Scenes from Canucks practice: Maintenance days for Demko and Pettersson; Miller speaks about benching
1 month ago
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The Vancouver Canucks held a brief 40 minute practice on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Arena before flying out to San Jose for Thursday’s game in the Shark Tank.
What we saw
Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko were both given the day off for maintenance, although Rick Tocchet noted that Pettersson, despite leading the team in scoring and being the NHL’s Second Star of the Month for October, is playing through something minor. Without Pettersson, Jack Studnicka filled in on the team’s top line while the Canucks also leaned on practice goalie Roman Basran to tend one of the nets along with Casey DeSmith.
Hours after being benched for the final six minutes of the second period in the team’s 5-2 win over Nashville on Tuesday, JT Miller was among the first skaters out on the ice for the noon workout.
While the Canucks skated in essentially the same line formations and defensive pairings (save for Pettersson) as in the win over the Predators, it was interesting to observe Mark Friedman and Jack Studnicka out prior to practice working with head coach Rick Tocchet. Is it possible that Noah Juulsen will draw into the Canucks’ line-up on Thursday in the Bay Area?
It was also noteworthy to see the forwards and defencemen split into their own groups and take a long stretch of practice in opposite ends of the ice. Tocchet and Adam Foote worked with the defensemen on activating from their point positions in the offensive zone and conducted a handful of drills getting each blueliner to unleash a point shot and then follow it up to the net.
The forwards, meanwhile, worked on down-low play under the watchful eyes of Mike Yeo, Daniel Sedin and skills coach Yogi Svejkovski.
The Canucks departed for Northern California on a 3pm charter flight out of YVR. They’ll face the 0-8-1 Sharks for the first of three meetings in the month of November. This is San Jose’s first game back home after a dismal Eastern road trip.
What was said
Rick Tocchet on maintenance day for Pettersson: ‘A little maintenance for Petey. He was dealing with something about a week ago. It’s nothing bad. I would just rather him stay off and manage his ice right now. We’ve got 17 or 18 games this month with a lot of travel so we’re going to have to pick and choose when we travel and we may have to give some other guys maintenance days.”
Tocchet on strong net front presence on first four goals against Nashville: “I did video with Lafferty today and that’s what I love. His goal if you look at it, he didn’t accept the box out. He gets in there and fights through it. I don’t care if it goes in off your back or head or whatever, if you score those types of goals. If you’re going to make the playoffs, those are the goals that win games in the playoffs. They do. You have to score on the rush chances, I get that. But you’ve got to get your share of those front of the net goals.”
JT Miller on being benched on Tuesday: “Ah, it was four minutes. I really wouldn’t put too much into it. I was pretty hot, took some bad penalties and the team did a great job killing it off. Let me cool off for the last couple of minutes of the second period was all it was.”
Asked if coming out and scoring a goal early in the third was the best response, Miller added: “It doesn’t really make it any better. But I guess it was a big part of the game and we found a way to win.”
Pettersson on being NHL’s Second Star for October: “Honestly, very happy with that. Couldn’t have done it without the guys. I think we’ve been playing some good hockey. Some games have been not so good, but we managed to get wins. So overall, very happy.”
Pettersson on taking a maintenance day Wednesday: “I’ll be playing tomorrow, looking forward to that. Just listen to the body. Took a little extra rest.”
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