Canucks: Brock Boeser, Andrei Kuzmenko and the greasy aim

Brock Boeser and Andrei Kuzmenko have swapped scoring success charges from one season to the following.

Get the newest from Patrick Johnston straight to your inbox

Article content material

Even when your offence is working red-hot, because the Vancouver Canucks’ has this season, there are solely so many targets to go round.

Commercial 2

Article content material

Evaluate Andrei Kuzmenko and Brock Boeser this season and final: final yr, Boeser struggled to search out the web a lot of the yr whereas all the pieces Kuzmenko touched across the opposition’s internet turned to gold.

Article content material

Kuzmenko led the league in tip targets, getting 14 in keeping with the NHL’s information, and it helped him to a sensational 39-goal yr. Boeser, however, struggled within the early going after breaking his hand and though his sport improved later within the season, particularly as soon as Rick Tocchet took over as coach, he nonetheless scored solely 18 occasions, a profession low.

It’s the alternative state of affairs this yr for the Canucks’ scoring duo: Boeser has rediscovered the scoring kind that he confirmed so effectively within the first few seasons of his profession — he has 24 targets, second within the NHL behind Auston Matthews — whereas Kuzmenko has struggled to search out success and has even been a wholesome scratch a number of occasions now.

Article content material

Commercial 3

Article content material

Brock Boeser has been the beneficiary of some quality setups from J.T. Miller as he piles up the goals in 2023.
Brock Boeser has been the beneficiary of some high quality setups from J.T. Miller as he piles up the targets in 2023. Picture by Sam Hodde /Getty Pictures

Really helpful from Editorial

Boeser is enjoying faster, discovering house faster, however to him, it’s principally right down to luck. Some years your pictures hit the submit extra usually, or they trickle extensive; some years they tick off the submit and go in, or hit a foot and go in.

It’s about attending to the areas the place targets come from, he mentioned.

“I believe it simply will depend on the yr. I believe I’ve simply bought to proceed to work arduous and actually keep centered on these particulars. And , so long as you’re getting possibilities, they need to go in,” he mentioned Saturday.

“Simply, , come to the rink with mindset every single day and being motivated, motivated to get higher and work in your sport and simply actually concentrate on all these particulars Rick talks about.”

Commercial 4

Article content material

Kuzmenko, however, admitted he’s in little bit of a muddle. He’s not been getting his stick on as many level pictures as he was final yr, and he is aware of this.

“I must work higher,” he mentioned. The open areas to get tip chances are high there, and he’s engaged on bettering how he finds these open areas.

“Each participant is harder,” he mentioned of what he’s discovered enjoying within the NHL versus the KHL.

“It’s a really attention-grabbing course of. I like enjoying in opposition to the most effective gamers. It’s an excellent problem. I can’t clear up why. It’s a really attention-grabbing second for me.”

Tocchet mentioned Boeser’s potential to search out house in tight quarters, whether or not it’s proper on high of the crease or additional again, within the slot, is spectacular.

“He will get to that space rapidly and Millsy (J.T. Miller) has really hit him a bunch of occasions this yr,” Tocchet mentioned. “His consciousness of the place to go on the ice in that slot. I believe he’s one of many higher guys within the league at, when the strain hits in a defensive-zone protection, he can discover that non-pressure place, nevertheless it’s often solely open for a few second or two. … For those who get there slower, it’ll in all probability shut up. I believe he will get there actually fast.”

Commercial 5

Article content material

Boeser’s potential to get targets from these high-traffic areas is consistent with the staff’s general success in that regard, Tocchet mentioned.

The Canucks are one the NHL’s finest at scoring off of suggestions: they’re third within the NHL, scoring on 23.7 per cent of the pictures recorded as suggestions. Solely Minnesota and Columbus have been extra profitable at tipping the puck into the web.

Nonetheless, there’s work to be finished, the pinnacle coach mentioned.

“I believe now we have slipped a bit in our internet entrance, although. I believe now we have to get again to having extra folks in entrance of the web. And I believe that’ll translate then into extra puck possession time too.”

SOUCY ‘SOON’ — Carson Soucy practised along with his teammates for the third time this week as he works his manner again from a lower-leg fracture, suffered Nov. 12 in Montreal. The veteran defenceman was as soon as once more all smiles speaking to the media after skating on a fourth defensive pairing in apply with Mark Friedman. He even took some activates the appropriate facet, as he’ll probably swap in for Noah Juulsen when the time comes. Requested if he would possibly play Tuesday versus the Ottawa Senators, Rick Tocchet would solely say that the defenceman can be returning “quickly.”

[email protected]

Article content material