Canucks Center Speaks His Mind
Canucks fans can enjoy a lengthy and revealing J.T. Miller conversation with the St. Louis based podcast “Cam and Strick”, featuring former NHL enforcer Cam Janssen and Blues TV reporter Andy Strickland.
A large number of items stand out from Tuesday’s production, including Miller’s desire to stay out of the toxic social media stream in Vancouver.
“My wife has my Instagram account on her phone, for charitable reasons,” Miller said. “I don’t even have the app on my phone. So I try to stay off, I’m not on Twitter or anything, I mean, it’s impossible to completely get out of the way. Especially out there when it turns a little toxic, and it turned very negative, and it felt like everybody’s looking for something to grab on to. I mean, you could write a book about last season.”
Miller actually harkens back to the season before when head coach Travis Green was fired in December of 2021, through the whole Bruce Boudreau rise and fall, into the start of Rick Tocchet’s tenure this past January.
“I’m definitely excited, we’ve kind of turned the page and moved on and can put some things in the past,” Miller said. “I mean, with the (trade) deadline and all the rumours about people getting traded, and it’s just a shit-show to say the least.”
Part of that might stem from a portion of the media base that’s clearly incapable of understanding the emotional and psychological elements of hockey. Plus, unsubstantiated rumours, trade related or otherwise, are apparently easy to start.
“Not all of them, I just can’t stand some of them, and like honestly, I think they know that I feel that way. So it’s not really anything to hide,” Miller stated.
His bottom line is trying to win hockey games.
“I shouldn’t have to explain myself,” he added, “I feel like I’m constantly trying to explain myself. Listen, there’s enough people that understand me that really, I mean, I get pretty good sleep at night.”
Miller’s revelations aren’t unusual for this podcast. It’s a casual environment where the language is loose and it’s a chance to let their hair down, so to speak. Retired players can be even more forthcoming.
“These guys open up and they will be very candid,” Strickland told us a day after the show debuted. “I give J.T. a lot of credit, he was candid with us, he was open with us, he probably could have been even more candid. He was a bit reserved, he understands he’s a current player and you have to pump the breaks and draw the line somewhere.”
Especially with the trauma of Boudreau’s departure happening just eight months ago; hung out to dry as a lame duck coach while taking organizational criticism, while at the same time experiencing emotional support from the Canucks faithful.
The ‘Gabby’ Canucks Trauma
“I think you guys know that I can’t speak on behalf of that to a certain extent,” Miller pointed out, given the continuity of Canucks management. “But how can you not feel bad. Bruce is one of the best humans I’ve had as a coach behind the bench my whole life. He’s just a really great person, and I know that everybody and their mother would tell you guys the same thing. So, when you see somebody that you actually really care about, it’s tough to see them go through that. And to see him emotional, and like I said, I can’t get into it too much, but to see him emotional sucked for everybody.”
Miller discusses two or three on-ice incidents that were misinterpreted by the media, one with goalie Collin Delia, another with defenceman Luke Schenn. Again, a lack of understanding of the competitive and emotional elements, or simply the desire to create something to talk about?
“He plays with some charisma, he’s very intense,” Strickland stated, “but at the same time you can tell this guy really wants to win, and I’ve talked to some of his teammates or people who know him from previous teams or whatever, and they all speak really highly of him and very positively … I knew there may have been a little bit of misrepresentation about him there (Vancouver), but not enough to impact my judgment of him as a player or a person.”
Canucks Fan Passion
“Not a lot of playoff hockey the last ten years, right,” Miller stated, “I think there’s a reason to be pissed off if you’re a fan, no question. They’re loyal and they care and they have tons and tons of passion, you know, reminds me of playing in New York. It’s like I said, I would really rather have a fan that cared than didn’t care.”
Miller knows the same passion can turn into an advantage.
“There’s times in the year when things become pressing and annoying, but in the grand scheme of things I take the passion over anything, because one day, when we are, you know, if it’s this year or next year or the year after playing in the playoffs, all of a sudden that passion is going to be helping us, so I kind of try to look at it that way.”
Miller discusses his background and hockey history in detail and is honest about his maturation process and learning to be patient. He also opens up about what he’d like to do with his spare time and how he spends some of his new found wealth.
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