Canucks Rick Tocchet Offers Rare Criticism of Elias Pettersson

Jan 24, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson (40)
Jan 24, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson (40) / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks star forward Elias Pettersson doesn't often draw criticism. However, after Wednesday night's 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues, head coach Rick Tocchet didn't coddle the All-Star forward.

Pettersson is on pace to shatter his previous career high of 102 points set in the 2022-23 season. His 25 goals and 61 points in 48 games put the Canucks forward on pace for 104 points over an 82-game season.

In a game where the Canucks likely needed their star player to step up down a goal and in overtime, Pettersson finished Wednesday night's contest pointless. As a result, Vancouver's head coach turned heads when addressing the play of his All-Star center.

“Yeah, I haven’t liked his game in the last 3-4 games. We gotta get him going,” Tocchet said to media.

“I think he’s gotta skate. I think he’s gotta start skating a little bit. I think he’s good with the moves sometimes, but I think when you have speed and you make those moves, that’s when he’s at his best. We’ll get him going.”

For context, Pettersson accrued three goals and four points in his last five games. Although the sounds pretty good, it sounds like it's not the point that Tocchet is worried about. Instead, it's the effort coming from Pettersson who is trying to be too cute with the puck

The Canucks' new chrome domes were enough flash for Tocchet. He wants his star forward pushing his pace a little, or a lot further. Tocchet's criticism of Pettersson is certainly an interesting wrinkle in the All-Star forward's season. Pettersson is in a contract year and has been public about wanting to wait to ink a new deal. On a night when all of Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, and Brock Boeser found the scoresheet, Pettersson's absence from the point column stands out a bit more after Tocchet's pointed statement.