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Wake With Elias: Boudreau comments on DeKeyser, Rathbone, Woo & more

The Vancouver Canucks began their preseason with two losses to the Calgary Flames.

Arizona Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks
Bruce Boudreau was behind the bench in Vancouver during preseason a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on September 25, 2022.
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Good thing no one ever remembers the start of the preseason...right?

The Vancouver Canucks played their first two games of the preseason on Sunday against the Calgary Flames, dropping a 3-2 game in overtime on home ice while losing 4-0 on the road.

Thankfully, the preseason is more about chemistry and individual performances rather than results. With that in mind, here’s what Boudreau had to say about some of the players he watched on home ice last night.

On Jack Rathbone...

“I thought he got better as the game went on, he ended up playing 25 minutes. He started to look a lot more comfortable out there.”

“When you're a good puck handler, you’re a good puck handler. I thought he made some really good reads from the power play on the point. you know why he was one of the leading scorers in the AHL on defence last year.”

It was sink or swim time for Jack Rathbone on Sunday night. Like Boudreau said, Rathbone ended up playing 25:45, although that was partly due to a slew of special teams opportunities. Both teams took a combined 16 minor penalties during the game in Vancouver.

Still, Rathbone held his own on a pairing with Luke Schenn. The two could conceivably form the third pairing on opening night.

On Danny DeKeyser...

“I don't care how many years you play in the league, he looked a little nervous. First time I'm sure he’s ever been on a PTO, but, he’s a big body and again, I thought he got a little bit smoother after the first period.”

Boudreau was then asked about how DeKeyser and Myers played as a pair.

“I thought they, you know, they weren't great, but it’s the first time and they played a lot of minutes.”

God bless Boudreau and his ability to be forthcoming, honest, and positive all in the same sentence.

While trying to defend his player, Boudreau was honest about DeKeyser’s shaky performance. Coming into camp, the knock on DeKeyser was that injuries in recent seasons have hampered his ability to skate. The veteran hasn’t been able to shake that so far during training camp and preseason, where he looked a step behind, even against Calgary’s AHL-laden squad.

On Jett Woo...

“He handled himself well. He can skate. I thought he kept up with those guys even though it wasn’t their A-team.”

The bar is clearly lower for Jett Woo right now. He played 12:40 on Sunday night, lowest among all defencemen. The barrage of special teams time prevented him from playing more.

Woo’s partner, Wyatt Kalynuk, was the more noticeable Canuck on Sunday. The 25-year-old was steady at even-strength, and looked good as the PP2 powerplay quarterback.

On Will Lockwood...

“It’s tough without watching the video....he killed penalties...I just want a little more oomph from him somehow.”

It wasn’t a great showing for Lockwood. He wasn’t his usual rambunctious self, and he was crushed in terms of possession at even-strength (4 shot attempts-for, 16 shot attempts-against).

Again, it was another roster dark horse, Phil Di Guiseppe, who looked more NHL-ready than Lockwood did last night.

On Andrei Kuzmenko...

“He can shoot the puck. We see a lot of good things in him. I think it’s an adjustment for him, like, he's looking at it with the size and the physicality.”

“Ask me about him after our sixth preseason game.”

All in all, it was a good first showing for Andrei Kuzmenko. He’s flashed some skill, both while playing with Petey at even-strength, and in Brock Boeser’s usual below-the-goal line spot on the power play.

In case you want to continue re-living the “fun” of the Canucks’ first two preseason games, Jimmi has you covered with his pre-midseason form recap.

In other news...

  • Boudreau also mentioned after the game that the Canucks could trim their roster down today. He alluded to the fact that this might depend on injuries. Brock Boeser is considered “day-to-day” right now, and Ilya Mikheyev left last night’s game in the second period. Boudreau had no update on either post-game.
  • Who doesn’t love bold predictions that are usually laughable and wrong? Here’s one for each NHL team. [ESPN]
  • Finally, for preseason hockey enthusiasts, here’s one prospect to watch from each NHL team. [Daily Faceoff]