Canucks coach Green is keen for the team to deliver ‘their best’ in the first road game

“We have to be ready to play and, individually, our players must play their best game,” says the embattled coach of the match against host Penguins. ‘We are playing against a team that is trying to win a Cup and has some’

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JT Miller missed practice Tuesday.


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It was great news for about an hour.

Before Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green could clarify during his availability that the winger had a maintenance day and would be reevaluated Wednesday morning. – the club’s top scorer has continued to play despite being beaten – speculation on social media was running wild with what this might have meant.

Was Miller being held because he was about to be changed? Were you doing business in your hometown of Pittsburgh in that regard? Or were you just given a chance to get away from it all for a day and relax and maybe visit friends and family?

The spark in the flame of Miller’s future as a player was lit when this reporter was told that the Minnesota Wild had called up the Canucks with the possibility of trying to gauge business interest. Like any other Stanley Cup contender, the club could be looking for a proven player to fill a pressing need in the top-six mix to help put them on top. And kicking Miller’s tires would be wise to beat the competition.


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However, the Canucks said Tuesday they haven’t received a call from Wild.

If the Canucks are contemplating eventually parting ways with their proud, rowdy, high-risk winger, who has another year left on his contract with a $ 5.25 million bargain cap. they are not showing their hand.

The 28-year-old Miller is obviously considered a key cog in propelling the club to another level of performance. But if there are changes within the hockey operations department, there could be a different take on the current roster. Miller could get a more attractive return from a contender this season than at the trade deadline next season.

That is what management must fight for. For Green, Tuesday was about the here and now.


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JT Miller, who took Tuesday off from practice, has continued to play despite being beaten.
JT Miller, who took Tuesday off from practice, has continued to play despite being beaten. Photo by Claus Andersen. /PNG

Starting off on the right foot on a five-game road trip against the resurgent Pittsburgh Penguins, who swept away games in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg and outscored the opposition 11-1 in the process, it will take a total team game because, strangely, the Penguins have fun with the best penalty and worst power game.

“We have to be ready to play and, individually, our players have to put in their best game,” Green said. “That is very useful when everyone is at the top of their game and we are playing against a team that is trying to win a Cup and has some.”

The best Canucks players must show up. Elias Pettersson has one goal in his last seven games and one assist in his last six. Brock Boeser is goalless in his last seven games and is pointless in six, while Bo Horvat is pointless in seven and has one goal in his last eight outings.


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Pettersson worked well with Vasily Podkolzin and Conor Garland in a dominant change Sunday in a 1-0 loss to Chicago and will have another look at that lineup. If Miller can’t go, Tyler Motte will join Horvat and Tanner Pearson, while Boeser will stay with Justin Dowling and Nils Höglander.

“It’s going to be a tough game, but it’s a good place to start and our work ethic has to be high when you come to play for the Penguins,” Green emphasized. “They have a lot of depth and tenacity, Sidney (Crosby) is back and they have four good lines.

“It’s being honest with our group. We are not just sitting there sweetening things up. Having an inner faith in yourself is a big part of it and being excited to face big challenges is also part of confidence. “


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Two years ago in Pittsburgh, the Canucks took a 6-3 lead in the third period, but the Penguins rallied with two goals in 35 seconds en route to a wild 8-6 win. Vancouver fell 2-0, scored four goals in a row in the second and finished with five goals on par.

Miller and Adam Gaudette each scored two goals and Quinn Hughes had three assists.



Vancouver Canucks in Pittsburgh Penguins

4 p.m. Pacific Time, Arena from PPG Paints. TV: Sportsnet Pacific. Radio: AM 650.

There were so many lessons to learn that night. Gaudette had to face Evgeni Malkin for a tie in the defensive zone in the first three minutes and was polite. He set the first of two goals from Jake Guentzel.

“I just jumped a little bit and missed the knockdown, but he’s an elite player, one of the best players in the league and you have to contain him,” Gaudette said then about Malkin’s (2-3) five-point departure in the absence. from the Crosby and Nick Budgstad centers, who had undergone core muscle surgeries. “But we have to learn to shut up players like this, taking away time and space.”


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Canuck would go 3-3 on that trip which included a 6-1 loss at Texas, a 6-3 power play explosion in Nashville, a 2-1 shootout win in Washington and a tough 2-1 loss in Philadelphia.

As for that excess of goals two from Pittsburgh and Listen, Green doesn’t like nostalgia, but he summed up that night this way:

“Many lessons for our young players,” he said.

Hopefully, that won’t be the case on Wednesday.

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