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Image via Gráinne.
Training camp officially got underway this morning, with the players (plus coach and GM) meeting with the media to answer questions. While Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis obviously weren’t too interested in the proceedings – who can blame them, it was generally devoid of anything too insightful – there were a few things that I figured were worth pointing out, and pivoting off of.
If you’d like to watch it for yourself, feel free to go here. But right past the jump I’ll look at some of the more prevalent quotes and topics of discussions from today’s media day.
Luongo was up first with the Sedins and the soft-spoken Jannik Hansen, who must’ve had a fun time sitting there sipping his water. When asked about his workload, Luongo quickly brought up Eddie Lack ("he has a bright future, if he had to step in he’d be a fine job"), which certainly must’ve hurt Joacim Eriksson’s feelings.
He drew a few laughs with his response of "I’m not on Twitter. I don’t know what you’re talking about." when asked about Tortorella’s philosophy on Twitter. Right. If that’s the case, then why on earth is this my Twitter avatar for the next 3 weeks? Beyond that, he banged the "I just want to go out there, do my best, and perform" pretty hard, which has been his stock answer for a while now.
The Sedins’ contract negotiations will be pushed into high-gear tomorrow as their agent will be in Vancouver to meet with Canucks management. That report was brought to you by Darren Dreger, whose work in Toronto is done for the time being. When asked, Henrik said that this will "hopefully be our last contract", which is a definite change of tune from when they said that they’d like to go on a year-by-year basis.
I’d say that the biggest piece of news from today was that David Booth still isn’t cleared to participate in camp. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when to expect to see him on the ice. When asked about his expectations Mike Gillis replied, "I do [have a day I expect Booth to be ready].. but I’m not going to tell you." According to coach Tortorella, he won’t be rushed, and is considered day-to-day. None of that is all that revealing, but it does came as somewhat of a surprise considering we’ve seen photos surface of him skating with his teammates.
When it came time for him to speak, Zack Kassian discussed how he understands that he needs to be more consistent this season, and that he feels as if he is much more mature heading into camp this time around. He also became the 181281219823291st player to ever talk about how he was in the best shape of his life. Tortorella went on to say that he will be given an opportunity to flank the Sedins in scrimmages and the preseason, which we expected, since he has also expressed a desire to reunite Alex Burrows with Ryan Kesler on the 2nd line.
Speaking of Kesler, he said that the past couple of years have been a "learning curve", but in terms of the injuries that have been nagging at him, he’s at the point where he’s not thinking about them anymore. On his relationship with Tortorella: "I think we’re a good fit. We both want to win, and we both hate losing." The follow-up question was about whether he envisions them "butting heads", and he sighed, before saying "wow, we’re starting this already are we?" That’s what we do here in Vancouver. Hockey for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You know that. Finally, he ended with "we’re going to prove the doubters wrong and make them eat their words."
Dan Hamhuis is still sad, Alex Edler’s hair is still slick, and Chris Tanev has apparently refrained from getting a haircut this summer. Also, I’d still hide my kids from Zack Kassian, if I were you.
Yesterday we pointed out that there are numerous spots up for grabs over the coming weeks, as the opening night roster is far from set at this point. One of the more important ones is the 3rd line C gig; as I scan the roster, there isn’t exactly a particularly favourable fit there. Brad Richardson moving up from the 4th line is an option, I guess, but it’s not the solution. Neither is Jordan Schroeder, probably. While it’s possible that Bo Horvat really impresses and is given a shot there, I wouldn’t expect it. Mike Gillis seems to be aware of all of this, pointing out that the team has roughly $2.5 million in cap space to tinker. I figure there’s another move to come before October 3rd, but we’ll see.
Last but certainly least, let’s get to Tom Sestito, who appeared to be wearing a shirt that said "RIOT". He noted that he’s here to bring the "jam", and that he has no intentions of changing the way he plays the game for the coach. I found that particularly strange, because I figured he’d have a desire to you know, become a more effective hockey player.
On-ice testing begins tomorrow, and by all accounts, the players are in for a treat. Daniel didn’t seem too worried when he said that "no one remembers how many bench presses you did by the end of the season", but he couldn’t be further from the truth. A bro always remembers his bench press totals.
In case you were wondering which players will be involved, and what the preseason schedule looks like, it’s all here.