Bo Horvat finds the hype for NY Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks games annoying

Nov 15, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a
Nov 15, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Horvat likely enjoys seeing the familiar faces of some of his former teammates, but that's about all he likes about playing against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks.

The New York Islanders host the Pacific-leading Canucks at UBS Arena on Tuesday night, one of two regular-season games on the schedule each season that brings extra focus and noise for Horvat, something that the 2023 All-Star doesn't look forward to.

“I just don’t like all the hype around it. It’s annoying. For me, I just want to go out there and play the game and not worry about everything else that goes into it.”
Horvat in amNY

Imagine how John Tavares feels! The Canucks have won both meetings between the two teams since the trade. There was a come-from-behind 6-5 win at UBS Arena on Feb. 9 and a 4-3 OT win on Nov. 15. Horvat has scored in both games against his former team.

The 28-year-old served as Vancouver's captain in 2019 and returned for the first time as an Islander on Nov. 15th. Horvat was upset about how his situation was handled prior to the trade, rejecting a long-term offer from the team last season before being put on the trading block as a UFA.

It was uncertain how he would be received at Rogers Arena when he hit the ice. While they did boo him a few times when he touched the puck and cheered when he was thrown out of the face-off dot, it was a widely positive reaction that left Horvat misty at times during warm-ups.

“It brought back a ton of memories and just the whole tribute, the way they reacted just meant a lot to me, said Horvat. "So, you know, it was pretty special… Too bad we couldn't get the two points, but one I won't forget.”

Tuesday will be the second and final matchup between the two teams this season and the third match-up since Horvat was acquired from Vancouver on Jan. 30 for a package that included a 2023 first-round pick, Anthony Beauvillier, and prospect Aatu Raty. Horvat awkwardly "represented" the Islanders at All-Star weekend before signing an eight-year extension before his first Isles practice.

“We’re going to be done with [the Canucks] here after tomorrow, and then I can just go and play hockey and not worry about anything,” Horvat said in amNY. “Obviously, I look forward to the game, and I want to come out with a win, but that’s the only part that’s kind of annoying for me.

For a trade that some pundits called a "lose-lose," both the Isles and Canucks are pleased with the early returns. The Canucks, led by a 24-year-old defenseman and new captain Quinn Hughes are 25-11-3 and sit atop the Pacific Division with 53 points. Vancouver has only made two playoff appearances in the last 10 seasons, with one coming in the 2020 bubble in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Horvat has found chemistry with Isles 2024 All-Star Mathew Barzal, scoring 16 goals (2nd on the team) and 23 assists. The Islanders 18-11-10 are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for third-place in the vert tight Metropolitan Division.

The match-ups should be come less annoying for Horvat as the years and seasons go by, but for tomorrow night, a third straight loss to his former team would be the most annoying thing of all.