“It all started in the summertime. Jim called me and said ‘this is what we’re thinking about doing,’” says Bo Horvat to the assembled media when asked about the process of being anointed the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
“It became official when I got [to training camp], they meet with me, told me how it would all go down.”
There was a meeting with general manager Jim Benning, coach Travis Green and owner Francesco Aquilini. And then, before flying to Edmonton, a team meeting that involved Henrik and Daniel Sedin passing on the torch.
It was, according to the Canucks’ new captain and most everyone involved, “the worst kept secret out there.”
But now, Bo Horvat is just happy to get on with the season. He was hoping for a win against the Los Angeles Kings in the season opener, and he got his wish.
“Just wanted to have a great game, wanted to get a win in front of the home crowd and have a good night myself. The boys responded, I think they wanted it just as much as I did. The boys came to play."
That they did. Here’s what else we saw in the Canucks’ 8-2 thrashing of the Los Angeles Kings.
Goal of the night
Even though there were eight tallies on the night, there was a clearly candidate for goal of the evening. It was Quinn Hughes’ first of his NHL career, and it came on an absolute thumper of a slapshot after one of the most jaw-dropping zone entries we’ve ever seen from the Canucks.
“That was on the powerplay, right?” asked Hughes after the game.
Uh, yeah Quinn, it was.
“It was nice, because we were 0-for on the powerplay, so to get a couple of those was nice.”
“Tanny’s goal was actually the best.”
We’ll agree to disagree, but yes, Hughes using Tanev as a human wall to bank it in off of was pretty nice as well.
Moment of the night
With all the legends in tow to celebrate the Canucks’ 50th anniversary, the biggest cheer (and it wasn’t particularly close) was reserved for Todd Bertuzzi.
It was something seeing him in that old school Orca.
Quote of the night
After a heroic effort against the Calgary Flames in which he talked trash before the game only to score the winner in OT, Drew Doughty wasn’t so happy about his team’s performance in this one.
That’s some definite shade on the Canucks too. Hopefully they can use it.
Also, as one member of press row commented early in the contest: “The Los Angeles Kings are not good.” Whether they know it or not.
Quote of the night II
After a big performance by Brandon Sutter (two goals and an assist), his coach wasn’t mincing words.
“It’s nice to see, there’s a lot of people in this city trying to run Brandon Sutter out of town I think,” said Travis Green.
Woof. He’s not wrong. If Sutter and Gaudette can keep the momentum going, they might be able to form an effective third-line for the Canucks.
Least encouraging sign of the night
He got an assist, but it just seems like Troy Stecher is becoming the forgotten man on defence for the Canucks. He doesn’t play on the powerplay or penalty kill, and is usually out there with Jordie Benn in shutdown situations.
That’s all fine and dandy, but it just doesn’t feel like Stecher is completely comfortable yet.
It might be nitpicking a bit, but we couldn’t help noticing a couple tough, mostly unforced icings when the game was still up for grabs.
The second one lead directly to a Kings goal. Stecher pinched on the play, but was supposed to be covered by Micheal Ferland, who botched his assignment. Speaking of which….
Least encouraging sign of the night II
Like Stecher, Ferland doesn’t play on either of the Canucks’ special teams. And he’s been bumped off the top six. He had an assist in garbage time tonight, but unless he’s going to bring physicality every night, it might be a long four years of Ferland. Historically, he hasn’t produced offensively when he’s not in the top six.
Fall from grace of the night
Is Jonathan Quick an NHL goalie anymore?
Many wrote off last year as an aberration. And maybe it was. Playing on a bad team, Quick posted a .888 save percentage, by far the worst of his career and far worse than his .921 the season prior.
And now, he’s given up 14 goals in his first two games of 2019-20. Yikes.
Kings coach Todd McCllelan admitted that Quick “has to be better.” And it’s true, he was atrocious on a few of the Canucks’ goals.
In any case, this has not aged well:
Most encouraging sign of the night
J.T. Miller’s first four-point game of his career came as he was placed on the team’s first line with Elias Petterson and Brock Boeser.
“They were good,” said Travis Green when asked about the first line.
And on Miller directly: “Think he’s matured, like a lot of young players in the league.”
If that line stays together, you can bet they are going to be dangerous.
Most encouraging sign of the night II
The fourth line of Tim Schaller, Jake Virtanen and Jay Beagle had some moments, especially Schaller, who was buzzing in his 11:42 time on ice.
Here he makes a real nice tip-in play to set up a Virtanen chance that many in the arena thought was a goal.
Analysis of the night
“Two veteran guys who are good players in the league, I don’t think it should be a surprise.” – Green on why the pairing of Tyler Myers and Alex Edler is working well
Prediction of the night
Yep, probably. Few things are as bankable for veteran players NHL as “he’s good with our young kids.”
Lesson of the night
Horvat learned under one of the better captains in NHL history (maybe we’re biased), so we had to ask: what did he take away from Henrik Sedin?
“So many things. The main thing, just be positive all the time. He’s such a positive guy, never came to the rink and had a bad day, always had a smile on his face, no matter how bad we played.”
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