Vancouver Canucks rookie camp kicked off with media availability on Friday morning. The media was there (through Zoom) to speak with Abbotsford Canucks GM Ryan Johnson and the four prospects that Canucks PR sent out. The real reason media was there was to hear Vasily Podkolzin speak for the first time since he was drafted in 2019.
Podkolzin was joined by translator Alexandra Makarevsky for his first media availability but you could tell that his English has been coming along. He answered a variety of questions about the city of Vancouver, his playoff success with SKA and even about his relationship with Nils Höglander.
Many of the questions were about his on-ice play and how he has been practicing with the Canucks out at UBC or most recently, this week at Rogers Arena. “On the ice, all of them are very high-skilled players,” said Podkolzin. “Off the ice, they’re very pleasant people, and there’s always something to talk with them about.”
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Earlier in the week, Podkolzin posted a picture to his Instagram of him alongside Danila Klimovich and Nils Höglander. Podkolzin and Höglander were drafted in the 2019 NHL draft and have been friends ever since. “We’re really good friends,” said Podkolzin. “We go out to dinners and try to speak English to each other.”
It felt like there was more to the answer as Podkolzin was laughing throughout his answer.
The duo of Höglander and Podkolzin will likely be a winger set that we see at some point this preseason. Both of the 20-year-olds are ferocious on the puck and Podkolzin has the size to back it up while Höglander has the offensive creativity and skill to create scoring chances.
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When asked about the city, Podkolzin said he has been here before and the only thing he has not seen is Stanley Park. This may worry some as the coyotes have taken over the park but Podkolzin’s hands are the size of a coyote’s body so he should be fine.
Later on, he was asked about how the transition has been for him and his wife. Podkolzin mentioned that he and his wife will be working with someone to develop their English. “Once the camp starts, my wife and I are going to hire a tutor and work on our English together,” said Podkolzin.
The best part of the whole conversation may have been when Podkolzin was asked about being nervous in Vancouver. This was one of the times where he didn’t require his translator.
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Throughout the media availability, Podkolzin snuck in some English answers and only required assistance on answering questions. From watching him react to the questions, it looked like he understood what was being asked and only needs a bit of help on a few things from the translator.
His transition to Vancouver has been smooth so far and we are now about to see him skate with the Canucks in an organized skate for the first time.
Rookie camp kicks off at 1:30 PM and we will have you covered from wall to wall with David Quadrelli and myself being in the arena and bringing content all weekend on rookie camp.
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Stay tuned to CanucksArmy all weekend, and follow along with our live notebook from camp here.