Scenes from practice: Changes to the Canucks’ blueline and a scuffle between Hronek and Garland

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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A day after a frustrating loss to the Colorado Avalanche, frustration boiled over briefly during the Vancouver Canucks practice at Rogers Arena on Thursday. In the middle of a small area game toward the end of the hour-long on-ice session, Filip Hronek and Conor Garland briefly came to blows. The gloves stayed on and the mix-up didn’t last long, but it was clear that both players were heated during the exchange. Neither player met with the media following practice.
It was a tough day at the office for Garland, who earlier, during a rush drill, got tangled up with Nikita Zadorov and took a high stick to the face.
The Canucks did not do any line rushes during Thursday’s practice, instead spending plenty of time in two on two situations with lots of down-low work in the defensive end.
This is how the team stacked up for practice:
After giving up four goals to the Avs on Wednesday, Rick Tocchet and his coaching staff made a couple of changes to the team’s defensive pairings. Tyler Myers skated alongside Carson Soucy, giving every indication Myers will return to the lineup on Saturday against Washington. The big right-hander has missed the past five games with a lower body injury suffered late in a 5-1 loss to Los Angeles on February 29th.
Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov skated together at practice, and Zadorov patrolled the right side. That relegated Noah Juulsen to an extra pair with Mark Friedman. There were no changes to the forward lines the Canucks used against Colorado.
Tocchet said the focus of today’s practice was defending against the rush and upping the overall team battle level. Before practice started, the players and coaches assembled for a post trade deadline team photo. Injureed players Thatcher Demko and Dakota Joshua were both in uniform for the team photo. 
The Canucks will skate again on Friday at UBC before hosting the Capitals at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.

What we heard

Rick Tocchet on the Garland-Hronek scuffle during practice: “I think guys need it, but you’ve got to be smart, too. I let it go more than I usually do because you want to test guys. I don’t want stupidity. I don’t want a guy just to hit a guy for the sake of it. That’s dumb. But I don’t mind a little bit of battle. Just don’t hurt each other.”
Tocchet on reuniting Soucy-Myers who had a strong run in January: “They had a really good stretch playing more of a shutdown role. I thought they did a really nice job unfortunately Souce got hurt. But we do like that pair. I’m not sure whether we’ll stay with it or not, but we’d be crazy not to get them back in the mix. They were pretty good a month ago.”
Elias Pettersson on need to push back when momentum shifts as it did in third period against the Avs: “We can always look and learn from video, but it comes down to us players understanding where we are in the game. I was not having my best game, so I need to be a lot better.” When asked what was missing from his game or what he wished he’d done differently, he responded: “I’m going to keep that to myself.”
Brock Boeser on 15 games to go and starting to view things through a playoff lens: “For sure. I think we’re at that point. Colorado is a team that knows how to play in the playoffs and we can’t make mistakes like those. I mean, I haven’t played technically in the playoffs, but there are guys in our room that talk about it and the details. And you’ve got to be invested in winning those puck battles.”
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