Vancouver Canucks JT Miller doesn’t believe the sky is falling for his winless team, and he doesn’t care if the fans’ jerseys are falling from the sky either.
Vancouver entered Monday night’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL’s only undefeated team, going 0-4-2 on the season. The Canucks lost their home opener to the Buffalo Sabers 5-1 on Saturday night. They broke the ice at Rogers Arena. In a traditional protest for fans disgusted by their team’s failure, several jerseys were thrown from the stands onto the ice.
“If they want to throw the s— on the ice, that’s up to them,” said Miller, 29, who is under contract through 2029-30. “I have a job. If people want to come to the game and pay that much money and throw their jerseys on the ice, I don’t care. Go ahead.”
According to Miller, the situation behind the scenes is not as dire as on the ice.
“It’s not as bad as you think. The sky won’t fall, of course,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter what game we’re playing. Whether we’re 6-0 or how we’re doing right now. We’ve got a tough game ahead of us today. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to be good. We can control that, so we’re worried.”
Teammate Curtis Lazar, who grew up a Canucks fan in British Columbia, had a better understanding of the feelings of the Vancouver faithful.
“It stings, but that’s how they feel,” he said. “They’re passionate. They hold us accountable. Nobody likes that. We’re proud to wear this jersey and represent this city.”
He saw the T-shirts land on the ice and agreed that they left a mark.
“Sure. But it’s about what you do with that label. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s get better’?” – said Lazar.
The Canucks will have to overcome a number of lineups 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’re also without quarterbacks Tucker Pullman, who suffered a migraine, and Travis Dermott, who suffered a concussion in training camp.
“Hey, listen, they’ve got pride, too,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Nobody liked to see what happened with the crowd. We’re proud of this team and it’s something they want to develop themselves.”