Canucks: Stick faucets for Lions, their powerful each day grind, the Gray Cup pursuit

‘They (Lions) are grinding. Some guys are making first rate cash and a few aren’t. However they’re all working towards one purpose and that’s a championship.’ — Canucks defenceman and Surrey native Noah Juulsen

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The names rolled off Rick Tocchet’s tongue like a CFL elite roll name.

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“Terry Metcalf, Condredge Holloway, Terry Greer. These are the blokes I used to observe, and I used to be an in depth pal of Warren Hudson,” the Vancouver Canucks head coach mentioned of rising up in Toronto and watching the Argonauts excel through the Eighties.

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“They performed for years and that’s why there was a lot affection for them. It wasn’t one and accomplished. I had an affection for the CFL.

“I actually need to go to a B.C. Lions sport, however I haven’t had an opportunity, similar to numerous our guys.”

With the Lions getting ready to face the Calgary Stampeders within the West Division semifinal Saturday at B.C. Place, the workforce throughout the road at Rogers Area was giving stick faucets for surviving the gridiron grind and retaining Gray Cup hopes alive.

“They’re enjoying a workforce they need to beat, that’s the place the strain is,” added Tocchet. “However they made the playoffs.”

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Tocchet performed one yr of highschool soccer within the Toronto space, however would quickly face a call that led to an 18-year NHL profession as a rugged and productive winger and now as a bench boss.

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Head coach Rick Tocchet Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

“It was Grade 9,” he recalled. “I cherished soccer. However the hockey coach mentioned, ‘You’ve obtained to choose one or the opposite.’ Thank God I picked hockey. I don’t know if I’d have been a lot of a soccer participant.”

Canucks defenceman Noah Juulsen was born in Surrey and relocated to Abbotsford at a younger age. He is aware of the connection the Lions have developed with their established trustworthy, and the will to draw a youthful era. That’s spectacular. So is the grind.

“I went to a few video games, and a few us went to 1 throughout coaching camp this yr and it was fairly thrilling,” Juulsen mentioned of the Lions topping the Saskatchewan Roughriders 33-26 on Sept. 29. “I used to be within the AHL most of final yr, and the yr earlier than, and it’s type of just like what they’re doing within the CFL. 

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“They’re grinding. Some guys are making first rate cash and a few aren’t. However they’re all working towards one purpose, and that’s a championship.”

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Canucks defenceman Noah Juulsen stretches earlier than their NHL sport towards the Dallas Stars at Rogers Area on March 14, 2023. Photograph by Jeff Vinnick /NHLI through Getty Photographs recordsdata

Juulsen didn’t play soccer, however did play rugby and lacrosse. He was reminded of the bodily toll the CFL takes throughout that Lions conquer the Roughriders.

“It was my first time seeing a CFL sport in a very long time and it’s distinctive in its personal approach,” he mentioned. “I keep in mind as a child it was fairly packed and we obtained our scorching canines and drinks. They type of misplaced (the workforce’s following) somewhat and are beginning to get it again. It’s nice for town and the Surrey group and everybody round it.”

James Butler flies over the B.C. defence
Hamilton Tiger-Cats working again James Butler jumps over the defence of BC Lions’ Sione Teuhema and Boseko Lokombo for a landing through the Ticats’ August win at B.C. Place. Photograph by Ethan Cairns/CP /PNG

Canucks winger Dakota Joshua was just lately speaking about his hometown and improved Detroit Lions, which may have been relevant to the B.C. Lions.

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“I feel they’re simply all believing within the system,” said the Dearborn, Mich. native. “Town is behind them and I simply suppose it’s been a very long time coming. Good coach. Good motivator. Does a great job at letting what he need. A reasonably vocal man.”

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Nashville Predators’ Cole Smith, left, and Vancouver Canucks’ Dakota Joshua vie for the puck through the first interval on Tuesday at Rogers Area Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Joshua needs to get to a CFL sport as a result of the three-down sport, dimension of discipline, and roster dimension are intriguing.

“For positive,” he mentioned. “I haven’t checked it out stay but.”

The admiration that Joshua has for professional soccer gamers is the period of time they need to dedicate to their chosen craft. And in the event that they aren’t big-money guys, the love of the game has to trump every thing. At 6-foot-3, 206 kilos, the rugged Joshua appears like he would have been a great tight finish, however he didn’t gravitate towards the game.

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“You’re not getting sufficient time with the practice-to-playing ratio,” he mentioned. “That was at all times my view. And to combine it in with hockey apply can be quite a bit. I performed hockey and basketball (energy ahead) till Grade 10 and doubtless thought I used to be higher than I really was on the time. 

“I feel I selected the fitting sport.”

What Tocchet has developed as a coach is a thirst for data. Preparation, practices, conferences and managing a roster varies from sport to sport. And that’s why Tocchet has reward for CFL coaches who should coax the most effective out of their 45-man rosters.

“I’d like to sit down down with the Lions coach (Rick Campbell) and the Whitecaps coach (Vanni Sartini),” mentioned Tocchet. “I like speaking to coaches in numerous sports activities and getting completely different concepts. I’m a giant junkie in relation to that.”

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When Tocchet was a coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was invited to an NFL coaching camp by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. It made an enduring impression.

“He gave me carte blanche,” mentioned Tocchet. “I sat in on all of the conferences, and I walked round camp and watched. It’s numerous shifting elements and numerous conferences. And it was the way in which they practised. I’d prefer to ultimately blow the whistle and do a drill.

“Can we do this after 20 minutes? Cease and go 6-on-5 and put a minute on a clock? Invoice Belichick (New England coach) does that with the Patriots. It places strain in your workforce.”

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