The Canucks’ young core has championship mentality


The Vancouver Canucks have a very promising young core. Not just because of their production on the ice, but their work ethic off the ice as well.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin set the bar very high for the Vancouver Canucks. They were leaders on and off the ice, and since their retirement, this mentality has been passed on to the team’s young and new leadership.

The pure skill of this new core has been very impressive, but their work ethic and dedication to the game is what stands out the most. These players are determined to constantly improve and the mentality rubs off on everyone in the locker room. Thatcher Demko‘s incredible 42-save performance on Tuesday night to keep his team’s season alive is a prime example of this.

Instead of getting passive on the bench while watching Jacob Markstrom, Demko worked hard at practice to make sure that when his time came, he was ready to deliver. This kind of dedication to the game is seen in every player who is a part of Vancouver’s core.

Jeff Vanvliet coached Bo Horvat through peewee, bantam, and minor midget and talked glowingly to The Province about his determination to be an elite player:

"“That’s what you see in elite players. They don’t get too far ahead of themselves and Bo was never cocky in any way. He was the hardest-working player in practices and games and just a pleasure to coach.”"

Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and Demko are the future of the Canucks and even though they’re young and quite new to the league, they have been determined to be the best they can be.

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When looking at elite players in the NHL, you see that they are never happy with where they’re at and they’re always striving for the next level. After every summer, Sidney Crosby comes back with a new skill.

Whether it be faceoffs or building a lethal backhand, he’s always tinkering and working to become a better player. This attitude is so important, and it is seen with the young Canucks’ leaders.

Pettersson has embodied the “never satisfied” attitude and despite being in just his second season in the NHL, he has already shown tremendous growth.

Instead of basking in his Calder Trophy win, he took the lessons he learned from his first season and applied them to his off-season training regiment.

Rather than just gaining weight, he worked on getting stronger with the frame he has. Working with his Swedish trainer, Robert Lygdbäck, they focused on balance and body control, doing movements that translate quickly onto the ice. Here is what Lygdbäck said about Pettersson in an interview with, a Swedish sports website (this has been translated via Google):

"“He is very responsive and puts a lot of energy into what he needs to improve. Finally, I have a picture ready for me of what we are going to work on and what the next step is. He buys it in full, but what is fascinating about Elias is that he has already thought about it, before I have time to say anything.”"

The result was an improved offensive season and he leads his team in playoff points with 18 (seven goals, 11 assists), including two game-winning goals. Horvat has taken charge as well, leading the team in playoff goals (nine) and Hughes is currently tied with Cale Makar with 14 points — the record for a rookie defenceman in a postseason. When you work hard off the ice, success will follow on the ice, and the Canucks are showing this.

This competitive core is constantly pushing each other to be better, which sends a strong message to the rest of the team. If Pettersson is skating that hard at practice, you should be too. Leadership through action is important, after all.

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Having a plethora of skilled players is great, but the fact that the Canucks’ stars are incredibly well-disciplined is what makes this team great. Mental toughness is key for playoff success, and when your stars are willing to put their heads down and work, that is the sign of a team with championship potential.