A decision that affects Oliver Ekman Larsson

A decision that affects Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Being left out by your coach is never a very glorious moment in a veteran’s career. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, while in great form, appeared affected by his runway run with the Vancouver Canucks.

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On Thursday night, the former Arizona Coyotes captain watched as his teammates were defeated 5-4 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Head coach Bruce Boudreau decided to send a message by not using his services.

That kind of gesture leaves a mark, but Ekman-Larsson realizes he needed a break after showing the team’s worst difference (-14) this season.

“I’m a guy who worries about that,” the Swede told Sportsnet on Friday morning. I try to be very proud of my game on ice, defense or anywhere else. But of course when you’re fighting, sometimes you have to stop and pick up the pieces. But I’d be lying if I said conceding all those goals didn’t affect my confidence.”

The Canucks are obviously in solution mode after suffering six losses in their last seven games. The team’s president, Jim Rutherford, has been called upon to react to his coach’s decision and said not to worry.

“Do you like to see this happen to a veteran who’s been playing for so long? No, it’s hard, he told Canadian media. But I support what the coach did because it was right to blame that player.”

“A player who is left out once doesn’t worry, but it could become so if it ended up happening more often.”

“I need to get better”

If there’s one question every hockey player would like the answer to, it’s “how to improve.” Since his debut in 2010-2011, Ekman-Larsson has been best known for his work in attack. His defensive imperfections were forgotten in Arizona, but not in the scheme of a coach like Boudreau.

The 31-year-old full-back, who has a respectable 19 points in 40 games, is looking to improve his differential.

“It would be nice to be better in terms of pluses and minuses. Sometimes it’s your fault and sometimes it’s not, but you were on the ice. In general, I think I need to get better. A negative defensive type is not good,” he admitted.

Despite everything, the world hasn’t stopped spinning and Ekman-Larsson is more focused on the work at hand than his passage in the heights of the Amalie Arena. It’s not yet known if he will return to practice Saturday night at Sunrise, where the Canucks will take on the Florida Panthers.

“You think a lot about your game and about yourself as a person. At the end of the day my family still loves me, I still have my friends. I just have to get better and work hard,” announced OEL.