No nonsense honesty. That sums up the approach of Vancouver Canucks leading scorer JT Miller.
It might rub some the wrong way, he can misdirect some of his ire on occasion, but his goals for himself and the Canucks on a daily basis and on a macro-scale are pretty clear.
He spoke his mind following the Canucks 3-1 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday night in Denver.
“We had everybody buy-in today, when we do that we win almost every single time,” Miller pointed out. “I don’t remember one time this year where we played the right way and worked hard where we didn’t come out with a victory. We feel good about it, this is going to be an awesome road trip for us. I don’t think we’re done yet, we’ll enjoy this for a little bit here but then we have another very hard opponent tomorrow.”
In the 2nd half of a back-to-back the Canucks turn right around and play the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul on Thursday night.
Vancouver Canucks number-one netminder Thatcher Demko will get the start in goal after back-up Jaroslav Halak stole the show in Denver with the victory on Wednesday. It’s been a long hard season for the 36-year-old Slovakian who’s seen rare and troubled starts after an early season that saw him get little support.
“It’s been shitty, you know,” Miller stated. “We feel so good that he could, first of all, play the way he did today, I mean he was an absolute rock. He was on. You could just tell this morning, he was on this morning, he had that aura about him. You knew he was going to be a difference maker today and he played awesome. We’re all very happy for him and he deserves it.
“It’s been a long year, it seems like every time he goes in we play like crap, so it was nice to have a decent performance in front of him and when stuff happened he was there to shut the door. It was awesome.”
Halak chuckled postgame when he heard about Miller’s ‘aura’ comment.
“I don’t know, I just wanted to get out there and have fun,” the goalie said. “Now that trade deadline is over, I don’t have to focus on anything else, I’m here, I just want to help the team. Right now we are in a playoff push and we need to be playing playoff hockey from now on.”
“Nothing has changed since Bruce (Boudreau) came in (December 4th), we know we’ve need to win 70-percent of our games coming down the rest of the season to get into the playoffs,” Miller pointed out. “Doesn’t matter if you win at home or on the road, yeah, we would have liked to have taken care of a little more business back home, but we’re in it, we have something to really play for …
“Right when you start to think you’re out of it, you’re going to put yourself out of it, but there’s none of that in our room,” he added. “We believe in there, take it game-by-game, it’s gonna be hard but it seems the harder it gets the better we play and we kind of enjoy that.”