Canucks' Miller: 'It's fun to come to the rink again'
Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller says that the dressing room is a more fun place to be these days, in what has been a tumultuous season for the team.
"This wasn’t too fun of a place to be in the beginning, mid part of the year," he told reporters on Tuesday. "It’s a bit of a s—t show, sorry for swearing but it really was. A lot of distraction.
"I think that we’ve kind of moved on as a team, we understand who we’re going to be for the most part moving forward. It’s fun to come to the rink again. It’s very fresh around here."
The team fired head coach Bruce Boudreau on Jan. 22 and replaced him with Rick Tocchet, after going 18-25-3 this season. They became the first team in NHL history to lose four straight games after holding a multi-goal lead in each contest, and through 40 games they had the all-time NHL record for multi-goal blown leads with eight.
The Canucks also traded captain Bo Horvat on Jan. 30 in a blockbuster deal that brought Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty and a conditional first-round pick in 2023 to Vancouver. At the trade deadline, the Canucks acquired defenceman Filip Hronek from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a conditional 2023 first-round pick acquired from the New York Islanders in the Bo Horvat trade and the Canucks' 2023 second-round pick. They also dealt forward Curtis Lazar and defenceman Luke Schenn.
In 19 games under Tocchet, the Canucks are 10-7-2 and have won four straight games.
Miller, 29, has 24 goals and 60 points in 64 games this season, his fourth with the Canucks. His seven-year, $56 million contract extension is set to kick in next season.
The team is set to miss the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons, but Miller is optimistic about the direction the team is going.
"The main part, we’re playing well as a group," said Miller. "It’s not really about wins or losses at the end of the day right now, it’s about enjoying the process of getting better as a group, having good habits and being accountable. We’re starting to do that and I think the results are showing as well."