February 21st, 2024

Boeser reflects on journey to crack 30 goal mark for Canucks

By Nick Wells, The Canadian Press on February 8, 2024.

Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser, back left, Pius Suter, back right, and J.T. Miller celebrate Boeser's third goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, January 27, 2024. Boeser has spoken over the years about wanting to crack the 30 goal mark after going close in his first season with the Vancouver Canucks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Brock Boeser has spoken over the years about wanting to crack the 30 goal mark after getting close in his first season with the Vancouver Canucks.

This NHL season, he jokes that by avoiding the subject with media, he’s has been rewarded.

“I’ve mentioned it to these guys a few times over the years and this year I told them I wasn’t saying anything so it worked out I guess,” he said.

Boeser recorded his 30th of the season to complete a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 27.

The goals, which included two on the power play in the third period, snapped a six-game drought.

“I think it’s sticking with it and a lot of hard work after some ups and downs,” he said when asked about his success this season compared to last.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and how we’re playing and how we’ve created this standard.”

His 30 goals ranked eighth in the league, two ahead of Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, heading into a game Thursday night at Boston.

Boeser is top of the Canucks’ goalscoring chart and sits in fourth spot on the team for overall points with 54.

The Minnesotan had 18 goals in 74 games last season and has spoken out about the difficulties he faced with last year through extended scoring droughts, being a healthy scratch and dealing with the death of his father.

He started the 2023-24 season off with a bang, scoring four goals against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s recorded hat tricks two more times this season.

“Mentally I’ve talked about it, finding that motivation again,” he said about what’s changed from previous seasons to this one.

The four goals in the opener are tied for the most in a single game this season.

Selected 23rd overall by the Canucks at the 2015 draft, Boeser was named to the NHL All-Star Game, the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2018.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet has been full of praise for the winger, saying it started with how Boeser approached the off-season and training camp.

“His goals are right in front of the net and that’s where we want him,” Tocchet said.

“He’s had a lot of adversity in his life and the way he’s dealt with it.”

Boeser has worked closely this season with Canucks assistant coach Mike Yeo in an effort to improve on the ice, Tocchet added.

“He recognizes that he doesn’t like his game,” Tocchet said. “He’s a streaky guy, around the net he’s really dangerous.”

Teammates have also expressed support throughout the course of the season and have spoken out about his growth.

“He takes so much heat and he’s worked on his game so much,” said linemate J.T. Miller. “He’s really matured and become such a well rounded player.”

Boeser and Miller have spent the majority of the season playing alongside one another, with both moving between the first and second forward lines by Tocchet.

Miller, 30, has 22 goals and 46 assists playing alongside Boeser.

Netminder Thatcher Demko has also previously shared his support for Boeser both on and off the ice.

“Obviously, Brock and I are really tight, we’ve been really good friends for pretty much all our careers,” he said after Boeser’s second hat trick of the season in December.

“It’s awesome to see. I know how much work he’s put in physically, mentally, spiritually to get his full potential.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.

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