Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Scenes from Canucks practice: Zadorov’s first skate at Rogers Arena with his new team
2 months ago
What we saw
Home from Calgary following Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Flames, the Canucks were back on the practice ice at Rogers Arena on Sunday afternoon. With a scheduled day off Monday, Rick Tocchet put his troops through an uptempo workout for about 45 minutes. It included a two-on-two small areas drill with the nets about 20 metres apart. Coaches love that drill, with space to operate at a premium it ratchets up the battle component of practice.
During the few brief line rushes, it appeared status quo from Saturday with Andrei Kuzmenko skating alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser while Elias Pettersson had Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Lafferty as linemates. Teddy Blueger remained in the middle between Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland while Nils Aman had Nils Höglander and Linus Karlsson as his linemates. Phil Di Giuseppe, a healthy scratch for the first time on Saturday, rotated through as a winger on some fourth line rushes.
Nikita Zadorov’s adventures continued on Sunday. After getting traded to the Canucks on Thursday and then suiting up for them against his former team last night, the big defenceman took part in his first home ice practice in Vancouver. The team equipment staff set Zadorov’s stall in the locker room in the middle of the defencemen between Ian Cole and Quinn Hughes.
Thatcher Demko was back to work hours after his 18th start of the season. Demko was involved in a first period crease collision with Flames forward Blake Coleman and at times throughout the game looked to be in some discomfort. But he finished the night making 20 saves for his 12th victory.
As the Canucks skated on Sunday, Rogers Arena staff were busy high above the ice surface preparing Roberto Luongo’s spot in the Ring of Honour. Luongo will be added to the ring ahead of the Canucks game against Florida on December 13th which will wrap up this five game homestand that starts Tuesday against New Jersey.
What we heard
Rick Tocchet on decision to have Thatcher Demko practice today: “Well, we have a day off tomorrow. We’ve been managing his minutes and stuff like that. Last week we kept him off and we’ve got that spare goalie. So he’s fresh. He’s good.”
Tocchet on whether Lafferty can sustain a top six role: “I think it’s okay to switch lines every once in a while. You get some juice. Lafferty had some juice last night. He had a goal. He was around the net on the other one when when Mikheyev scored. I think Kuzy last couple of games was a little bit better. So sometimes you get some instant results. But is it sustainable? Now we’ll see.”
Tocchet on Zadorov adding some snarl to the team: “I’m a big believer that you don’t have to kill a guy, but go through people. When he goes through people it’s going to hurt. And maybe the next time the guy puts his brakes on. We got to get that kind of attitude around here and he’s one of those guys that can give us that attitude.”
Nikita Zadorov on getting new chapter of his life started in Vancouver after Thursday’s trade: “I’m happy to get that (game in Calgary against his former team) out of the way, now I can kind of shift my focus to the homestand and get settled in Vancouver. The schedule is pretty good for me for sure. I got traded three times during the off-season, so I had time to prepare myself and find schools for my kids and lots of outside hockey stuff. This is a great organization and they’re making my life easier. They’ve been helping me a lot the past few days. So I’m in good hands for sure.”
Zadorov on his relationship with fellow Russians Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev: “I feel like all the Russians around the league we keep close to each other, we know each other, we go for dinners. They’re great kids. I feel like I can help Kuzy with some stuff in here for sure. It’s his second year in the league and it takes time to transition your on-ice and off-ice stuff from KHL, especially since he came a little bit later. When you come as a 16-year-old you learn faster instead of when you’re a 26 or 27-year-old. And Ilya is a professional. He’s unbelievable so I can learn a lot from him how to take care of myself and things. So yeah, it’s nice to have a couple of comrades on the team.”
Zadorov on going from one Canadian market to another: “Canadian market is great. I like Canadian markets. People who say they don’t like media and don’t like pressure, that’s part of the game. That’s what you should enjoy, so I’m definitely going to enjoy it.”
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