You’ve likely heard of the saying that perception is reality. In this respect, Vancouver Canucks fans are often described as among the whiniest in the NHL.
While you can argue how fair this perception is, the fans didn’t help themselves with their reaction to Brock Boeser being a healthy scratch for the home opener against the Edmonton Oilers. One of the main complaints was that fans had paid to see Boeser in action and were disappointed when he did not play.
Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Now, we’re not suggesting this represents the majority of the Canucks’ fan base but there were two problems with the complaint. First, coach Travis Green gave advance warning that Boeser would be a healthy scratch, so people knew what to expect prior to arriving at Rogers Arena.
Second, the Canucks actually beat Connor McDavid and the Oilers 3-2, but fans still complained about not getting to see Boeser. This is only one example, but even ‘Nucks fans have to admit this doesn’t help the perception that they whine too much.
But Brock Boeser Looks Good
With that out the way, there was the opportunity for fans to say “we told you so” after Boeser finally made his 2017-18 debut in the third game of the season. He’s looked confident in his five appearances, showing flashes of his potential and registered five points, including this goal against the Ottawa Senators:
However, despite the 20-year-old’s undoubted offensive talent, Canucks fans shouldn’t get too used to this output. He’s unlikely to keep up this kind of point production for the entire season.
For a start, consider why Boeser was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the regular season. Despite being disappointed, he acknowledged the break was needed, as reported by Ben Kuzma of The Province:
‘I’m feeling a lot faster,’ said Boeser. ‘I thought camp was a grind, but I feel like my legs are back under me. My legs felt a little heavy and maybe that was an issue playing all those games at the end of pre-season. It got tougher as the pre-season went on.’
Further, while the winger feels great at the moment, he will likely hit the brick wall again at some point, purely because of the length of the NHL regular season. The number of games is effectively double what he was used to playing while at the University of North Dakota.
North Dakota forward Brock Boeser. Photo: Tyler Ingham, UND Athletics
The NHL takes some getting used to for most young players. This is the challenge facing Boeser.
In addition, the 2015 first round draft pick also has to contend with a step up in the level of competition he faces. While he looks like he’s coping well, he’s going to wear down regardless over the course of an 82-game season. This becomes more apparent when considering the demands of the NHL. He has the build but still needs to improve his strength, to consistently deal with the physicality of the game at this level.
Time and Patience
On the positive side, despite the expectations surrounding Boeser, he doesn’t have to keep up his current point production at this stage of his development. While the Canucks are off to a decent start, not much is expected from them this season.
Green can continue to bring the youngster along slowly and not put any pressure on him. Boeser has the attributes to eventually become a star for the Canucks and potentially the face of the franchise but it will take time and patience.
If and when Boeser is next rested – no matter how well he’s performing – Canucks fans need to show more understanding. After all, surely the last thing they want to do is provide more ammunition for other fanbases (especially the Canadian ones) to call them a bunch of whiners?