecheck. I’m not blaming him — we got to get more forecheck in. I love Kuzy when he has the puck, but he’s got to participate in the forechecks. It’s a hard game when you play good teams, there might be not a lot of things happening so you can’t always just get pretty plays and score, you just can’t. You’ve got to play the game — look at the good teams, they score different ways and we need to find different ways of scoring, and I think the forecheck has to get better.”
Additionally, Tocchet talked about Kravtsov’s promotion.
“Yeah, he took his two or three games off and he kind of worked a little bit, and I thought he was pretty good last night. He was trying, he had a couple of chances. So maybe that will inspire him a little bit and give Petey and some other guys some other looks… I’d like to see him be hard on the forecheck, win some battles. The hard part of the NHL is to do it every night, that’s what good teams do and what good players do.”

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