Benning, Green, Boeser, Miller & More

In the latest edition of Vancouver Canucks‘ News & Rumors, the team’s owners are holding important meetings, including one with general manager Jim Benning. Head coach Travis Green is optimistic that the team can overcome their slump while Brock Boeser has had enough of losing. Meanwhile, J.T. Miller continued his hot start to this season by playing banged up Sunday.

Canucks hold important meeting with Benning

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Canucks’ owner Francesco Aquilini will meet with Benning on Tuesday afternoon. Friedman believes the meeting will be to help the team understand why they are losing and what to do about it. Friedman states that the meeting does not aim to change the position. 

Francesco Aquilini, VAN’s owner, to meet with Jim Benning this afternoon. While neither party will comment on the situation, it is my understanding that this is a meeting to find out why the team has lost and how to fix it. It is not a meeting to make changes to the position.

After losing four straight games, the Canucks will be returning home Wednesday. They also lost all three of their road games.. Matthew Sekeres was the reporter for the teamA high-level meeting was held Monday to see if any changes are possible. Fans have been calling on the organization to fire Green, Benning and others via social media after the Avalanche 7-1 loss. The Canucks will be playing in front of a hostile environment on Wednesday if the team doesn’t make a change. The club is likely to stick with Benning. If that happens, Green could be on his way out.

Green Confident Team Will Win

Green believes in the CanucksCan pull themselves out of their early season slump. After losing all three games on their recent road trip, the team’s record is 5-9-2. 

 “I think our penalty kill is going to have to help get us going. It will happen, I believe. My power player will score. I know we have some players that will produce (because) they’ve produced before. I know getting some of our defencemen back will also help our game,” Green said. “Things haven’t gone the way we’ve wanted to, but I will say that I’m confident that our team will turn it around.”

The Canucks have the league’s worst penalty kill (PK). Their Penalty Kill Percentage is 62.3, meaning that they have allowed 20 goals to fall a man. Their power play converted at 15.3%, which is 25th in league. The power play was a key reason the team enjoyed a successful season in 2019-20, when they converted at 24.2% clip. This is fourth in the NHL. 

The Canucks’ top players have also struggled to produce, specifically Elias Pettersson. He has scored three goals and nine assists in 15 games, averaging.56 points per game. He hasn’t been able score an even-strength goals this season, and has registered only three points at 5-on-5. Due to Travis Hamonic’s vaccination status, the team is experiencing inconsistencies in their blue line. He missed all three games in the club’s recent road trip, but the head coach said he should be fully vaccinated. Hamonic was called up on Monday, as the team returned from Vancouver.

The Canucks’ slow start has led to fans wanting the club to fire Green and Benning. The club has had a slow start. Similar to last year, the club has only scored 12 points through 16 games. Despite Conor Garland’s additions, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland as well, Jason Dickinson is still disappointing his fans. If the team doesn’t improve in the area’s Green listed, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the organization moved on from him sooner rather than later.

Boeser Disappointed in Team’s Results

After the Canucks’ 7-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night, Boeser wasn’t happy with the team’s performance.  

Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Amy IrvinThe Hockey Writers

The Canucks surrendered a lead of 2-0 to the Golden Knights. Nils Hoglander tied this game at 2-2. They once more took the lead before Hoglander tied for the game at four goals each. Vegas responded with three straight goals that tied the game at four goals each. 

“There’s good response for sure,” Boeser said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about winning and you got to find a way to win hockey games.”

Boeser noted that the team needs to do better in front Of goalie Thatcher Demko. Through 12 games, he’s faced the third-most shots among goalies with 382 and has saved the fourth most with 343. Despite posting a .898 save percentage and 3.33 goals-against average, Demko isn’t responsible for the Canucks’ record this season. The team has been disappointing on their own at even strength and on PK. 

The Canucks are currently seventh in the Pacific Division. They are six points away from the second wild-card spot. Another slow start could hurt the team’s postseason hopes for the second season in a row. 

Miller Hurts on a Road Trip

Miller’s playing status on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks was uncertain. After a second-period crease collision, Miller played only 4:46 total ice time against Vegas. The forward was able to get up and post an assist, while still logging 19 minutes on the ice against the Ducks.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers

It is evident that the forward loves to win, and he will play even when he is injured. Miller is off to a great start to the 2021-22 season, as he’s scored a team-leading seven goals and 18 points. He is tied for eighth in league scoring with his 18 points. Bo Horvat noted Miller wanting to do whatever it takes to win and how important he is to the team, from his play to his leadership (from ‘Canucks notebook: Hobbling Miller, returning Motte should provide inspiration,’ The Province November 14, 2021).

“J.T. is going to do whatever it takes to win and we need guys like that,” Horvat said. “He’s a huge part of our team ever since he has been here. He’s playing awesome again and we’re going to need him.

“You need to hold guys accountable and he’s one of the guys who does that and the way he plays is to lead by example and we need that from everybody. We’re lucky to have him.”

Miller has scored 49 goals and collected 136 points in 138 games since joining the Canucks just before the 2019-20 season. Quinn Hughes is second with 108 points. Quinn Hughes with 108 is the next closest Lotto Line member. While he has been a positive player on the team, he still needs to see his fellow Lotto Line players produce. Pettersson has had an uninspired start while Boeser has scored four goals and eight assists in just 18 games. Hopefully, Miller’s play rubs off on the two at some point. 

Tyler Motte Returns

Tyler Motte made his return to the lineup Sunday against Anaheim. Since he was still recovering after offseason spinal surgery, Motte missed the first 15 games. The bulging disc in his spine caused by wear and tear over many years led to him missing the 2020-21 season. His return will bring much needed speed and assistance to the PK.