J.T. Miller insists winless Canucks 'not as bad' as they look

J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks doesn't believe the sky is falling for his winless team and doesn't care if fans' jerseys are falling from the sky, either.

Vancouver enters its Monday night home game against the Carolina Hurricanes as the NHL's only winless team, having gone 0-4-2 to start the season. On Saturday night, the Canucks lost their home opener 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres. They were booed off the ice at Rogers Arena. Multiple jerseys were thrown from the stands to the ice in protest, in what has become a tradition for fans disgusted by their team's lack of success.

"If they want to throw their s--- on the ice, it's up to them," said Miller, 29, who signed a contract extension through 2029-30 during the offseason. "I got a job to do. I'm not going to worry if people want to come to the game, pay all that money and throw their jersey on the ice. Go ahead."

Miller said that behind the scenes the situation isn't as dire as it may look like on the ice.

"It's not as bad as you guys think it is. The sky is not falling, certainly," he said. "It shouldn't matter what game we're playing. Whether we're 6-0 or what we are now. We have a hard game to play today. If we don't play well, it's not going to go well. We can control that, so that's what we're worried about."

Teammate Curtis Lazar, who grew up a Canucks fan in British Columbia, was more sympathetic to the Vancouver faithful's feelings.

"It stings, but that's how they feel," he said. "They're passionate. They're going to hold us accountable. It doesn't set well with anyone. We take a lot of pride in wearing that jersey and representing this city."

He agreed that seeing jerseys litter the ice left a mark.

"Of course. But it's about what you do about that mark. Do you feel bad about it and try to make excuses, or do you look yourself in the mirror and say, 'Let's be better'?" Lazar said.

The Canucks will have to overcome a number of lineup absences to win their first game of the season. Defenseman Quinn Hughes is "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury. Forward Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. They're also without defensemen Tucker Poolman, who has an issue with migraines, and Travis Dermott, who suffered a concussion during training camp.

"Hey, listen, they've got pride too," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Nobody liked to see what happened with the crowd. We've got a lot of pride on this team and this is something they want to work themselves out of."