Just days after Shawn Matthias carved his former organization for not doing things “the right way,” his ex-head coach responded with a blast of his own.
“He’s a talented young player, he can skate, he has all the size and tools, but he gets in his own way,” Horachek said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “He went through four coaches, so nobody’s picking on him and nobody’s trying to say he can’t play in a different role.
“But there’s accountability and the ability to get out of the victim role… and just say, ‘I’m going to do whatever is needed for me to play for the team, instead of playing for the name and number on my back.'”
Horachek was responding to comments Matthias made prior to Vancouver’s 4-3 shootout win in Florida on Sunday. Matthias, acquired from the Panthers are part of the Roberto Luongo trade, suggested he only got a chance as Florida’s No. 1 or 2 center minutes when someone was hurt — and when the injured parties came back healthy, he was relegated to a bottom-six role regardless of how well he’d played.
“I was happy to be moved and happy for the new opportunity. It’s a different atmosphere [in Vancouver], a different culture. You play hard and you play. In Florida, too many guys were given things and it’s not the right way. Here, it’s you earn your ice time.
“I think it was obvious when guys were out [in Florida], how well I played. And when they came back, nothing really changed, it seemed like it never happened. I was upset for awhile here and wanted a fair shake and now I’m in a really good situation.’’
Since joining the Canucks, Matthias is averaging 18:04 per game — up from the 12:14 he was getting in Florida — and has scored one goal and two points in six contests.
Of course, Matthias’ opportunity for expanded minutes at center came after Ryan Kesler suffered a knee injury.