First off, let’s explain our headline.
Some folks in the media get very excited when they see scouts from NHL teams’ names on the press box sheet, and get even more excited when general managers of other teams are featured on the press box seating chart. Similarly, fans get very excited and like to speculate when this happens, which is why when over FIVE of them were spotted, Twitter lost it’s mind:
Could this all be because there’s a huge hockey event taking place in Langley tomorrow? We can’t be sure. We’re going to side with Twitter on this one and say the GMs were here to watch the Kuzmenkshow.
Anyways, the game. Let’s get this out quick.
Booing Rick Tocchet seems unwarranted, and throwing a jersey on the ice within five minutes of the game also seems like an interesting choice, but both of those things happened tonight within the first five minutes.
Now, we just hope that Tocchet knows the boos weren’t so much directed at him, and far more at fans directing their displeasure with the overall state of the organization, and of course, the handling of Bruce Boudreau’s firing.
Regardless of he’s aware of that, it seems like Tocchet is going to do just fine in this market.
The Canucks looked like they were in control for most of this game, but Petr Mrazek — and to some extent, Collin Delia at the other end — certainly made things interesting.
The 47-14 shot total in favour of the Canucks would make you think the Canucks dominated this game through and through, but in reality, they waited until the third period before pulling ahead on the scoreboard and closing this one out.
As for individual performances, Dakota Joshua stepped up big tonight, scoring a goal and playing a hard-nosed game all night long. Joshua featured on the penalty kill as well, and the PK went 3-for-3 on the night.
Another player worth mentioning tonight is JT Miller. A big question upon Tocchet’s hiring was whether or not Miller would be able to play centre in Tocchet’s system. Obviously the systems haven’t been fully implemented yet, but Miller looked far more engaged on both sides of the puck, and like Joshua, made a good first impression on his new head coach.
I also liked what I saw from Travis Dermott, Sheldon Dries, and Elias Pettersson tonight. Pettersson tallied two assists through 18:26 of ice time. And how could we forget the man of the night, Andrei Kuzmenko, who turned in another two-goal performance and unlocked another schedule A bonus in the process?
Kuzmenko’s agent Dan Milstein was sure to have some fun with his client’s performance on Twitter tonight:
Rick Tocchet will certainly be happy to get the win in his Canucks debut. To close out our instant reaction tonight, we’ll ask you — can you believe how bad Chicago is? Like, obviously the Canucks aren’t great and we’re not trying to throw stones from our glass house, but holy smokes Chicago is a tire fire of a hockey team.
But hey, at least they’re trying to be bad, and are primed to be rewarded with Connor Bedard for their troubles.
*shudders* Wouldn’t that be something?
The Canucks came away with the 5-2 win tonight, and the tank took the night off because you’d have to actively try to lose to this Chicago team.