Canucks Coach Claims Players ‘Put Respect Back in the Jersey’ With Playoff Run

Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet believes his team made the league respect the Canucks again.

Vancouver was eliminated in Game 7 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks had a great season, as Vancouver won the Pacific division and made the playoffs when they weren’t expected to.

Although the Canucks were eliminated in the second round, Tocchet says his team put respect back in the jersey and city.

“It’s not even the last month, it’s been a year, year-and-a-half. Just the buy-in. Listen, they put respect back into that jersey and the city, let’s face it. A year-and-a-half ago it was ‘this guy can’t play, this guy’s that.’ Well, I told them before the game they put respect back into that jersey, and this city, and gave the fans something to be proud of. It’s all because of the players,” Tocchet said after Game 7 on May 21.

During the playoff run, Canucks fans were loud and passionate and even sold out the arena to watch the game on the jumbotron while Vancouver was on the road. Tocchet says that shows how much this team meant to the city this season.

Vancouver went 50-23-9 this season and made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Vancouver Players Praise Canucks Fans

Following the Canucks being eliminated by the Oilers in Game 7, Vancouver players had nothing but positive things to say about their fanbase.

“They’re the greatest,” Garland said after the game, via Sportsnet. “They really are. It’s hard not to get emotional at the end because they are the best. It’s too bad we came up short, but we’ll be better for this. But yeah, they’re the greatest.”

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Canucks players J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes echoed Garland’s statement about the Canucks fanbase.

“It hit me emotionally at the end of the game when they were cheering for us,” Miller said… “When you see that, you know you’re in a good place and a good market with really good things for the future.”

“Special place to play,” Hughes added. “That’s part due to the city and the passion that the people have here but also to this group and what we accomplished the entire year.”

The Canucks went from finishing sixth in the division a year ago to winning it this season and making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Canucks Have Key Free Agents

With Vancouver being eliminated in Game 7, the focus now turns to the off-season.

The Canucks have plenty of key pending free agents as upfront, Elias Lindholm, Teddy Blueger, Dakota Joshua, and Sam Lafferty are pending unrestricted free agents. On the blueline, Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Myers, Ian Cole, and Mark Friedman are pending UFAs while Filip Hronek is a pending restricted free agent.

In goal, Casey DeSmith is a pending UFA, while Arturs Silovs is a pending RFA. But, the Canucks do have starting goalie Thatcher Demko under contract for two more years at $5 million per season.

Vancouver will have to make some tough decisions with their free agents this off-season. But, the Canucks have over $24 million in cap space this summer.

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This article was originally published on Heavy.com

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