Scenes from practice: Canucks’ power play taking a page from the Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
5 months ago
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Well before Friday’s 12:15pm practice began at Rogers Arena, the Vancouver Canucks’ top power play unit was hard at work trying to find something — anything — that will put an end to an 0 for 15 slump over the past five games.
With no sign of coaches, defenders, or even a goalie to work against, captain Quinn Hughes, along with JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and newcomer Elias Lindholm snapped the puck around in an effort to find a spark. It’s an indication that those veteran players recognize they haven’t been good enough lately even if the lack of power play success hasn’t hurt the hockey club in terms of results.
Still, since the All Star break, the Canucks cashed in twice in Carolina (Lindholm with both goals in his Canucks debut), but since then, has hit a rough patch. Not only failing to score in its last 15 attempts but also giving up a pair of short-handed goals in the first period of a 4-0 loss in Boston.
So the players took it upon themselves to make amends.
“You know we had some good momentum going into the break and then right after the break we’ve just kind of been a little inconsistent,” JT Miller said on Friday. “We need some reps right now. We know with the schedule coming up we don’t have a lot of practices, so I think it was good for us to get out there, snap it around a little bit and try to get a little confidence.”
The self-directed power play practice came after a meeting with coaches. Rick Tocchet said he was pleased to see his veterans take the initiative to hit the ice ahead of the rest of the group.
“We had a meeting today and then they wanted to go out early and do their thing,” Tocchet said. “I thought it was a very engaged meeting today — a lot more voices. There’s not much shooting on this power play, it’s more looking for that one shot. Look at Tampa. They shoot and after they shoot, it’s attack mode. And we did watch some video of Tampa today. And I think it energized the guys. It’s been a good power play guy for the last five or six years, so you don’t want to tinker too much. I’m a big power play guy when the pressure is on — it’s 2-2 with six minutes left, that’s when you want to score. When you’re up 5-1, you get two power play goals, yeah it helps the percentage but I want the percentage under pressure, and that’s what I think we’re looking for this group to do.”
The Canucks will get a chance to see if the power play practice pays dividends when they face the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. The Jets are the best defensive team in the National Hockey League, however their penalty killing is 25th in the league at 77.7%, so there may be an opportunity for the Canucks to strike with the man-advantage.

Full house Friday

Friday’s practice had a slightly different look and feel. There were a couple of hundred spectators on hand to watch the Canucks go through their paces. It was all part of a sponsor activation with one of the team’s corporate partners. Assistant coach Adam Foote was miked up for the event and could be heard providing instruction to players throughout the practice. Head coach Rick Tocchet was delayed before meeting with the media following practice as he spent some time addressing those spectators in attendance.


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