After a pitiful 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks were back on the ice on Sunday morning and had to make up for their lack of effort from their most recent game.
The practice was almost a full hour long and saw a lot of really good battles as players were being put into positions where any lack of effort would result in getting thrown on their asses. This happened to Riley Stillman in a drill where he tried to get around J.T. Miller and found himself planted into the ice from Miller’s shoulder.
One of the better battles from the practice was between Miller and Sheldon Dries, the two had a run of drills against each other and Dries was challenging Miller to give full effort to be successful in the drills. Quinn Hughes had a good practice and handled the puck extremely well throughout the long skate.
Let’s get into the changes to the lines, even though both Dakota Joshua and Bruce Boudreau told us not to read too much into them.
And with how Boudreau switched up his line combinations on the fly last night, that may very well be true.
But we’ve got time to kill on a Sunday, so let’s talk about the changes that we saw, keeping in mind they might not be permanent.
What we saw
Let’s start with the end and work our way back.
The Canucks finished the practice with a skate that left the players out of breath and worn out. After about 50 minutes of practice, Boudreau put all of the players on one side of the rink and made them skate to him and back multiple times. He moved in a few steps after each set and made sure the players were working hard.
We will get to what was said later about the team needing a tough practice and working on work ethic in-game.
Let’s get to the lines that we saw.
The first notable change was Miller to the middle. This was the first time in a long time that we haven’t seen Miller in the first-line red jersey as well.
Miller had Dakota Joshua and Brock Boeser on his wings.
Sheldon Dries looked like a placeholder for Elias Pettersson, who was sent home due to being sick.
Dries skated between the Russian wingers, so if we can read off of today’s lines, it looks like Pettersson will be back with Mikheyev and Kuzmenko.
The Nils Höglander and Bo Horvat duo were back together with Conor Garland flanking the right wing, while the fourth line remained the same.
Things got interesting on the defence pairings, as Quinn Hughes and Luke Schenn stayed together but there was some movement on the other pairings.
The Riley Stillman experience continues and he skated alongside Tyler Myers once again.
Good news for Kyle Burroughs fans, he was skating with Oliver Ekman-Larsson — but with Burroughs going up, that meant that Ethan Bear went down. Which is interesting, to say the least. Bear has been reliable in his role so far with the Canucks and is surely outplaying Stillman to this point in their early Canuck careers.
Bear skated with Travis Dermott, who we will have an update on in the what was said section.
Let’s get to the what was said section now!
What was said
Dakota Joshua mentioned not really reading too much into today’s lines. The Canucks will skate on Tuesday ahead of hitting the road for their Wednesday game in Calgary.
“I’m really not going to look too much into it,” said Joshua when asked about his new spot in the lineup at Sunday’s practice. “I think the point of practice today was to just open everybody’s eyes. If that’s the case then we’ll deal with it on Tuesday.”
We asked Joshua if this week full of practices and not as many games can help find a rise in effort level for the games.
“I think that it’s just a mindset,” said Joshua. “I don’t know if it’s something that needs to be worked on. It’s just coming ready to get to work and it starts when you show up at the rink. If we want to get somewhere everybody’s got to be ready and do their job.”
Kyle Burroughs talked about what he will want to bring if he does get into a game soon.
“Just be myself,” said Burroughs. “I think that’s what I’ve tried to do all year. Play hard, play simple, you know, play physical and just try to bring a little bit of an edge bring a little energy and yeah, just be simple.”
Burroughs spoke about the hard battles in practice and how that can be good for a team.
“It’s good, guys have to look within themselves and in those one-on-one battles in practice, nobody else is gonna help you there nobody else there are no scapegoats,” said Burroughs. “It’s just two guys going at it for war and it’s how you’ve got to look at it in practice, so you can look at it that way in the game. It’s something that you can take pride in. You bring that intensity and then afterwards, you’re still teammates, you’re still friends, and you still go to war with each other but at that moment, it’s all about trying to be the better person and more physical and trying to win that battle and there’s nothing better than that.”
Boudreau spoke about the high-intensity practice.
“They have to compete harder and they know it,” said Boudreau. “We showed it [to them] on video and then we went out there and tried to have a battle day and compete day, and hopefully it sinks in.”
When asked about the line combinations, Boudreau hinted at not reading too much into them but did say that they are trying to get Miller some reps at centre.
“We have a couple of days, and with Petey not practicing, it’s a little different anyway,” said Boudreau. “I just wanted to get Miller back at centre to practice it in case we go that route. Just so he can get some reps and just doesn’t step in from wing to centre.”
We asked Boudreau if because of last night’s effort if Wednesday might be a good night to go and put Kyle Burroughs back in the lineup.
“It might be, we don’t know yet,” said Boudreau. “We’ll decide this tomorrow and in practice on Tuesday.”
As for some injury updates, Boudreau said, “no update from me,” when asked about Travis Dermott.
Boudreau said that he is hoping that Tanner Pearson skates this week. When asked about Tucker Poolman, Boudreau said, “nothing.”
The Canucks are expected to have a day off on Monday and be back on the ice Tuesday morning before flying out to Calgary for their in-division matchup with the Flames on Wednesday night.