It’s easy to identify David Booth’s struggles this year.
The tough part, according to his GM, is how to fix them.
On Thursday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said there are “no easy answers” regarding the Booth situation after Booth, who’s making $4.25 million this year and the next, was a healthy scratch for the second time this season in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Florida.
“We need him to play harder and play with more tenacity on the puck,” Gillis told Vancouver’s TEAM 1040. “We can’t afford to have him try to learn that while we’re playing game we need to win.
“He’ll be back in the lineup when he’s prepared to play the way the coaches want him to play and make the same sort of effort everyone else is making.”
Booth, 28, has been slowed by a series of injuries over the last two seasons and recently admitted he’s missing the physical attributes that made him a 30-goal scorer while with the Panthers.
“My explosiveness isn’t where it was in the past,” Booth told the Vancouver Sun. “That extra step, that’s really the strength in my game. Without a doubt I can get it back. I’ve had other leg injuries and it comes back with time.
“It’s just been a little bit longer this time than in the past.”
Gillis isn’t so sure the solution is that simple. The Canucks have tried a number of motivational techniques already — the healthy scratches, sending Booth to AHL Utica — with zero results.
“[Booth’s] had a lot of meetings with the coaches, a lot of philosophical meetings,” Gillis explained. “There isn’t an easy answer to this situation.”