Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller doesn’t think the sky is falling for his winless team, and he doesn’t care if fans’ jerseys fall from the sky.
Vancouver enters Monday night’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL’s only winless team, having gone 0-4-2 to start the season. On Saturday night, the Canucks lost the opener at home 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres. They were booed off the ice at Rogers Arena. Multiple jerseys were thrown from the stands onto the ice in protest, something that has become a tradition for fans disgusted by their team’s lack of success.
“If they want to put their toe— on the ice, it’s up to them,” said Miller, 29, who signed a contract extension through 2029-30 during the offseason. “I’ve got a job to do. I’m not going to worry if people want to come to the game, pay all that money and throw their jersey on the ice. Go ahead.”
Miller said that behind the scenes the situation is not as dire as it may appear on the ice.
“It’s not as bad as you think it is. The sky is not falling, that’s for sure,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter what game we’re playing. Whether we’re 6-0 or where we are right now. We’ve got a tough game to play today. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to go well. We can control that, so that’s what we’re worried about.” .
Teammate Curtis Lazar, who grew up a Canucks fan in British Columbia, was more sympathetic to the feelings of the Vancouver faithful.
“It stings, but that’s how they feel,” he said. “They’re passionate. They’re going to hold us accountable. It doesn’t sit well with anybody. We’re very proud to wear this jersey and represent this city.”
He agreed that seeing the jerseys sweep the ice left a mark.
“Of course. But it’s about what you do about that scar. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Let’s be better?'” Lazarus said.
The Canucks will have to overcome several absences in the lineup to win their first game of the season. Defender Quinn Hughes is “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. Forward Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. They are also without defensemen Tucker Poolman, who has been struggling with migraines, and Travis Dermott, who suffered a concussion during training camp.
“Hey, listen, they’ve got pride, too,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Nobody liked to see what happened to the world. We have a lot of pride in this team and that’s something they want to work on themselves.”