Scenes from practice: Tocchet talks need for rest, why Canucks aren’t going back to JT Miller on the halfwall on PP1, and more

Photo credit:© Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
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Hours after one of the Vancouver Canucks most dispiriting losses of the season, head coach Rick Tocchet called an audible. What was initially announced as a full team practice at UBC on Friday turned into an optional. 13 skaters and both goalies on the roster took to the ice for about 45 minutes. It was mostly depth players with a couple of exceptions. Filip Hronek and Elias Lindholm were the most notable skaters to take part in the on-ice session led by skills coach Yogi Svejkovsky.
Others participants: Teddy Blueger, Pius Suter, Nils Höglander, Ilya Mikheyev, Sam Lafferty, Nils Aman, Arshdeep Bains, Phil Di Giuseppe, Noah Juulsen, Mark Friedman and Jett Woo.
Following the session, Rick Tocchet spoke to the media and addressed a number of topics surrounding his hockey club that has lost four straight after falling 5-2 in Seattle on Thursday. Among the topics were the decision to give his stars the day off, any thought of reuniting the Lotto Line to spark the hockey club, and why not try JT Miller on the half-wall on a power play that is now in a 1 for 28 funk.

What we heard

Tocchet on the decision to go with an option practice ahead of Saturday’s game against Boston: “I think as a coach you have to be smart. My job is to get these guys ready for Boston. It’s been a tough stretch for two or three weeks. It’s one of those things. It’s a conflicting decision because sometimes we do need practice, but it’s also my job to find out the energy level. I’d rather they have the energy tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens and if I made the right call.”
Tocchet on whether he’s given any thought to reuniting the Lotto Line to get his team going: “I don’t know. Those two lines have enough players to make it work. I think Millsy the last three or four games has been playing very well for us. He’s producing and I think he’s been driving play. I think if you’re a really good player you should be able to place players in different roles. I could go back to it, but I don’t think that’s the answer. We have pretty good centres down the middle.We should be able to make it work (without loading up).
Tocchet on why they aren’t using Miller off the left half wall on the power play as they have in the past: “A lot of teams play a diamond (on the penalty kill). If you watch, and we’ve played against diamonds with Millsy there, and we’ve struggled with him on that side when we had a righty (in the middle). Now, when we had Suter in there, as a lefty, we had a little bit of success. It’s hard to have that mentality against a diamond because all you’re doing is going into that diamond. But listen, it’s something that we might have to go with. It’s not an outlandish idea. But to me, I really have a tough time where we can’t have the two lefty look and not make plays. I think everybody has to take onus when the power play goes bad. Work ethic is something I think we can be a little bit harder to play against when we have the power play. Win those loose puck battles, get the puck to the net. Sometimes it’s nice to get one of those deflection goals. That’s kind of where we’re at.”


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