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Boeser’s Struggles?, Team Physicality?, Chiasson’s Value?

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Vancouver Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.

The hair isn’t getting it done. One of the Vancouver Canucks projected top-liners has proven lackadaisical this season, and I’m not talking about Elias Pettersson.

“Your Best Players have to be Your Best Players”

Watch Brock Boeser turn over pucks, watch when Boeser coasts through a line change, watch Boeser’s body language. None of it good.

“Our best players have to be better,” Canucks Head Coach Travis Green has stated more than once this season.

The two aforementioned are great candidates for improvement. The Pettersson element remains a bit of a mystery, but we’re giving “Petey” an extended benefit of the doubt because of his extended absence last season and his late arrival to this preseason. Also because everyone has seen him at his finest and they still have confidence in his upside.

The flip-side of that are questions about the impact of physicality on his game and his current mental state. His discombobulation can stem from one or many things.

Ultimately, as I’ve stated recently, it’s on the players.

JT Miller said as much after practice on Tuesday.

“We have to play,” he stated. “It’s on us. The guys in that room are gonna make a difference, not the coaches. They prepare us for the game but we as leaders and as a core group, whatever your role is on the team you have to buy into winning first and not yourself. So once we do that on a consistent basis we’re gonna get the results.”

“… have to buy into winning first and not yourself …” Hmm.

The Chiasson Factor

… or lack thereof.

The coaches were enamoured with Alex Chiasson in training camp. We were all pretty impressed by the fact that this guy could, and did, make a third NHL team on a Professional Try-Out (PTO). Essentially he showed up without a contract and made the team, just as he had done previously in Edmonton and Washington.

It’s impressive, but what hasn’t been is his play. A love affair developed with the coaches and the concept of Chiasson being in front of the net during the power play, initially on the top unit. That concept didn’t last long. He’s not playing with Connor McDavid anymore, and his lack of finish has only complicated matters. He’s been a scratch at times this season and not a factor on the top unit.

Big Zack MacEwen, who Chiasson beat out for the job in general, seems to be enjoying life in Philadelphia. Size was a factor for both men, but MacEwen uses his where Chiasson doesn’t.

D Depth

The Canucks see the return of Tucker Poolman and Travis Hamonic to the right side of the defence corps this Wednesday night. Poolman done with a two-game suspension and Hamonic, unable to travel to the US on the three-game road trip with his non-vaxxed status, returning after a stint with the Abbotsford Canucks where he didn’t actually play.

Green said Hamonic had taken a puck to the head or neck in his last NHL game and initially had breathing issues and decided not to play either AHL game over the weekend. Probably a blessing in disguise. Desperately needed with the big club, “Hammer” didn’t need to get hurt playing against the San Jose Barracuda.

Defencemen Jack Rathbone and Madison Bowie are back with Abbotsford. Luke Schenn remains on injured reserve.

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