Islanders’ Bo Horvat looking forward to getting past his former Canucks on schedule: ‘I just don’t like all the hype around it’

Bo Horvat Islanders
New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat, center left, Scott Mayfield, center right, Sebastian Aho, right, and Simon Holmstrom celebrate Horvat’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — It will probably never get to a point in Bo Horvat’s career where it won’t be weird facing off against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. 

The Islanders’ star center spent eight-plus seasons with the Canadian club before being traded to New York last January. He’s already played them twice since the deal, including a Nov. 15 matchup this season in Vancouver in which he scored a goal in a 4-3 overtime loss. 

Tuesday night at UBS Arena sees Horvat and the Islanders host the Canucks in what will be the two teams’ final meeting of the season. With it comes some relief for the 28-year-old.

“I just don’t like all the hype around it,” Horvat told amNewYork on Monday. “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’s break with the Canucks was well-documented and not exactly a clean one, either. In the final year of his contract last season with Vancouver, the captain was given a low-ball offer that ultimately paved the way for the trade to the Islanders. 

Bo Horvat extension Islanders
Bo Horvat with the Canucks (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

He’s been a revelation for an Islanders team that has long been in desperate need of another legitimate scoring punch on its top line. Shifting Mathew Barzal from to right-wing, Horvat has hit his stride in New York with 16 goals, second best on the team behind Brock Nelson’s 17, and 23 assists (third on the team) for 39 points (second on the team) in 38 games this season. 

“Bo’s a stud,” Barzal told amNewYork last month. “He’s handled a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism and he always takes the high road. He’s a special guy and a special player and he’s shown that.”

The Islanders enter Tuesday’s matchup against the Canucks having lost three of their last four to drop to fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with the halfway point of the season fast approaching. That’s all Horvat wants to focus on.

“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. “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 more on Bo Horvat and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com