The Vancouver Canucks’ coaching staff and management is hoping David Booth’s experience as a healthy scratch will act as a wake-up call for the left-winger.
Booth was scratched Tuesday night, as the Canucks skated to a 5-4 overtime victory against the New York Islanders. Now into the sixth leg of their current seven-game road trip, the Canucks are in New Jersey to face the Devils on Thursday.
“I think David will respond,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis told Team 1040 radio Wednesday.
“He’s a very good player when he’s got energy and when he’s playing well. We’ve been at this now for 10 games and it was time for him to step up.
“I don’t think it’s a confidence issue with David. He works extremely hard off the ice and we just need him to get re-focused on his play on the ice during a 60-minute hockey game.”
Booth, 28, has one goal and three points in 10 games this season. Once a 31-goal scorer with the Florida Panthers, he has scored only twice in his 22 games combined over this season and last.
Injuries have piled up for Booth, who has two years remaining on his current deal at a cap hit of $4.25 million. His latest ailment, an ankle injury suffered last season that required surgery, kept him out of the start of training camp in September.
“I think if we thought that was still (an) available excuse than maybe a different tactic would’ve been used,” said Gillis.
“We’re on an extended road trip, the longest trip I think that I’ve been on since being here. We need everybody playing and playing well and you know there are different ways to get that out of players and the coaches are determined to get it out of David and I think they will.”
Booth likely to draw back into the lineup against the Devils.
Gillis told the radio station that winger Jannik Hansen has returned to Vancouver for further evaluation on an injury he suffered Tuesday.
The Canucks also announced Wednesday evening that 23-year-old defenseman Yann Sauve, a former second-round pick from 2008, has been recalled from the Utica Comets in the American Hockey League.