The Vancouver Canucks arguably put together one of their best defensive performances of the season in Calgary on Wednesday night in their 4-3 shoot-out victory against the Flames. The Canucks’ bench boss cited other examples, but felt his club was on to something.
“You just keep repeating it as a coach that that’s the way you want to play,” Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said after practice on Friday. “You keep repeating practices and it might get dull and boring, but if you’re doing the same thing all the time then hopefully you get to learn those habits and you do them on a consistent basis.
“You hope that success breeds success.”
If it does, then the next victim would be the Winnipeg Jets, set to take on the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday night. The Jets are much improved this season under new head coach Rick Bowness and following a preseason change of on-ice leadership. Blake Wheeler was stripped of his captaincy.
Numerical analysis of those intangible changes are almost impossible to discern other than in wins and losses. Obviously something improved with chemistry. Winnipeg sits in second place in the Central Division with 39 points, just two behind the first place Dallas Stars with two games in hand. They have the best winning percentage in the division and the second best in the Western Conference.
The United States and Canada released their official World Junior Championship rosters in the last couple of days and the Vancouver Canucks do not have a prospect on either team.
They do have relative Luke Hughes playing on Team USA. The younger brother of Canucks defenceman Quinn is a 2nd-year, left shot D-man at the University of Michigan, following in Quinn’s footsteps.
Meanwhile, the Jets selected the younger Hughes’s U of M teammate Rutger McGroarty in the first round this past summer. The winger is a point-a-game player in college hockey. Winnipeg also has 19-year-old Chad Lucius, a centre for the AHL Manitoba Moose, playing for Team USA.
The Canucks Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks are the big winners in terms of Team Canada. Two of their prospect defencemen are on the team. Tyson Hinds plays for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Quebec Major Junior League and Olen Zellweger plays down the road in Everett, Washington for the WHL Silvertips. Hinds was a 3rd-round NHL Draft pick two summers ago while Zellweger went in the 2nd-round, also in 2021.
Remarkably, the Ducks have a third prospect on Team Canada, forward Nathan Gaucher. The right-shot centre playing for Quebec in the QMJHL was the club’s 1st-round, 22nd-overall pick this past summer.
It’s hard to imagine Anaheim’s NHL talent base getting any younger.
All of Ovie’s Goals
In case you missed it, this is crazy fun, if you have an extra fifteen minutes laying around. The Washington Capitals website put together a montage of all 800 Alex Ovechkin goals. The video is set to the theme music from an old TV show about a western hero called The Lone Ranger.
Remember that impossible goal he scored while spinning on his back against the Phoenix Coyotes? That was way back at goal 32.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!!