WDYTT: The Canucks’ next leadership group and fans’ thoughts on Rick Tocchet hockey

Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
1 year ago
Welcome back to WDYTT, the only hockey column on the internet where you don’t just read hockey, you talk it.
Speaking of ‘talk it,’ that’s the name of the newest head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Or, at least, it sounds like the name of the newest head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. We’re talking about Rick Tocchet, of course, and there’s plenty on that front to discuss.
As of this writing, the Canucks have gone 16-9-2 under Tocchet, the NHL’s 12th-best record since he was hired.
And as we wrote about earlier this week, he’s had a particular and startling success in turning around a Vancouver penalty kill that was well on-pace to be the worst of all-time.
But Canucks fans have seen the “new coach bounce” game play out before, and in recent history, at that. Last year’s new head coach, Bruce Boudreau, had a similar effect on the team after taking over, and we all know how that turned out.
To make matters more controversial, at least, Tocchet’s success has the Canucks rising up the standings…not enough to have a realistic shot at the playoffs, but enough to take themselves firmly out of the running for a good shot at Connor Bedard.
The situation, and the feelings surrounding it, are complicated, to say the least.
There’s a bounty of questions we could ask here.
“Are you disappointed or happy with another late-season push?”
“Do you believe in Rick Tocchet as a coach?”
“Whose bounce is more legitimate, Boudreau’s or Tocchet’s?”
“Are you enjoying watching the Canucks right now?”
Instead, we decided to wrap it all up into one general query. This week, we’re asking:

What are your sincere thoughts on the Rick Tocchet Era of Canucks hockey thus far?

Let it be known in the comments section.
Last week, we asked:

What is your preferred leadership group for the 2023/24 Vancouver Canucks?

You answers were limited, but appreciated, and are listed below!
Did we really need to include OEL in the list of possibilities?
52 years on…..and on…:
OEL….as part of the “leadership” group would be a bit of a joke. The guy couldn’t look more disinterested in competing than he already does. The results with him on the ice don’t contradict that either. Just bite the bullet.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
By virtue of the way he plays (especially lately), his age, and years in the league, JT Miller would probably be named Captain on several teams.
He’s what everyone thought Bo was SUPPOSED to be. Hitting, fighting, scoring, playmaking, being vocal… the whole “leadership” thing.
Followed by naming Petey and Hughes the Alternates. That’s the most logical scenario in my opinion.
Unfortunately, having OEL wearing a letter just makes a mockery of the whole thing.
BeerCan Boyd:
As is, with the exception of OEL. Three assistants: EP, Miller, and Hughes. EP will get the C the following season after he signs his $100 million deal.
EP gets the C.
JTM an A.
Hughes an A.
This is, with all due respect to Atlas’ counterargument above, really a question of whether the team is giving Elias Pettersson the captaincy next season or the season after, choosing to roll with just alternates for 2023/24.
It could go either way, but it’s now abundantly clear that this is Pettersson’s team, and will remain so for as long as he’s under contract here. Really, why wait? Give him the ‘C’ now and hope it sparks an interest in a hometown discount a year down the road. Additional responsibility might be compelling to a guy who’s built like Peter Parker.
From there, it’s not hard to figure out who gets an ‘A.’ If you’re only going to have two, it’s JT Miller and Quinn Hughes.
If you’re going to have more than two (or if Miller gets traded, because we know you love when that’s brought up), that’s when things get interesting.
The other repliers here are correct, if a tad blunt: Oliver Ekman-Larsson is no longer a feasible option.
The same goes for Tyler Myers, who has occasionally worn an ‘A’ before but is probably on his way out of town in a year or less.
Who else?
Brock Boeser? He’s likely gone, too, and isn’t really the type. The same could be said for Conor Garland. And we probably don’t know enough about Anthony Beauvillier yet to make a call.
It wouldn’t feel quite right on Andrei Kuzmenko, either. Not yet, anyway.
If a newer player is going to get one, it might be the newest in Filip Hronek. He does stand to play a very prominent role on the ice in the future, at least, and maybe it’ll be off the ice, too.
On that note, though, what about Ilya Mikheyev? He’s the senior citizen of the team’s growing Russian contingent (Sergei Gonchar aside), and maybe it’s a fine idea to loop one of them into the official leadership group.
But this is all mostly hypothetical.
In all likelihood, it’s Pettersson, Miller, and Hughes, in that order.

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