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 doesn’t care if fans’ jerseys fall from the sky.

Vancouver enters its Monday night home game against the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL’s only winless team, going 0-4-2 to start the season. On Saturday night, the Canucks lost their home 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, in what has become a tradition for fans disgusted by their team’s lack of success.

“If they want to throw their s— on the ice, it’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 won’t mind if people come to the game, pay all the money and throw their jerseys on the ice. Go ahead.”

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

“It’s not as bad as you guys think it is. The sky’s not falling, sure,” he said. “It shouldn’t matter what game we play. Whether we’re 6-0 or what we are now. We have a tough game to play today. If we don’t play well, it won’t go well. 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 sentiments of the Vancouver faithful.

“It stings, but that’s how they feel,” he said. “They’re passionate. They’re going to hold us accountable. It doesn’t sit well with anybody. We take a lot of pride in wearing that jersey and representing the city.”

He agreed that when the jerseys litter the ice, have a sign.

“Of course. But it’s about what you do about the mark. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look in the mirror and say, ‘Let’s be better’?” Lazar said.

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The Canucks will have to overcome a number of lineup absences to win their first game of the season. Defender Kevin 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 defensive tackle 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. “No one likes to see what happened to the crowd. We have a lot of pride in this team and it’s something they want to work on.”

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