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Scenes from morning skate: Canucks going with 4 RHD against Horvat and Islanders

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
7 months ago
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It was a different kind of morning at Rogers Arena. The focus so very clearly wasn’t on the 11-3-1 team coming off a successful Eastern road trip. No, nothing the Vancouver Canucks did on Wednesday morning seemed to matter. It was all a prelude to Bo Horvat’s return to Rogers Arena.

What we saw

The Canucks held an optional skate with very little star power taking to the ice. Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith were out along with 10 skaters and a handful of coaches. Tyler Myers, who was given Tuesday’s practice off for maintenance reasons, was among those that did not take part in the optional, however Myers will play after being shaken up in the second period on Sunday in Montreal.
Following the skate, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet confirmed Demko would get the start in goal while Mark Friedman replaces the injured Carson Soucy on defence. That means with Filip Hronek, Tyler Myers, Mark Friedman, and Noah Juulsen, the Canucks will have four right-handed defencemen in their lineup for the first time this season. Akito Hirose was recalled from Abbotsford yesterday and took the optional skate this morning, but will not play tonight. Tocchet hinted he could draw into the lineup tomorrow when the Canucks are in Calgary.
There was a large crowd waiting for Anthony Beauvillier in the Canucks’ locker room when he stepped off the ice this morning. The New York media wanted to reconnect with the former Islander. Beauvillier returned to face the Islanders days after last January’s trade, so he’s been in Bo Horvat’s skates. Still, he mentioned how he keeps in touch with many of his former teammates and keeps tabs on an Islanders team that limps into Vancouver having lost five straight (0-4-1) and six of their last seven games (1-5-1).
The Canucks have won three straight on home ice and have picked up at least a point in all six of their games at Rogers Arena this season (5-0-1). Tonight’s match-up is a battle of polar opposites when it comes to goal scoring. The Canucks lead the league averaging 4.40 goals per game, while the Isles are tied with Washington for 30th at 2.36 goals/game. Only San Jose has generated offence at a lower rate this season.
To that end, the Canucks have six players with more points than the Isles’ leading scorer, Noah Dobson (4+8=12). Bo Horvat is second in team scoring with 4 goals and 11 points on the season, but the former Canuck has gone five games without finding the back of the net. His last goal came on October 30th against Detroit.
Based on the Islanders’ morning skate, it appears Ilya Sorokin will get the nod in net. He is 3-3-3 on the season with a 3.21 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

What was said

Rick Tocchet on going with four right-shot Dmen tonight: ‘You guys know I like the lefty-right, but nothing is perfect, right? I know Footy (assistant coach Adam Foote) was spending a lot of time with Friedman playing the left side and teaching him some stuff. So that’s good. He’s played left before. It’s the committee thing we’ve talked about. Maybe I might not have Hughes and Hronek together all the time. We might rotate certain guys and guys are used to it. That might happen tonight.”
Brock Boeser on seeing Bo Horvat back in town: ‘I was Bo’s linemate my first NHL game and I played with him for six years. He was a guy that was obviously great to me and was a big part of this organization for the time he was here. He made an impact not just on the ice, but in the community and he’s just an overall great guy and he has a great family. What he gave this organization was his all and he came to the rink trying to be the best hockey player he could. He was a pro that the young guys looked up to. I’m going to be tapping my stick or clapping or whatever it is. I’m happy to see him back.”
Bo Horvat on first trip back to Vancouver since trade: ‘Being in the city and walking the streets yesterday, it brought back a lot of memories. I started my family here, I played nine years here and the city has done a lot of great things for me and my family. I was talking to my wife last night and honestly just thinking about all the things that happened over my nine years here and it definitely built the foundation of where I am today.”
Horvat on the ‘I’ll tell you that for free’ comment: ‘I was just more upset with how my situation was handled last year. It felt good to be wanted somewhere and appreciated. I know the fans appreciated me here a lot, but it just felt nice to be appreciated by that organization and for me just how it was handled last year was upsetting but I couldn’t be happier to be on Long Island.”
Horvat on not dealing with daily media frenzy on Long Island: ‘I takes that extra weight off your shoulder. I would rather myself take the blame than my teammates when I was in that situation. I’d rather you guys come at me rather than go at anybody else so I didn’t mind doing that at that time. But it is nice to have that off your shoulders.”

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