Canucks coach Tocchet behind the bench.
Photo credit: The hockey News

Vancouver Canucks scratch top six forward for poor performance

Published May 16, 2024 at 12:22

Ilya Mikheyev has been a mainstay for the Canucks top six forward group, but tonight, he'll be a healthy scratch.

Now in a best of three series with the Edmonton Oilers, both teams are breaking out lineup changes to provoke a response from their players. Today, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet did just that by scratching Mikheyev, as well as Sam Lafferty and Linus Karlsson.

Phillip DiGiuseppe and Nils Hoglander will draw into the lineup as replacements. Hoglander will be elevated to the Canucks all-Swedish second line alongside Elias Lindholm and Elias Pettersson, shaking up the entirety of the rest of the lines.

Coach Tocchet called out several players after last game for playing as ‘passengers' and barely even knowing the playoffs were on. Ilya Mikheyev has clearly been one of those players for the Canucks.

His elite speed and puck carrying abilities make Mikheyev a great asset on the penalty kill and for breakaways - but he shies away from physical contact, and always seems to shoot for the goalie's logo. The Canucks may be better 5 on 5 without Mikheyev in the lineup, but the Oilers might capitalize on his absence from the penalty kill.

Canucks make several major lineup decisions before game 3

There was some thought that Thatcher Demko may be able to make an early return even in tonight's game 5, but once again he was unavailable to the main group at today's practice. Still, Demko has been reportedly progressing quickly, and may be healthy enough to play in game 6.

It's certainly a message to the rest of the Canucks players to see coach Tocchet call out his players and scratch a regular player like Mikheyev. At home tonight they'll likely come out with one of their best efforts of the series. The Oilers need to be prepared, play their game, and do their best to bring a series lead back to Edmonton, and an opportunity to eliminate the Canucks at home.
May 16   |   643 answers
Vancouver Canucks scratch top six forward for poor performance

Do you think the Canucks should've scratched Ilya Mikheyev?

Yes, he wasn't playing good enough45971.4 %
No, too valuable on penalty kill11918.5 %
See Results6510.1 %
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