Rick Tocchet was not pleased with his players’ performance, nor their body language, following the Vancouver Canucks’ 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday.
It wasn’t just that they lost, of course. Seattle’s going to be a playoff team this season and the Canucks have a lot of work to do before they can say the same.
The Canucks coach noted that his team played with a lack of energy, which perplexed him because he gave his players a day off on Monday. The Kraken, meanwhile, were playing the second game of a back-to-back set on the road.
“The energy level was not there after a day off. That’s the alarming thing. I’ve got to take a look at that. If you have days off and guys don’t know how to prepare on days off, then I’m going to have to start babysitting a little bit more,” said Tocchet.
“If you can’t be professional on a day off and come in and have energy, then obviously you’re doing the wrong thing on a day off. I don’t know what they’re doing.”
With five games left and the playoffs now a mathematical impossibility, wins and losses are rather meaningless. But the games aren’t meaningless to Tocchet, who was steamed at how his team performed on home ice, generating just 18 shots on goal — Vancouver’s third-lowest mark of the season.
One player that Tocchet singled out for “not having much energy” was J.T. Miller, a player that had previously been playing some of his best hockey of the season under the new Canucks head coach.
Miller’s body language is under the microscope as well.
After missing a breakaway late in the second period, Miller came off the ice and headed straight to the #Canucks dressing room. pic.twitter.com/PECyGeWVEd
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) April 5, 2023
After nearly scoring on a shorthanded breakaway late in the second period, Miller went for a line change with 30 seconds left. But rather than taking a seat on the bench, the Canucks’ alternate captain marched straight to the dressing room.
He wasn’t going to get another shift in the period, of course, but it’s still an unusual move to make for an NHL player.
“I think Millsy was frustrated; he missed that breakaway, I guess. I don’t know. I didn’t ask him. Something like that. But yeah, body language is something that you can control,” Tocchet said when asked about the moment.
“I thought we’d been getting better at it, but it’s not going to creep back in. It won’t. I’m not going to allow it. [Bad] body language is not mental toughness. It’s weak-minded people when you have body language like that… If you do it once in a blue moon, I get it. We’ve all done it. But it’s got to be once in a blue moon. You can’t have a steady diet of it.”
“It’s a weakness, a mental weakness, when you have bad body language all the time.”