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

Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller doesn’t believe the sky is falling for his winless team, and he doesn’t care if fan jerseys fall from the sky either.

Vancouver enters Monday night’s home game 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 opener 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres. They were booed off the ice at Rogers Arena. Multiple jerseys were thrown from the stands onto the ice in protest, becoming a tradition for fans disgusted by their team’s failure.

“If they want to throw their … on the ice, that’s up to them,” said Miller, 29, who signed a contract extension through 2029-30. during the offseason. “I have a job to do. I’m not going to worry if people want to come to the game, pay all that money and throw their jersey on the ice. Go ahead.”

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Miller said that behind the scenes the situation is not as dire as it may seem on the ice.

“It’s not as bad as you think it is. The sky is not falling, certainly,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter what game we play. Whether we’re 6-0 or what we are right now. We have a tough game today. If we don’t play well, it’s not going to work. We can control that, 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 feelings of the Vancouver faithful.

“It stings, but that’s how they feel,” he said. “They’re passionate. They’re going to hold us accountable. That’s not good for anybody. We’re proud to wear that jersey and represent this city.”

He agreed that seeing the jerseys on the ice left a mark.

“Sure. 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 do better’?” said Lazarus.

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The Canucks will have to overcome a number of absences from the lineup to win their first game of the season. Defenseman Quinn Hughes is week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Forward Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. They are also without defensemen Tucker Poolman, who has been dealing with migraines, and Travis Dermott, who suffered a concussion during training camp.

“Hey, listen, they’ve got pride, too,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Nobody liked to see what happened to the crowd. We have a lot of pride in this team and this is something they want to work on themselves.”

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