Time to pour a few cups of java to make sense of what went wrong, then went right, and then went wrong again Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.
A spirited rally from a 5-2 deficit in the third period with three consecutive goals was the good news on a bad night with suspect systems plays, too many odd-man rushes and too many Grade A chances in a bitter 6-5 setback to the New Jersey Devils.
Lots to ponder on what happened on and off the ice during a hectic day.
FIRST CUP: ‘I was just trying to find that soft spot. I thought I was pretty lucky.’
Brock Boeser has 18 goals.
Noodle on that while you take a big sip of coffee. It’s not just that he’s leading the NHL in goals, it’s the manner in which the vastly improved and complete winger is having a marvellous renaissance season.
His goal in the third period started the comeback. He called it lucky. It wasn’t.
Boeser got into the right position to take a corner feed from J.T. Miller and executed a deft backhander in tight. His willingness to get to the tough areas, establish position and then deliver, is one the league’s best stories. Wasn’t he supposed to be traded last March?
However, he didn’t want to talk about his goal because the last-minute loss stung.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” said Boeser, who had two points and three shots. “Some details in the first period and they get that 4-1 lead and it’s tough to come back from.”
Now, about that goal.
“I was just trying to find that soft spot and Millsy is so good at finding me. I thought I was pretty lucky. I’m just happy it went in.”
SECOND CUP: ‘Greener gave me the opportunity to become the player I am today.’
Travis Green didn’t meet with the local media Tuesday morning.
He knew the historic day belonged to Quinn, Jack and Luke Hughes — brothers in arms who were about to share the same ice for the first time in an NHL game — and a re-hash of his demise as the Canucks bench boss would get too much play, as opposed to what he has accomplished as a Devils associate coach.
He’s the architect of the NHL’s top-ranked power play and grateful to be back in the game. Like many others in a connect-the-dots business, he got a second chance at his first love to prove that career wounds can heal, no matter how great the pain.
And because the Canucks are now doing a lot of what Green preached, the appreciation is there.
“I loved Greener,” Hughes said Tuesday. “He gave me the opportunity to become the player I am today, and I had a lot of early on success in my rookie year, but struggled the second year. He always threw me right back out there and I never lost my confidence.
“I learned from my mistakes and it’s something that’s something a lot of defencemen aren’t able to have. I just grew each year.”
Green had his warts but, but more importantly, he was no different than a lot of his peers. He didn’t have everybody pulling on the rope, and in a bottom-line business, a poor start was going to bring change.
His run ended on an unforgettable night. Not only was his club outpaced and outclassed in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 4, 2021 to fall to 8-15-2, the Rogers Arena faithful demonstrated the disdain with a loud clamour for change.
They shouted for general manager Jim Benning to be shown the door. Two days later, Green was fired and emotional owner Francesco Aquilini turned GM and hired Bruce Boudreau.
THIRD CUP: ‘Hopefully, he gets another kick at the can, he deserves it.’
Green’s career life line was preparation meeting opportunity.
When Andrew Brunette accepted the head-coaching job with the Nashville Predators, it allowed Green to reconnect with those he crossed paths with and he was hired last June.
Green was a teammate of Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald with the New York Islanders in 1992-93 and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2002-03. Green also played against Devils assistant coach Ryan McGill in the WHL and played against and also coached against assistant Chris Taylor in the AHL.
What he needed to do was build a relationship with Devils head coach Lindy Ruff.
“Travis has been awesome,” Ruff said Tuesday. “He loves the game and works really hard at it. He’s great with the players. He has come as advertised.”
Productivity and consistency are the big challenges for young and elite players. Jack Hughes had 99 points (43-56) last season and lauds Green for keeping players accountable.
“He has been great,” said the Devils centre. “A lot of details and really pushing us up the mountain and not letting us get complacent. A good job connecting with players and keeping us moving and using our strengths.
“We don’t have big shooters on the power play, but we use our feet and brains He’s done a really good job of putting us in places to succeed.”
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet and Green are coaching confidants.
“He’s one of my closest friends,” said Tocchet. “He’s a hell of a coach and I’m glad he’s back in. Smart guy and a good acquisition by Jersey. Hopefully, he gets another kick at the (head coach) can. I think he deserves it.
“We talk once a week or every 10 days. You run ideas by each other. There’s stuff. He asks my opinion about the PP and I should be asking him. He’s got the No. 1 PP. He misses Vancouver, but he didn’t say much about the media (laughs).”