If it wasn’t for Delia’s heroics, the game could have been a blowout, but instead, it was Canucks forward J.T. Miller who blew up on the ice. With Vancouver trailing 3-2, the veteran waved Delia to the bench in the final minute of the third period. He appeared to swear at his teammate as the goaltender hesitated to get off for the extra attacker, costing the Canucks valuable seconds in their comeback bid. Miller took the puck behind his netminder’s cage and slammed his stick on top of the net to send Delia off in a hurry with about 50 seconds remaining.
While Miller was probably in the heat of the moment and adamant that Delia should have already left for a sixth skater, the sequence was a bad look on the forward and the atmosphere in the Canucks’ dressing room. On social media, people were critical of Miller’s leadership, questioning his relationship with his teammates.
Former NHL goalie and analyst Mike McKenna defended Delia’s decision to stay put, stating “a smart goalie doesn’t leave the crease until their team has gotten out of the [defensive] zone cleanly with possession. And some are coached to stay put.” He added how disrespectful Miller’s actions toward Delia were.
Delia, who has spent the bulk of his professional career in the AHL, got his third start of the season for the Canucks against the Jets after he impressed the coaching staff in a 5-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers last Friday. Even after the loss to Winnipeg, Delia still owns strong numbers with a 2.58 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 2022-23.
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