Happy Sunday everyone! Today marks another Canucks game day in which the club didn’t hold a morning skate, so it’s not a traditional “scenes from morning skate” article.
Instead, it’s time for us to think out loud, picking out one tidbit we’ve noticed from the club that we’d like to examine further.
Today, we’re talking about Jason Dickinson’s new role under head coach Bruce Boudreau.
But before we do that, the Canucks’ new head coach elaborated on his morning skate philosophy, and why today’s morning skate was an optional one.
“My philosophy is, whatever makes you better at seven o’clock — if you don’t want to practice, don’t. I don’t care if you’re 18 or 48, if you feel better when you have your pregame skate, then go out and skate. To me, when you know you’re playing every second day till Christmas, it’s not that important.
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“What’s important is what they do tonight. So, my thought process is just quickly come in, you look the player in the eye and say, ‘what is best for you? What’s going to make you feel like you’re ready to play tonight?’
“If it is going on the ice, go on the ice. If it’s staying off, stay off. I don’t care, quite frankly.”
Now let’s talk about Jason Dickinson.
The Canucks traded a third round pick to the Dallas Stars for Dickinson — who was a restricted free agent at the time — this past offseason, and promptly signed him to a three-year deal with an annual average value of 2.65 million.
Dubbed as the traditional third-line centre that this club so desperately needed, Dickinson’s start to his Canucks tenure has been less than ideal.
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He’s been abysmal in the faceoff dot, and hasn’t been good enough to be relied upon in the third-line centre role everyone pencilled him in at.
He’s moved up and down the Canucks’ lineup this season, with no real regularity or consistency in a limited role that highlighted how poor his performance was.
But under Boudreau, Dickinson’s usage has increased — and while he’s still not playing centre, it’s clear between all parties what Dickinson is being asked to do right now.
Get back to basics, and shut down the opposition’s best players.
“He’s got a role right now since we’ve put him on left wing with Bo and I think anytime you give a player a role, they can say ‘this is my job,’ and they go out and they take pride in doing it,” said Boudreau. “I think he takes pride in the fact that Horvat’s line is covering the other teams’ number one line… I think he’s taken that to heart.
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And I mean, if you’re not scoring, you better be doing something really well. I think he’s understood that and he likes that role that he’s playing right now.”
Dickinson has indeed been stapled to Horvat’s wing, and has even seen some ice time during 3-on-3 overtime under Boudreau.
The Canucks have won five of their last six and are 3-0 under Bruce Boudreau.
The Canucks face off against the Carolina Hurricanes with puck drop at 7 PM from Rogers Arena tonight.
Canucks tickets are available now through FansFirst. Check it out here.