Roussel ready for Canucks debut
SUNRISE, Florida — There was no doubting the excitement and relief Brock Boeser felt when he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
The sophomore winger roared after the puck rocketed past Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, putting the Canucks ahead 2-1 at 12:17 of the third period — 70 seconds after teammate Elias Pettersson had tied the game.
He wasn’t alone in his excitement. His teammates were all thrilled. Boeser had family in attendance too, so you knew they were overjoyed as the goal triggered an offensive outburst in a 4-1 Vancouver victory.
But one person may have been just as excited about the goal as Boeser: Antoine Roussel.
Seated in the press box with the other Canucks’ scratches, there was no mistaking his roar after Boeser’s first goal of the season.
“You always want your teammates to perform. He’s a guy who’s put a lot of pressure on himself, you can tell,” Roussel said Friday after the Canucks practised in Sunrise, Florida, ahead of today’s game against the Florida Panthers.
He hasn’t played a game yet for his new team, but Roussel couldn’t deny the enthusiasm he felt for his teammate finally potting a goal, especially in such dramatic fashion.
“He just wants to help the team, for him it’s scoring but he does so many things,” he said about Boeser. “You just got to focus on playing well … don’t hold weight on your shoulder.”
Since making his debut for the Dallas Stars in the 2012-13 season, the 28-year-old Roussel has averaged about two minutes in penalties per game, but he has also scored 64 times in that span.
Even if he’s not paid to score at the rate Boeser does, he knows what it means to go through a scoring slump.
“It sucks,” he said flatly. “It’s not fun. When the ball gets rolling you’ve got to stop it pretty quick or sometimes your mind gets on it and it’s just not fun … don’t try to get too emotional about [a scoring drought], just play your game, everything falls in order.”
On Friday, he skated on a line with Boeser and Bo Horvat.
He said he wasn’t sure when he’d make his season debut, but the signs are there it could come as soon as today.
“It’s getting closer, for sure. It’s nice to get another good practice with the guys, with full reps.”
The fact he was skating with the team’s No. 1 centre and No. 1 winger — apologies to Elias Pettersson, who has four goals in four games, but he’s still trailing Horvat and Brandon Sutter in centre ice time — was a sign of where his coach thinks he might fit in when the time comes.
He was just about blown away getting to skate with the two young stars.
“Are you kidding me? That’s two great players but I don’t make the lines, I just go out there and have fun,” he said, again with a big smile.