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Vancouver Canucks Practice Hard, Await Word on the Schedule



Vancouver Canucks, Brock Boeser
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser fires a shot on goalie Thatcher Demko at practice Sunday.

Three media types, myself included, two Sedins and a Smyl. That’s who watched Vancouver Canucks practice today. Who knows with Covid, by the time January 5th rolls around, the date of the next Canucks home game, it might not be a much bigger crowd than that. Right now provincial capacity for such events is at 50-percent. Everyone involved hopes it stays that way, in the least.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks practiced and prepared for their upcoming schedule. It was back to business at Rogers Arena Sunday coming out of the elongated holiday break, with the on-ice session featuring the likes of Tyler Motte, Tyler Myers, Juho Lammikko, Brad Hunt, Tucker Poolman, and assistant coach Jason King, all former positive-Covid-protocol’ers.

“Guys worked hard today, for a lot of us just trying to get our legs,” Myers said. “Guys were moving pretty well for just having a break. We just want to keep building off the execution in practice so we can carry it over to the games.”

Myers said he had mild cold-like symptoms, nothing worse, and the heaviest congestion came back during the last game in San Jose. He did manage some home work-outs during the Christmas break.

There’s no shortage of enthusiasm. Most of the Canucks team stayed out on the ice for up to 45-minutes after the last pre-Christmas practice, and a dozen players stayed out on Boxing Day for at least an extra half-hour. One gets the sense the Canucks are chomping at the bit to try and extend the lingering six-game winning streak.

“Absolutely, when you’re winning you just want to keep playing,” Tyler Motte said. “We’d play every day if we could. Obviously an unfortunate pause, with Christmas and also the Covid situation, yeah, I think guys are excited to get this thing rolling and hopefully we continue without any more disruptions.”

Apparently Canucks forward Alex Chiasson is experiencing a disruption. He played 10:18 in the Canucks last game at San Jose on December 16th and practised ahead of Christmas, but he didn’t participate Sunday for Covid-related purposes. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau thought the player might be in protocol already, but the team is waiting on one more test result.

Everyone else is clear at the moment.

The delays have also impacted Boudreau’s interpersonal communication plans. “Gabby” wanted to have a chance to get to know everyone on the team, sooner than later. He arrived in time for his first morning skate on December 6th.

Motte added he hasn’t had a chance to have a lengthy one-on-one conversation yet with his head coach, and there are others in the same boat. It’s one of the many elements to team building and morale and systems that Boudreau probably felt he’d have in place by now.

“Yeah, patience isn’t a good virtue of Bruce’s,” Boudreau said referring to himself. “It’s tough, you want everything to happen at once, when you’ve been out of it for over a year. I want things to happen right away, but I understand the scenarios that are going on, so patience is something I have to learn a little bit.”

At the moment the Canucks have seen five of their games postponed. They’ll practice again Monday with hopes of flying to SoCal on Tuesday.

Let’s be optimistic, which means presuming there are no more Covid delays and the Vancouver Canucks can play the Anaheim Ducks on the 29th, the LA Kings on the 30th, and the Seattle Kraken on January 1st.

Boudreau is expecting to hear more clarification Sunday night.

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