JT Miller of the Vancouver Canucks doesn’t believe the sky is falling for his winless team, and he doesn’t care if fan jerseys fall from the sky.
Vancouver enters Monday night’s home opener 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 their home opener to the Buffalo Sabers 5-1. They were booed off the ice at Rogers Arena. Several 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 guns on the ice, that’s up to them,” said Miller, 29, who extended his contract through 2029-30 during the offseason. “I have a job. If people want to come to the game, pay all that money and throw their jerseys on the ice, I’m not worried. Go ahead.”
Miller said the situation behind the scenes is not as dire as it looks on the ice.
“It’s not as bad as you think. The sky’s certainly not falling,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter what game we’re playing. Whether we’re 6-0 or right now. We’ve got a tough game 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 says. “They’re passionate. They’re going to hold us accountable. It’s not good for anybody. We’re proud to wear that jersey and represent this city.”
He agreed that the sight of clothes being dumped on the ice took its toll.
“Of course. But it’s about what you do about that sign. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look in the mirror and say, ‘Let’s be better’? Lazarus said.
The Canucks will have to overcome a number of combined absences to win their season opener. Defender Kevin Hughes is “week to week” with a lower body injury. Forward Brock Boozer is day-to-day with an injury. They are also without quarterbacks Tucker Pullman, who is struggling with migraines, and Travis Dermott, who suffered a concussion during training camp.
“Hey, listen, they’ve got pride, too,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. No one wanted to see what happened to the audience.