J.T. Miller insists winless Canucks ‘not as bad’ as they look

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 is 0-4-2 entering Monday night’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL’s only winless team. On Saturday night, the Canucks lost their home opener to the Buffalo Sabers 5-1. They screamed off the ice at Rogers Arena. Disgusted by their team’s lack of success, their fans threw several jerseys from the stands onto the ice in a traditional protest.

“If they want to put their — on the ice, that’s their business,” said Miller, 29, who signed a contract extension through 2029-30. “I’ve got my work cut out for me. If people want to come to the game, I don’t mind paying all that money and throwing their jerseys on the ice. Go ahead.”

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Miller said the situation behind the scenes is not as dire as it seems on the ice.

“It’s not as bad as you think, the sky is not falling,” he said. “The game we’re playing doesn’t matter. Whether we’re 6-0 or the way we are now, we have a tough game to play today. If we don’t play well, it won’t be good. We can handle it, so that’s what we’re worried about.”

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Teammate Curtis Lazar, who grew up a Canucks fan in British Columbia, was more sympathetic to the Vancouver faithful.

“It’s annoying, but that’s how they feel.” “They’re emotional, it holds us accountable, it’s not good for anybody. We take a lot of pride in wearing that jersey and representing the city.”

He agreed that the sight of the jersey flooding the snow would leave a mark.

“Sure. But it’s about what you make of that sign. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Let’s be better?'” Lazarus said.

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The Canucks will have to overcome several lineup omissions to win their first game of the season. Defender Quinn Hughes is “week to week” with a lower-body injury. Forward Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Also without defenders are 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 likes to see what happened with the crowd. We’ve got a lot of pride in this team and that’s something they want to do themselves.”

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