Scenes from morning skate: Bruce Boudreau debuts his Canucks lines and power play units
Photo credit:© David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
Yesterday, the Vancouver Canucks absolutely cleaned house, finally putting an end to the Jim Benning era in Vancouver.
They also relieved head coach Travis Green of his coaching duties, and brought in veteran NHL bench boss Bruce Boudreau as his replacement.
Ahead of the club’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, Boudreau ran his first Canucks morning skate. Here’s what we saw.
Every line got changed from what it was last game, but the only real notable change we saw with Boudreau’s lines was Conor Garland and Vasily Podkolzin slotting in with Elias Pettersson at centre.
Clearly trying not to change much, Boudreau clearly wants a chance to evaluate where the team is at with the even-strength lines they’re used to before making any significant changes of his own.
It will be interesting to see how that long takes, because Boudreau was much more eager to change up the power play lines.
Alex Chiasson remains at the net front, but Podkolzin has been put at the bumper spot on the first power play unit with Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland on their off-wings.
Brock Boeser is in the bumper spot on PP2, with Bo Horvat on his strong side, moving downhill. This should give the Canucks a very new look on their power play, as it opens up the door for Miller and Boeser to set each other up for one-timers, with Horvat presumably given plenty of opportunities to find passing lanes through the middle.
The mood at morning skate was a positive one, with Boudreau addressing the entire group at various points while also making a note of talking individually with the Canucks’ star players, such as Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.
What was said
Overall, the Canucks have been given a spark with the moves yesterday. A spark that captain Bo Horvat says the club needed.
“It’s exciting for the young guys,” said Horvat. “It’s exciting for you know, even the older guys as well. Obviously, to have a new voice and a guy that’s obviously gonna play us a ton. And, again, it’s up to us to perform for him.
“I think our team needed a spark and Bruce coming in and having positive energy and wanting us to do well and believing in our group brings us new life, but at the same time, we have to go out there and prove it now. I mean, it’s up to us. It’s always been up to us. We’ve all got to be accountable in there and go out there and prove it.”
Horvat concluded by making a note of thanking Jim Benning, Travis Green, and Nolan Baumgartner for all their help throughout his career.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson said in his short time with the Canucks, Green treated him well, and added that while firings happen when a team isn’t getting results, the onus is on the players to go out and get results now. Ekman-Larsson also reflected on his first morning skate under Boudreau.
“I think he’s a pretty honest guy and he knows what he wants from his players,” said Ekman-Larsson of Boudreau. “I thought we had a good morning skate. And I mean, obviously, it’s hard for him to come in and kind of change things around quick, but we worked on some stuff today in morning skate, and hopefully that can help us for tonight.”
Boudreau’s teams have a reputation for playing fast and aggressive, and Tanner Pearson says that message has been delivered even though Boudreau’s time here has been limited.
“That was one of the messages this morning from him, to kind of be aggressive,” said Pearson. “I think how we forechecked with Greener was kind of being aggressive too. We haven’t had a big in-depth meeting with Bruce yet. There hasn’t been enough time, but I’m sure over the next few days — a week — we’ll get dialled in.”
Puck drop is at 7 PM from Rogers Arena tonight as the Canucks face off against Alex Edler and the Kings for the first time this season.
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