Following an ugly 7-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, J.T. Miller didn’t shy away from being critical of the team’s performance. The crazy thing is, Miller hasn’t been performing at a high level and outside of a goal in the third period, pundits suggest he’s as much to blame as anyone on the Canucks’ roster for their recent defensive struggles.
Miller said after the Canucks were dismantled, “We’ve done a lot of talking, it’s time to just play. And play better.” He added, “It sucks… we keep leaving our goaltenders out to dry. It’s kind of unacceptable.” While his statements ring true, some would call his comments a bit ironic since Miller hasn’t really been doing his part.
One of the plays in tonight’s game — which seemed to truly represent how the game was going to go — was a play in which Miller got walked around, leading to the first goal against. He said, “I thought I was playing left defense (covering for Hughes), and when (Matthews) went to the right, I just froze because I thought Benner was to my right. It was my fault.”
Of course, this isn’t the only play Miller has been questioned about this season. In fact, it’s his overall play that many are concerned about.
TSN Radio Vancouver took Miller to task earlier this week when they said, “Something’s not right with JT Miller. Whether it’s just reading and watching him reacting to what’s going on out there…he’s scored in one game.” They add, “It started with him in COVID protocol and I don’t know if there’s lingering affects, he seemed angry coming out of that and called the whole thing BS.” They also called Miller out for outbursts and odd behavior, for breaking sticks and acting strange.
Miller is Clearly Struggling
Those who have been critical of Miller’s play have said he’s not played defense at times and barely backchecked. It’s odd, because these are things these same concerned fans and reporters would have never once wondered about last season.
The fans expect more, the team expects more and Miller should expect more of himself.
After Thursday’s game, Miller did admit that losing was affecting him. He said, “For myself, it kind of brings the worst out of me when you’re trailing and you start playing a different game.” He added, “We’re losing puck battles way too often. With that comes more time in your own end, and you’re more tired, and you have more breakdowns, and it’s harder to be on offense. We just need to work harder, and take a look in the mirror.”
The problem for the Canucks is that Miller is one of the team’s leaders. If he can’t work himself out of a funk, how is this team supposed to turn things around?
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