Rous­sel ready for Canucks de­but

Times Colonist - - Sports - GAME DAY: VAN­COU­VER AT FLORIDA, 4 P.M. PA­TRICK JOHN­STON

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.

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