Scenes from Canucks practice: Rick Tocchet still believes in Vasily Podkolzin

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
On the heels of their 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks were out for a late Sunday morning practice to kick off the month of October.
Before that, however, we saw them cut 20 players from their preseason roster, as the picture of what the club’s opening night lineup might look like becomes increasingly clearer. Some notable cuts were Vasily Podkolzin, Akito Hirose, Sheldon Dries, and Matt Irwin. You can read more about all of their cuts by clicking here!
Let’s dive into our Scenes from Canucks practice report for October 1st, 2023.

What we saw

Goodness that new videoboard is large, isn’t it? If you haven’t gotten out to see it in person yet, you’re in for a real treat if and when you eventually do. The thing is massive and it seems as though you’ll be able to read it no matter where you’re sitting in the Rogers Arena.
But that’s not what you’re here for! It’s time for the line rushes!
With their pre-practice cuts, the Canucks’ roster is already down to 14 forwards, which means the battle seems like it’s coming down to Nils Åman, Dakota Joshua, Jack Studnicka, and Nils Höglander. In all likelihood, Ilya Mikheyev is going to be an immediate addition into the Canucks’ lineup, so take him out of the equation. This is going to be an interesting battle to see play out.
Speaking of Mikheyev, Rick Tocchet said Mikheyev won’t play in either of the Canucks’ final two preseason games and that the medical staff isn’t guaranteeing he’ll be ready for opening night. Mikheyev is in the final stages of his recovery from ACL surgery, and seemed to be moving at a decent pace today.

What was said

Rick Tocchet spoke about Vasily Podkolzin’s move down the AHL and how the playing time in the AHL will help him learn to grasp the NHL.
“He checks all the boxes and hard work, what a great kid,” said Tocchet. “It’s grasping the NHL, like the reads and the hockey IQ — things like that. I think it’s very important for development. I think him spending time with Jeremy [Colliton], playing a lot. Putting him in these situations, a lot of situations is going to help that growth in his mind, that’s what I really believe in. And the organization, we’re all aligned in this.”
Tocchet expanded on Podkolzin.
“It’s like chess,” said Tocchet when getting more into detail on Podkolzin’s development. “He’s got to have to think two steps before you make that play. I think he’s looking at that exact moment and [in] hockey, you’re going to have those reads like a few seconds before and I think playing him 10-12 minutes is not really beneficial and we have some guys that are a little bit, quite further ahead than him when it comes to the hockey IQ. So, I mean, listen, it’s part of development and doesn’t matter what’s happened the past year. I just feel, and Jim [Rutherford] and Patrik [Allvin], and the coaches that this is the best way for him to get his reads and his hockey IQ up to standard NHL level.”
An excited Cole McWard skated as Quinn Hughes’ partner and he spoke about continuing to work to become a better NHLer.
“There’s still work to do and I just want to keep moving forward and do the best I can do with every practice every skate that I get out there,” said McWard. “Just make the most of the opportunity and whatever happens, just learn from it and when I make my mistakes, go back and look through that and just try to clean that stuff up. Wherever I end up, it’s going to make me a better player overall.”
McWard also added that the Canucks’ coaching staff doesn’t want him to think about the three penalties he took on Saturday night. Those penalties don’t seem to have made the Canucks’ staff lose any faith in McWard, who still remains right there in the battle for a final roster spot.

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