Canucks: Bruce Boudreau says J.T. Miller’s stick smash at Collin Delia ‘my fault’
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Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau says any negative reaction to forward JT Miller after he was seen reacting aggressively to his own goalie in the 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets late Thursday is “off.” to make a mountain out of a molehill”.
In a season where Boudreau was aggressive with his goalie moves, it was interesting to see Canucks goalie Collin Delia had just a minute left in the net and the Canucks were just a goal behind Thursday.
On two occasions, Delia appeared willing to bench, only to hesitate and then stay in the crease as the Canucks took their time leaving the zone and switching players on and off the ice.
It took the Canucks more than 20 seconds to exit the zone in control and finally bench Delia.
Delia, who remained on the ice, clearly annoyed Miller, who was seen yelling and gesturing at Delia to step out after the second aborted attempt to leave the ice and then slam his stick into the back of the net.
The reaction of many Canucks fans — and at least one former NHLer, ex-goalie Mike McKenna, called it one of the most disrespectful things he’s ever seen — has been critical of Miller, who is known for his strong, often loud personality.
It looked like Miller was being aggressive towards a teammate, particularly one who had played a big part in holding the game to that point and in a second period that saw the Canucks’ defense in front of their goaltender particularly lacking, standing upright.
It was also only Delia’s second start and third game with the Canucks.
But after the Canucks practiced in Calgary on Friday, Boudreau tried to take the blame for the moment.
“It’s my fault,” he said.
Boudreau said Delia had his eyes on the coach, waiting for him to be told to get off the ice. Whatever Miller did, Delia’s focus was secondary.
“I’m waiting for us to get on the ice a bit to make sure we have possession,” explained Sportsnet’s Boudreau to Ryan Leslie.
“I think it’s completely overdone. JT is doing anything to win at this point and Collin is the good guy where he’s new to us and he’s looking at me for direction. If I didn’t give the right direction, that’s on me.”
For his part, Miller was not interested in speaking out about the incident.
“Unless it’s in our locker room, I don’t think anyone’s opinion really matters, to be honest. It’s not the coach’s fault. I don’t even know why it’s even being talked about. Maybe I shouldn’t have done what I did. But some of the anger I let him know going to the bench, I have full control of the puck, that’s all,” Miller said. “And in the end, it probably doesn’t look good visually. People with different opinions…I don’t care.”
When asked if he had spoken to Delia about the incident, Miller declined to answer.
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business,” he told Leslie.
“The only reason there’s noise is because you guys ask me questions about it. I’m not looking at anything. Like I don’t care at all. I just care about the guys in the room and my coaches and my teammates. It’s all that interests me and I didn’t even know such a thing existed until today.”
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