Canucks Notebook: Bo Horvat’s Hustle, Skill, and Leadership Praised by Coach Boudreau

The captain and club leader remains a beast in the head-to-head circle, a monster in close matches and an offensive contributor – qualities prized by his new head coach.

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Control what you can control and don’t worry about the little things.


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That’s the athlete’s creed, and no one skates that fine line better than Bo Horvat. The Vancouver Canucks captain doesn’t dwell on negativity and is not consumed by his production, playing time or linemates. Show up, shut up and play hard.

Yet it’s what Horvat and his teammates can’t control that remains a mental challenge as the National Hockey League club opened a five-game road trip Tuesday in Florida. And that’s what matters.

There is no COVID-19 playbook to prevent a global pandemic that has forced more than 100 National Hockey League games to be postponed this season and could possibly affect the remainder of a litmus test trip for the Canucks.

On Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes had their game in Philadelphia postponed as the Flyers dealt with a series of positive tests. It came a day after the United States set another one-day record with 1.48 million infections. What awaits the Canucks in Tampa Bay, Carolina, Washington and Nashville is the great unknown, causing great anguish.


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Horvat is grateful that Brock Boeser, Jason Dickinson and Elias Pettersson are off protocol, but he knows that Alex Chiasson, Justin Dowling and Phil Di Giuseppe are still trapped in what is often a confusing quarantine quagmire.

“We not only have to worry about playing a strong game and worrying about ourselves, we also have to worry about COVID,” Horvat said Tuesday. “It is if you are going to test positive on a daily basis and how many days you will have to be in quarantine. And the rules of quarantine are so up in the air with what you can and cannot do.

“You never know when you’re going to come out (of quarantine) and play again, or go home, or something like that. It’s just that added stress compared to years ago before the pandemic. You just played and did what you love, but it comes with the territory right now, which is frustrating. “


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The Canucks can take advantage of a survival season when a COVID outbreak on March 31, 2021 affected 22 players. 24 days passed between games and they didn’t have time to prepare before a remarkable 3-2 overtime decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena. Horvat scored his second goal of that matinee in extra time.

“The last time we had this big hiatus, we weren’t even skating or doing anything and we were all pretty sick,” Horvat recalled. “There were guys with minimal symptoms and a lot of guys who were asymptomatic and could go back to skating right away. We have to use that (experience) to our advantage and get off to a good start on this journey.

“We are very excited. It’s been a long time (10 days) and a lot of teams we’re playing against are at the top of the league, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. But there is no better way to challenge ourselves and see where we are. Every team on this road trip will come for us and we have to be prepared for that. “


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For Horvat, that means remaining a beast in the ring, a monster in close combat and contributing offensively. It’s something new head coach Bruce Boudreau has come to appreciate.

“He tries to do whatever you ask of him,” Boudreau said. “He never complains, which is wonderful. I’ve had him with different lines and he’s very smart and he defends well, but he also has great talent for offense when he has the opportunities.

“I’m pretty sure I can put him in any situation and something good will come out of it. As a person, he has been very respectful and easy to approach. I ask him different things and he gives me direct answers. And he’s very good to his teammates and asks them my questions. His practice habits are great, what a coach wants.


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“He is a great captain.”

They are not your worried about the road

School is always in session for Boudreau, so he’s not overwhelmed by playing five teams on this trip that made the top 10 in the rankings on Tuesday: Panthers (1), Lightning (2), Hurricanes (3), Capitals (5) and Predators. (6).

What better way to let your club know that there is still work to be done than to play against the elite, even though the Canucks were on an 8-0-1 streak before Tuesday’s fight with the Panthers?

“They are quite aware of how I want them to play for the most part,” Boudreau said. “There are still a lot of fine adjustments that you can’t make from the start, head-to-head plays that we’re seeing on video that we haven’t had on the ice yet, and those things take time.

“I was lucky in the other cities (Minnesota, Anaheim, Washington) that I was there for at least four years. The teams didn’t get it all the time and maybe the second training camp is what I want. It’s not going to happen overnight, but they have certainly adapted to the way we play and achieve.

“We are going to have to do hard and short (shifts) on this trip. And in nine games, we are doing better than any other team that has trained. “

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