Scenes from morning skate: Demko talks early season struggles, Martin starts vs. Leafs
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
23 days ago
Welcome to scenes from morning skate brought to you by NHL betting site Betway!
Tonight is a big game for the Vancouver Canucks.
After winning the first game of their Eastern road trip against the Senators, the Canucks fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night.
They’ve had two days off to prepare for tonight’s tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs, on the other hand, are dealing with all sorts of injury problems, and are coming off two straight losses at home, the second of which came last night with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town.
Toronto turns to AHL netminder Erik Kallgren while both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov nurse injuries.
Here’s what went down at Canucks morning skate.
Line rushes and notes
Today’s skate was optional, with Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson taking the option not to participate. Both are still expected to play this evening.
Here are the line rushes from yesterday’s practice, which should serve as a good indication of what we’ll see the Canucks line up with tonight:
- Ilya Mikheyev moves off of Elias Pettersson’s line to play with J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser instead.
- Nils Höglander has strung together some solid performances and is being rewarded for his efforts by moving up to Pettersson’s wing. Boudreau talked about how well the two get along off the ice and how he hopes that translates to on-ice success between the two.
- With Tanner Pearson out after getting hand surgery, Dakota Joshua slots back into the lineup and will skate on the fourth line alongside Nils Aman and Jack Studnicka.
- Spencer Martin will start in goal for the Canucks tonight.
What was said
Bruce Boudreau talked about the thought process of going to Spencer Martin tonight, and spoke about the conversation he had with Thatcher Demko this morning.
“Well right now, he’s working through some things,” said Boudreau of Demko, who will likely start tomorrow against the Bruins. “I asked him if he was in a good place, he said he is… when you’re a quality goalie — like everybody knows that Demko’s a quality goalie — eventually it pops out and he gets that one game where he’s outstnading and that just may lead to him being normal for him.
“I think a lot of it is confidence. Usually it always is, anyway. The confidence in us of him getting back to normal is there, I mean, that’s why he keeps going in all the time.”
Per Thomas Drance of The Athletic, Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark had a lengthy chat with both Martin and Demko as morning skate came to a close this morning, and if we’re taking our best guess at what Clark was saying, it was probably something along the lines about how he expects his goaltenders to be the hardest workers on the team.
On Friday, Thathcer Demko spoke about his recent struggles as well.
“It’s just a matter of taking it day by day, I just gotta claw out of whatever’s going on. Obviously I’m putting the work in, I’m aware of it, I think that’s Step 1,” Demko said. “So just put my nose down right now and get back to work.”
“That’s the most frustrating part, I think,” Demko added. “If I was sitting around all summer not doing anything, then you can look at yourself and be like, ‘alright, well, that makes sense.’
“I think that’s where some of the frustration comes — putting the work in in the summer, putting the work in every day… [trying] to be one of the first guys that come to the rink, I’m in the gym all the time, working hard on the ice.
“You’ve always kind of been told that as you grow up, that’s kind of what it takes to be successful. And so sometimes it feels like you’re just trying everything. But, you know, it’s part of the process. Nothing is going to be perfect all the time, so I’m sticking with it and, like I said, I know it’s going to turn.”
Demko won’t get a shot to turn it around tonight, but tomorrow almost certainly represents an opportunity for Demko to show up big against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins.
Puck drop is at 4 PM Pacific tonight from Scotiabank Arena.
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