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.”
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.