Canucks Weekly Fares: That’s a Wrap, Media Day and Even More Hardware

By: Trent Leith / May 27, 2024  

Game Seven Vs. The Oilers

And it all came down to this. The Canucks failed to close out the Oilers in six and now are on home ice for game seven to try and defeat the Oilers for a chance to take on the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.

Other than Artūrs Šilovs, no one of the Canucks came ready to play in the first period. The Canucks got outshot 13-2 in the first period, giving Canucks flashbacks to game six.

But Šilovs stood on his head to allow the Canucks to find their feet for a time.

He even stopped a short-handed breakaway that Connor Brown had from his blue line. If Šilovs doesn’t have one of his best periods of goaltending all year, the Canucks don’t get out of the first at evens.

Šilovs’s game did not slow down in the second period, he continued making five-alarm saves, but unfortunately, the Oilers started to get some goals, even while Šilovs was still putting on a show.

Despite Šilovs playing so well, and the Canucks putting up 5 times the shots they did in the first period (they had 10 this period), the Oilers scored all three of their goals in the second period.

Being down 3-0 going into the third was not ideal, but that total is nothing the Canucks haven’t come back from before. Garland finally opened the scoring for the Canucks with 8:33 remaining in the third. A little late to the show, but we know these Canucks can make last-minute comebacks.

Filip Hronek then scored his first goal of the postseason and the first playoff goal of his career.

With four and a half minutes remaining the Canucks poured on the offence to try and tie the game. The Canucks held the Oilers to only two shots in the third period, but unfortunately, they only got 5 themselves. Despite the onslaught of pressure late in the game, the Oilers were able to hold onto the lead.

The Canucks getting outshot 29-17 while Stuart Skinner is in the opposing net is simply not a recipe for success. The Canucks seemed to run out of gas as a team in the last two games of the series. This is something the team can build on next season, but for now, the Canucks got eliminated in seven leaving Ryan S. Clarke wondering what he was thinking.

Post-Season Media Day

On Thursday the Canucks hosted their year-end media availability. GM Patrik Allvin, Coach Rick Tocchet, and the Canucks roster in various groups of four all took their turn sitting down in front of the press to pull back the curtain on this season.

When Petterson took the stage there were a number of questions thrown his way. With one of the first questions probing as to whether or not Pettersson was playing with any injury this season. Petterson opened up with the fact that he had been dealing with a knee injury since January. When asked about this further, Pettersson said the injury is not something that needs anything more than rest. 

When Thomas Drance asked Petey about how he would be able to use this quieter off-season to his advantage, being that the storyline of his contract is done, Pettersson had one of the most candid quotes of the presser:

“It will be nice to get a break from everything, it’s been a very noisy season in terms of the contract, and how s*** I’ve been for the last three months”.

– Elias Pettersson

Boeser was asked about the immediate history related to the blood clotting issue he’s been dealing with, which kept him out of the game seven lineups. Boeser stated that it was an issue that was being monitored in the games leading up to the final one of the series. After game six it was determined that the situation was getting worse, not better, and that playing in game seven would have put Boeser at serious health risk. 

In the portion of the availability that had J.T. Miller take the stage, the disappointment on his face was the most visceral in the room. It’s no secret that Miller is a passionate player, even stating in this press conference himself that he is aware that his emotions are accepted when the team is winning, but that they are certainly not when the team is losing.

The 31-year-old Miller also mentioned how he feels that he was spoiled with playoff hockey as a kid entering the league, and that having gone so many years without it, it’s made him realize how fast everything moves. It was plain to see from Miller’s responses that he believes in this team and is hopeful that the group can be back to the playoffs next year. But Miller certainly knows how difficult the road is and how fleeting the opportunities can be.

In his turn at the microphone, Demko stated how close he was to coming back had the Canucks made it to round three, citing how hard it was to watch from the sidelines when you finally make it to the playoffs. 

Demko was also asked if he would support limiting his workload next season. A move that many believe would ensure a healthy playoff-ready Demko when it comes time for the next playoffs. Demko was dismissive of this idea, stating that a decision like that would come out of conversations with the coaching staff. It will always be an uphill battle to get a player to say that they don’t want to play, in any context.

When Allvin and Tocchet were at the mic Allvin wasted little time stating his disappointment for the season. Having turned this team from a playoff pipe dream, into a round two game seven contender in one season, could’ve given Allvin all the room in the world to be proud of what they accomplished. However, Allvin’s initial feeling was different.

“I’m not happy sitting here today, definitely not satisfied, we lost the last game and it was only round two”

– Patrik Allvin

Allvin was quick to address the fans and the impact that he felt they had during this post-season run. Specifically claiming that the fans won them the 5-4 comeback game over Edmonton early in the series.

Allvin was asked if he feared regression next season, as it was pointed out to him that some teams tend to regress and miss the playoffs after getting their first taste of playoff action the season before. Allvin went on to say that he feels the opposite, that now that his players have gotten a taste for the playoffs, they’ll have a hunger for it.

When asked more about the future, specifically as it relates to the many pending free agents that the Canucks have on their roster, Allvin mentioned that he had had conversations with each of them and informed them that he would like to keep them all. However the GM then touched on the reality of the salary cap league, and how he will only be able to pay certain guys a certain amount. 

Allivin then said that one of the big decisions over the off-season will be deciding what spots to leave open for younger guys. In two separate moments during the presser, Allvin touched on how this is both a money thing and a skill thing. As some younger guys will hopefully be able to legitimately challenge for roles on the team.

Tocchet spoke to his plans for the summer saying that he may even be flying to visit some guys during the off-season, feeling that the 30-minute exit interviews are not enough.

When Rick was asked to reflect on the Oilers series, and what could’ve been different, he highlighted two key moments in game seven. Rick specifically mentioned Ilya Mikheyev’s missed opportunity when he was all alone on the Oiler’s net. The coach then cited the failure of their four-minute power play in that game. Had something happened on either of those opportunities, Rick believes it may have been enough to wake the team and tilt the ice in a different direction.

There was no doubt a lot of “ifs” & “buts” were thrown around during this end-of-season presser. And there is a lot that will now be unfolding during this off-season, namely with the Canucks’ multiple free agents.

More Canucks Hardware

To go along with Pettersson being nominated for the Lady Byng, Hughes for the Norris, Demko for the Vezina, Patrik Allvin was nominated for the Jim Gregory GM of the Year award, and Rick Tocchet won the Jack Adams for Coach of the Year award.

Rick Tocchet beat out Andrew Brunette of the Nashville Predators and Rick Bowness formerly of the Winnipeg Jets in a landslide victory.

1.Rick Tocchet, VAN483
2.Andrew Brunette, NSH145
3.Rick Bowness, WPG75

Tocchet ended the season with a 50-23-9 record in 2023-24 which was an improvement of 12 wins and 26 points over the record from 2022-23. Tocchet also coached the Canucks to their first division title since 2013.

One of the most remarkable changes Tocchet has brought to the Canucks was the improvement of the penalty kill which was tied for 17th in the league with 79.1% which was up from last place in the league with 71.6% last season.

As mentioned Tocchet wasn’t the only off-ice Canuck to be up from some hardware, GM Patrik Allvin has been nominated for the GM of the year.

Allvin is the second Canucks GM in franchise history to be up for the award, the previous nomination was Mike Gillis’s win for his work during the 2010-11 season. Much of the success that the Canucks enjoyed this season was because of shrewd moves Allvin made, particularly last summer rebuilding the blueline. These moves turned the Canucks from one of the worst defensive teams in the league to one of the best in the course of one off-season.

In addition to good work in free agency, Allvin also managed to make some good trades, including acquiring Nikkita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm earlier in the season. Both Zadorov and Lindholm played massive roles in the Canucks postseason run.

The award for Allvin’s category will be announced on June 10th.