Scenes from practice: Another maintenance day for Boeser, more line juggling for Canucks

Photo credit:© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
15 days ago
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What we saw

The Vancouver Canucks had a number of new looks to their forward lines at Thursday’s practice at Rogers Arena. Part of that was due to necessity, and some of it was head coach Rick Tocchet tinkering with just three games to go before the start of the playoffs.
Brock Boeser, who hasn’t missed any game action this season but is clearly playing through something, was granted another maintenance day. It was the second time this week that Boeser has been excused from practice. Nils Åman appeared to be a place holder for Boeser at practice. If so, Tocchet appears to be reuniting Boeser with JT Miller and Pius Suter. That means that Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland, who had been skating with Miller for the past week, will have a new centre in Elias Lindholm.
It also means that Ilya Mikheyev returns to the wing with Elias Pettersson. Those two have spent much of the season together although it hasn’t resulted in a lot of offence. Mikheyev has one goal in his last 47 games. Nils Höglander, who has been a staple by Pettersson’s side for a while now, has also gone a little quiet, with just one goal in his last eight games and goals in just two of the team’s last 13 outings.
Vasily Podkolzin appeared to be the extra forward after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday night. The Canucks went with a fourth line of Teddy Blueger between Phil Di Giuseppe and Sam Lafferty at practice.
Thatcher Demko was a full participant in the practice and was one of three netminders on the ice. Demko remains on LTIR and would have to be activated to the roster before returning to the line-up. Arturs Silovs is up on an emergency recall that would end when Demko is activated. The Canucks could return Silovs to AHL Abbotsford or they could simply turn his emergency recall into one of their remaining regular recalls and keep him on the NHL roster.

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on switching up his top nine at practice: “There are different options and different ways to go. You use the coaches and we debated about this. I’m a big believer that depth wins hockey games. And we’re going to go this way and see how it goes.”
Tocchet on facing the Oilers on Saturday for the first time since November 6th: “Let’s face it, since then they’re probably the best team in the league. There’s probably three teams, but they’re in that (discussion). They’ve turned their season around, they’re humming. So it’s a good test for us even before the playoffs. I find the guys are excited about the Saturday night game. I really do.”
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