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Canucks Weekly Fares: Canucks Fall Twice, Front Office Extensions & D Petey Update

By: Trent Leith and Brayden Fengler / March 18, 2024  

Demko Gets Good and Bad News

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

For reader retention purposes we will go with the good news first.

Demko was awarded third star of the week on March 11th. Demko went 3-0-0 in the week and only allowed an average goals-against of 0.81 and a .969 SV%. Not a bad week for the Canucks star netminder. Demko also tied his single-season career high in wins with 34 in his 64th game. All is sunshine and roses for Demko, right?

Right?

Wrong. On Saturday, March 9th, The Canucks stomped the Winnipeg Jets 5-0. But it came at a cost. Demko left the game after only 12 saves at 6:40 into the second period. It was not clear exactly what caused his injury, but the truth remains, he is out and listed as week-to-week.

It is not exactly clear what Demko’s injury is, but it has been reported it is not his groin or hips. This is good news as Demko has a history of groin and hip injuries, and it is never good to see old injuries flare up.

As to whether Demko will be ready in time for the playoffs, Coach Tocchet thinks so. “Yes I am not worried about that at all,” he told the media. “You take the negative with the positive,” Tocchet said. “I thought of that: Do I want him hurt? No. Do I want him in the net tomorrow? Of course. But whether how long he’s out, he’s going to get some rest.”

Front Office Extentions

On Tuesday, it was announced that three Canucks top brass received contract extensions. When looking at the Canucks season-to-season improvement, it’s not hard to understand why these extensions have come. If anything, it’s a wonder how they didn’t come sooner.

Johnson’s case is unique out of the three extensions. Johnson has been extended yes, but he has also been promoted to Assistant General Manager. Most recently, Johnson was working as the first General Manager of the Abbotsford Canucks, a role which he will still keep, while now working as the AGM for the NHL club. Johnson was initially hired by the Canucks back in 2013 as a player development consultant.

Emilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato’s extensions are more straightforward. Both new hires under the Rutherford era, their work as Assistant General Managers to turn this club around will continue as they will now be tasked with maintaining their success over the years ahead.

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D Petey to Abbotsford

It was announced on Wednesday that Canucks’ defensive prospect Elias Pettersson had been assigned to the Abbotsford Canucks. Pettersson finished his season with Örebro in Sweden and will make the jump over to North America for his first taste of AHL action.

This will be Pettersson’s first professional no-tournament run-in with a smaller ice surface. With only a handful of regular season games left for the Abbotsford Canucks, it will be interesting to see if the 20-year-old can adapt to the difference in time to make an impact for the AHL Canucks in their potential upcoming playoff run.

The AHL Canucks currently sit in the last playoff spot in the Pacific Division of the AHL, and while they have five wins on the Henderson Silver Knights who sit below them, it’s still not impossible that the Canucks could lose out on a playoff run this season.

Game 67: March 14th vs. The Colorado Avalanche

The Canucks played the Avs on Wednesday night in a very important Western Conference battle. The Canucks sit atop the West and the Avs are no slouch either, especially after loading up for the playoffs. So when the Canucks went up 3-0 early in the game, everything seemed fantastic. JT Miller started the game like a man on fire, or covered in bees, your call. He scored only 24 seconds into the game.

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He even set up Mikheyev for his first goal in 35 games. JT did the impossible, he set up Mikheyev for a goal. And he did it on his next shift out after scoring. Miller was a +2 in two shifts.

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But that was all Miller would get on the score sheet after a bad hit from Josh Manson in the corner that only caught Miller’s head. Inexplicably, Manson got off with a two-minute minor and no hearing after the game. On the ice, all he had to do was fight Zadorov, who… did not thrive.

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Speaking of Zadorov’s “fight”, this completed his Gordie Howe Hat Trick, the first of his career. Zadorov played a fantastic game, to go along with his fight, goal, and assist he also had five hits. And all of them were big, playoff-style hits. All responsible defensive plays.

At the end of the second period, the Canucks fell apart. With less than two seconds left, Miko Rantanen scored a goal to crack the door open for the Avs.

In the third period, the Canucks abandoned their tight-checking, pesky hockey that made them so successful in the first two periods, and gave up two goals as the Avs forced overtime. In overtime, Carson Soucy was in the penalty box for a puck over the glass in the dying moments of the third period, and the Avs scored to win the game 4-3.

Garland and Hronek Scrap at Practice

After a frustrating game against the Avs on Wednesday, Thursday’s practice got heated and media attending practice reported that Garland and Hronek got into a scrap. The gloves stayed on, but punches were thrown and Garland’s helmet came off. Neither player spoke to the media after practice. But on Friday, Garland spoke with the media.

“That’s basically what that drill is made for,” Garland said of the drill that got the two teammates angry. “I think my helmet came off so it probably looked worse than what it was. It was nothing. Usually, after losses a lot of teams have that (battle) drill and it’s a high level of compete. It was good for us to have that.”

Garland certainly played down the scuffle between the two, and it was likely nothing that will linger. If you can recall, Joshua and Garland got into a fight during preseason, and look at them, they are the two players on the team that have the best chemistry.

Canucks Sign College UFA Christian Felton

The Canucks continued to make moves post-deadline with the signing of college-free agent 24-year-old Christian Felton.

Felton was signed to a one-year, entry-level contract which will begin at the start of next season. Allvin said of the signing “We brought him into our development camp last summer and have kept a close eye on his progress. We look forward to working with him and helping Christian adjust to things as he starts his pro hockey career.”

Felton is coming off a career-best season in points (7) in 26 games and led his team in blocked shots with 55. Felton is a 6’1, 190-pound right-shot defenceman and is touted as a defensive defenceman.

Game 68: March 16th vs. The Washington Capitals

The Canucks faced off against the Capitals for the last of only two contests this week. The Capitals are currently sitting one position out of a wild card spot out east, so while the Capitals are not at the bottom of the league, the Canucks entered this contest as the favourites.

Just over a minute into the game, Quinn Hughes set up Brock Boeser for the game’s opening goal. This was a great start for the Canucks and marked a new team/personal best for Quinn Hughes, amounting to Quinn’s 77th of the season and beating the Canucks’ team record for points in a season by a Defencemen, a record previously held by him at 76 and 68 points over recent seasons.

This game also had another milestone, which was celebrated early in the first period as fans at Rogers Arena participated in a round of applause honouring T.J. Oshie’s 1,000th NHL game played.

The next goal didn’t come until midway through the second period when Tom Wilson of the Capitals tied the game.

Then only minutes later, continued pressure in the Canucks zone lead to a garbage goal by Ovechkin that saw DeSmith not only turned around but completely out of the crease by the time the puck crossed the line.

This was the mark of how the rest of the game went for the Canucks. The Capitals had them dramatically outshot by the end of the second period with the Capitals having eclipsed 20 shots and the Canucks only reaching just over 10 by the end of the second period.

The results stayed the same through the third, making Brock’s goal and Quinn’s assist in the opening minutes, the peak moment in the contest.