“It could’ve been different”: Tocchet reflects on Canucks’ Game 7 loss

Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet is still feeling the weight of his team’s Game 7 loss in the second round.

The Canucks came up just a goal short of potentially moving on to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2011. Their comeback attempt in the do-or-die game just barely ran out of time.

The Oilers moved on from that series and are now one of two teams left in the postseason battling for the sport’s biggest trophy.

“I have a lot of mixed emotions,” said Tocchet when asked about the Oilers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final.

“When I watch, and I watched that series against Dallas, you know you play the ‘what if?’ game. Could I have done something different? Should I have skated one of those days we didn’t?”

“You have to be careful, I find myself playing the ‘what if?’ game. I tried to watch the last two games and not go ‘what if?’ and just try to enjoy the game. It’s hard, I’ll be honest with you.”

The Canucks gave the Oilers their toughest series of the playoffs thus far, pushing them right to the brink. No other team has managed to force the Oilers to seven games.

The Pacific Division champions came out flat in that final game. The Oilers dominated the first two periods and managed to take a 3-0 lead. That left the Canucks with too much ground to make up.

“I wish we had a better first period,” said the Canucks head coach today about that final game. “That’s my big thing in Game 7. I wish we had a better first period and maybe things would’ve been different but hey, that’s the way it works.”

“I’ve got to give Edmonton a lot of credit; they had a hard series against us, I thought, and they went into Dallas and really played very well. They were comfortable playing a 2-1 hockey game.”

“I heard some of their players said they learned a lot from our series where they’re comfortable playing a 2-1 hockey game. That’s what you do series to series, you learn from things, hopefully our players when they watch this series it motivates them even harder.”

Despite the tough feelings, Tocchet will still tune in to the Stanley Cup Final and try to enjoy the games.

“I get mixed emotions watching this series; you’re always like, ‘What if we did this?’ and ‘What if we did that?’ and you’ve got to be careful because it could torment your mind.”

The Canucks have now turned all of their attention to next year. They’ll be looking to improve on this season where they finished with the third-most points in franchise history.

“We know it’s going to get harder and harder,” explained Tocchet today. “I hope the players do understand because I know it is going to be harder.”