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Coach Travis Inexperienced not impressed with crew in Calgary

VANCOUVER — With 11 days till the Vancouver Canucks’ season opener, have you ever bought your recreation face on? Travis Inexperienced does.

After 24 hours, plus about 4 months, of contract protection on the upcoming return of Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson, it was straightforward to miss the Nationwide Hockey League crew’s third pre-season recreation Friday evening in Calgary.

However the significance of this scheduling quirk amid the QE-mania was evident within the Canuck coach’s feedback after his crew was overwhelmed 4-1 by a superior Flames lineup.

“I don’t suppose we performed very properly tonight,” Inexperienced mentioned. “I simply didn’t suppose we had an excellent recreation. We didn’t have lots of superb hockey gamers. We deserved to lose tonight.

“I assumed our passing and receiving actually wasn’t very sharp in any respect. I don’t suppose we bought locations fast sufficient to help the puck or win sufficient puck battles, and I assumed our D had a troublesome evening somewhat bit tonight, too.”

However coach, what concerning the disparity in lineup power? The Flames dressed almost all their NHL gamers whereas the Canucks had about half their full crew.

“It’s important to take that into consideration for certain,” Inexperienced mentioned. “That is a part of the exhibition; you may have nights the place one crew attire somewhat bit extra of a veteran crew. However we’re additionally watching particular person play and the way guys carry out beneath the strain, how far up (the lineup) they’ll play in the event that they’re on the crew, and whether or not or not they’ll play within the league in any respect. Generally you are going to lose and that is advantageous in an exhibition, however I did not suppose we performed sharp sufficient tonight.”

Clearly, the coach needs to get his crew targeted and prepared after a 1-2-0 begin to its seven-game pre-season.

However Friday was additionally a reminder that the Canucks have operated since coaching camp started with out 5 gamers anticipated to be lineup regulars: stars Pettersson and Hughes, injured fourth-line penalty-killers Tyler Motte and Brandon Sutter, and top-four defenceman Travis Hamonic, who stays residence in Manitoba on a private go away as he tries to determine if or how he may play the NHL’s third season with COVID-19 restrictions.

And now the crew can be with out first-line winger Brock Boeser, whom Inexperienced confirmed will miss a couple of week with an undisclosed damage. Pettersson and Hughes can’t get to Vancouver quickly sufficient.


As that is written on Saturday, the Canucks hadn’t formally introduced the re-signings of their greatest ahead and prime defenceman, though the contracts for Pettersson and Hughes are performed: three years at $7.35 million and 6 at $7.85 million, respectively.

The query now shifts to: How prepared will they be for the Canucks’ season opener on Oct. 13 in Edmonton?

After travelling from Sweden for a September pitstop in Vancouver for visa-related causes, Pettersson joined his good friend and teammate in Michigan, the place Hughes lives and trains within the low season. Quinn’s dad, Jim, works as a improvement coach for the gamers’ agent, Pat Brisson, so presumably the Canucks have been getting high-level coaching whereas lacking camp.

They have been anticipated to journey to Vancouver on Saturday. However with the Canucks taking part in a pre-season recreation in opposition to the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Enviornment on Sunday afternoon, the earliest Pettersson and Hughes can absolutely practise with the NHL group is Monday.

That isn’t sufficient time to arrange for Tuesday’s tuneup in opposition to the Seattle Kraken, which implies the younger Canucks, if ready, will seemingly play solely the ultimate two pre-season video games on Thursday and Oct. 9. Clearly, that’s not very best prep time for a 22-year-old centre and 21-year-old defencemen who’re nonetheless evolving.

“I’ve mentioned from Day 1 that I feel it is important that they are right here,” Inexperienced mentioned. “And I have never modified my stance on that. I hope they’re right here as quickly as potential.”


Though they’re depth gamers, Motte and Sutter are particularly essential to the Canucks as penalty killers. With Jay Beagle traded in July to Arizona, together with fellow penalty-killer Antoine Roussel, figuring out forwards who can play short-handed has been one in all Inexperienced’s pre-season missions.

The PK was one of many few shiny spots on Friday, killing off the primary 5 Calgary energy performs earlier than the Flames scored six-on-five with the Canucks internet empty within the ultimate minute.

Within the context of particular groups, it was revealing that Phillip Di Giuseppe, one in all a number of “bubble” veterans signed by the Canucks to problem for NHL spots, partnered with Jason Dickinson on the first-unit PK and logged 5:22 of short-handed ice time — almost half of the ten:59 Vancouver was lower than full power.

Nic Petan (2:50), Sheldon Dries (2:47) and Justin Dowling (2:01) additionally bought short-handed auditions. However minor-league winger Jonah Gadjovich, who scored for the second time in two pre-season video games, didn’t get a shift on the penalty kill. It additionally appeared important that defenceman Olli Juolevi logged 7:20 of short-handed TOI, whereas Brad Hunt, the veteran he’s competing in opposition to for a depth spot on the blue line, noticed solely 57 seconds of PK.


J.T. Miller headlined the Canucks lineup, once more taking part in centre between wingers Conor Garland and rookie Vasily Podkolzin. After spending most of his first two years with the Canucks as Pettersson’s first-line left winger, Miller is anticipated to no less than begin this season at centre.

Petan has been a Pettersson placeholder between wingers Nils Hoglander and Boeser.

“I do not know if that is 100 per cent going to be the case however as of now, clearly, it seems like I am taking part in there, so it is thrilling,” Miller mentioned Thursday. “I’ve at all times been the throw-in man, like if a man went down, (I used to be) the fifth heart that may go in loads. It is good to form of have a really feel for what it seems like.

“I am actually making an attempt to work at it. The sport comes extra pure on the opposite facet of pink line nevertheless it’s on (the defensive) half. . . I’ve already been watching some clips from final 12 months and simply making an attempt to ensure to tidy up the defensive zone and simply make it extra pure for me. I’ve at all times felt snug there, however I need it to really feel extra pure for me. I simply want extra reps there.”

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