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Scenes from Canucks skate: New dad Vasily Podkolzin ready to put last season behind him

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
9 months ago
We were back out at UBC today for another informal Canucks skate, which means it’s another edition of Canucks morning skate!

What we saw

You can feel the intensity ramping up as training camp nears, and this was true today. The first group, packed with NHL regulars, took part in some intense conditioning drills to close out their session. It wasn’t a bag skate — but it was a skate that was intense enough to remind us all that these players have been told for months that training camp next week will be hard.
There’s just not much to dig into in the what was said section, so let’s get right to our conversation as the day, as we caught up with new dad Vasily Podkolzin.

What was said

Vasily Podkolzin heard the nice things Rick Tocchet had to say about him on the radio over the offseason, but knows it’s up to him to earn a spot in the Canucks’ NHL lineup. Podkolzin hopes his disciplined and hard-working approach to the offseason will help him accomplish that.
“Last season was tough, but I think it’s going to be better this season,” Podkolzin, who skated with a group of local NHLers including Connor Bedard and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this offseason, said“I can’t say I played good last season. This summer, I think I did a great job, it was time to work and time to be better, like the new coach said. Right now I feel comfortable and I can’t wait to play my first game.”
On top of his offseason training, Podkolzin and his wife Sasha welcomed their daughter into the world two months ago. Podkolzin spoke ahead of last season about how he felt much more comfortable and “at home” he felt returning to the Canucks for his second season in the NHL. He knew most of his teammates already, the staff, and most of all, was far more comfortable speaking English. That comfort level has only grown with an additional offseason spent in the city, and Podkolzin credits his wife for making it easy on him to keep up with his offseason training.
“My daughter was born here, so it’s a special city for us right now. It’s been good, my wife does a great job. I’m just trying to see my daughter as often as possible because she’s growing up so fast. Other things are different, like it’s a different schedule for us right now. We’re going to bed at 10 PM and waking up at 6 AM,” Podkolzin said with a laugh. “We’ve started to do more walking and it’s been good.”
Podkolzin also said he was very happy to see his friend and movie theatre companion Quinn Hughes named as the Canucks’ captain.
“That’s great news for us. I’m just happy for him and his family. I know Quinn wants to win every game, he wants to help and he did a great job the last couple of seasons here. He’ll be a great leader for us and I’m just so happy for him.”
On the ice, Podkolzin is feeling ready heading into this season and is well-prepared to prove to the coaching staff that he belongs.
“All I can do right now is prove myself and prove to the coaches that I can help this team. I’m trying to think positive and especially in my last year on a junior contract [ELC], it’s going to be a big step and I hope it’s going to be a big season for me. I’ve prepared all summer and have been thinking about it all summer. There’s no pressure, it’s just time to play hockey.”
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