Scenes from practice: Pettersson absent; Canucks shake up lines and focus on power play

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
3 months ago
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After a team day off on Friday, the Vancouver Canucks were back at Rogers Arena for a Saturday morning practice. Here’s what went down at today’s practice.

What we saw

Elias Pettersson was absent from practice for a maintenance day and is expected to play tomorrow. Nils Aman served as the placeholder during line rushes, meaning we’d expect to see Pettersson with Nils Höglander and Brock Boeser on his wings tomorrow vs. Anaheim.
JT Miller skated with Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland, essentially serving as an upgrade on Teddy Blueger on what has been a very successful line this season.
There were some shakeups on the power play units as well, and for the majority of practice, the team worked on the power play.
On PP1, either Dakota Joshua or Conor Garland is the placeholder for Elias Pettersson on PP1. Given that Brock Boeser has been moved to the bumper with JT Miller going to his weak side to help get Boeser the puck in the bumper, we’d say that Pettersson will slot into Garland’s spot on the left tomorrow. Or will it be Miller going back to his strong side with Pettersson going back to being the one-timer option? Will Joshua be at the net-front? There are a lot of questions about personnel right now, but it’s hard to get a clear gauge with Pettersson’s absence.
No matter who the personnel is, there’s clearly going to be an emphasis on getting pucks on net, something the PP has struggled with lately.
Soucy and Hronek swapped places on different reps, and the goal certainly seemed to be to run the power play through Hronek’s shot — whether that be from the point or on a one-timer.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about PP2’s formation is that Nils Höglander is getting a look in the bumper spot — a spot many have wondered if he could hold down on the first power play unit. We asked Tocchet about this after practice.

What was said

Rick Tocchet on the power play’s mentality and the importance of them getting away from set plays.
“We got to start scoring more off broken plays I think. If you look at some of the really good power plays in the league, a big percentage of their goals are off broken plays. A lot of our goals are off set plays, and I think we got to get the broken play attitude. You know, if there’s a shot and that puck goes in the corner, you’ve gotta attack. You know, you might have two guys in front, so let’s get the puck in front. I think we have the mentality of a set play mentality. So we were a little bit better at trying to put the puck in situations where you got to go.”
Tocchet added that he liked the look of Joshua at the net-front, despite the reason for his presence on PP1 being Pettersson’s absence. It’ll be interesting to see how PP1 lines up tomorrow.
Tocchet on Nils Höglander getting a look in the bumper on PP2, and how important that experience is:
“Yeah, good bumper guys. You have to be a really smart guy, you have to have really good reads. You don’t just stand in the bumper… The best power plays, Colorado, Toronto, you know, if you look at Brayden Point, the way he plays the bumper, that’s probably the tutorial you’d like to watch. Sometimes he’s high, sometimes he’s low, sometimes you’re by the far post, you know, so the bumper position has to have a high hockey IQ and we’re trying to find that guy who can kind of make the right reads, and also when he does get it, it’s in the net, right? So that’s the biggest thing you have to develop, and maybe Hoggy as we develop him can be that guy, where he can find those reads. ‘When am I here? When am I there?’ And then can I shoot off my back foot? Front foot? There’s a lot of different things for the bumper, you can’t just try a guy cause he has a good shot, there’s so much more than that.”
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