Scenes from the Canucks’ special teams work to close out day three of training camp

Photo credit:X/@Canucks
David Quadrelli
8 months ago
Tomorrow, the Vancouver Canucks will say goodbye to Victoria after four days of training camp in BC’s capital city. At the same time, they will say hello to Calgary as they begin the 2023-24 preseason with a 5 PM matchup against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.
But before that, they took part in a scrimmage and afterwards, did some special teams work, which gave us our first look at the personnel we can expect on the club’s power play and penalty kill units. If you’re looking for coverage from the scrimmage, we’ve got you covered! You can click here to read an in-depth transcription with video of the scrimmage that took place on day three earlier today.
Let’s get into what we saw from the special teams work in a special edition of “Scenes from skate!”

What we saw

Okay, so here is what appears to be PP1 and PP2, at least for now. We also got a chance to see the reserves or “PP3”, if you will.
Some quick notes: Some players got looks in multiple spots, and a good chunk of the work each unit did was on zone entries and rotations once they’d gained the zone. Some players cycled in and out as well, so if you see more than five players listed on the units below, that’s why.
PP1: Brock Boeser, Andrei Kuzmenko, JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes.
PP2: Pius Suter, Nils Höglander, Anthony Beauvillier, Conor Garland, and Filip Hronek.
PP3: Vasily Podkolzin, Linus Karlsson, Sheldon Dries, Aidan McDonough, Arshdeep Bains, and Jack Rathbone.
Thomas Drance did a good job of explaining which players were switching spots around on PP1:
And our own Chris Faber provided us with a video of Brock Boeser working the half wall and scoring a goal.
Here’s hoping the D-Zone coverage while shorthanded looks a bit better than that by opening night…
There were 14 PKers in white jerseys, including Dakota Joshua, who wore a hip check from Conor Garland and mistakingly slashed Filip Hronek in retaliation. Garland and Joshua mixed it up at the bench after that and had to be separated by teammates (be sure to click both videos below):
Who says training camp is boring!?
Per Drance, the first group of PKers to work against the first power play unit was made up of Phil Di Giuseppe, Teddy Blueger, Ian Cole, and Carson Soucy.
That can’t hurt Di Giuseppe’s chances of making the team, can it?
Let’s get into the goods from head coach Rick Tocchet.

What was said

Rick Tocchet spoke for nearly 12 minutes following the session, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Canucks’ bench boss, it’s that he loves to talk. He also says interesting and insightful things, which we certainly appreciate.
“There’s some stuff we want to change from the past,” said Tocchet when asked about his PK’s structure. “No disrespect to anybody else but also acquiring some of the guys we got, Teddy Blueger, Ian Cole, Soucy, those guys have helped. Just the presence — even today, I wasn’t on their bench but Footy [Adam Foote] was saying how much Coler is teaching people on the bench. That’s the stuff we need.”
As for the power play, it’s safe to say we’re going to see a lot more movement and less static cycling from the Canucks this year.
“With this group, I don’t think a spot power play… You can be a spot power play for a while, but I think teams can scout you, but with movement, when they’re moving there’s some pretty damn good goals out there. I think that’s the key against some of the PK schemes. So sometimes Miller will be in the middle or the front and Petey went down low. When Petey went lower a couple times he got those retrievals. If he stays high, he probably doesn’t get those retrievals and we don’t score that goal. It’s little things like that. I’m a big movement guy, filling lanes, you know?
“I’m more of a — instead of plays, it’s more of a philosophy, you know? If a team does this, we’re looking to do this. I want to get the puck in Kuzy’s hands down low. If we can get him on a 2-on-1 situation, take it every time. We don’t need the one-timer, just get it down to Kuzy. Now, if they take that away, then that’ll open up the one-timers or the high play. That’s my philosophy — take what’s given. Put the puck in guys hands where they’re gonna be opportunistic.”
“Look at 97 [Connor McDavid] and what he does,” added Tocchet. “He’s on the flank, he’s in the middle, he’s down low. Sidney Crosby, he’s down low, he’s everywhere. He goes to where the situation arises so you don’t always have to have your touches in your spot. I hate that. Like, ‘this is my spot.’ If you’re in your spot, how are you going to chase those pucks down? I think it’s an easy sell.”
Tocchet also said that while he has plenty of PKers at his disposal now, he still plans on using Elias Pettersson and JT Miller while shorthanded this season.
It will certainly be interesting to see what the Canucks’ special teams look like as the training camp roster starts to shrink, but the main thing we learned today is that there’s going to be a lot more movement on the Canucks’ power play this year.
You can watch Tocchet’s full media availability by clicking here!

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