Canucks Training Camp Day 1: Boudreau Speaks

News and notes from the first day of the Vancouver Canucks training camp.

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Whistler — Although they didn’t score in the scrimmage, Elias Peterson’s line centered around new Russian wingers Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheev was in scrimmage at noon on the first day of the Vancouver Canucks’ training camp. It was very effective.

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Mikheyev’s speed is evident, and Kuzmenko’s clever play in close quarters will likely create more space for Petersson to do his job.

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“He’s very smart, so we want to take advantage of our speed,” Mikheev said of skating with Peterson.

“We helped each other and started working today. It’s great,” he said of learning the new team’s system of play.

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Will he and Kuzmenko let Pettersson learn Russian?

“Perhaps,” he said with a broad smile. “I’ll try, but maybe I need Swedish.”

Russian players Andrei Kuzmenko (left) and Ilya Mikheev (right) (Photo: Patrick Johnston)
Russian players Andrei Kuzmenko (left) and Ilya Mikheev (right) (Photo: Patrick Johnston)

Kuzmenko has done well for her first media session in English. He sometimes spoke with Mikheev, who acted as an interpreter.

If they prove to be a trio when the season starts, he thinks they’ll gel quickly.

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“Me and Ilya are very smart players. And Peterson is a very good attacking forward.”

NHL games may be a little faster than what he’s used to in the KHL, but Kuzmenko said he’s not worried.

“I think hockey is a very simple game,” he said. “Adapting with me is every day. Every game is getting better, better, better, better.”

He also said he was excited to play on the small NHL ice surface. On the big ice of the KHL, Puck He wins battles but doesn’t open up scoring opportunities right away.

“I like the smaller one because if I win one-on-one in the corner, I can shoot,” he said.

On the ice at the Canucks training camp in Whistler on Thursday.  (Photo: Patrick Johnston)
On the ice at the Canucks training camp in Whistler on Thursday. (Photo: Patrick Johnston)

Mikheev is also Kuzmenko’s new teammate. Mikheev said he remembers skating a few shifts with Kuzmenko on the Russian national team a few years ago.

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“I don’t remember,” Kuzmenko said, laughing as a counter.

Pettersson said he enjoyed skating with Russians and said he knew some of the language because one of his best friends in his hometown of Sweden was Russian.

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“Only bad words,” he joked.

He believed they had great potential as a line.

“Mikheyev Superfast. He’s opening space for us and Kuzmenko. Maybe we have similar ways of playing,” Peterson said.

Maybe the perfect combination of talents? “That’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’ve talked to coaches and they say they want to try it. And I’m ready to take it,” he added.

Petterson was caught defensively at scrimmage and Vincent Arsenault opened the scoring for the opposing team.

“Defense, you can learn. I think offense, it just happens. I don’t think we could, but it’s such a small detail that you can learn and I’m not too concerned about that.

In scrimmage, Cole Shepard also scored in Group C and added an empty net to beat Petterson’s Group B 3–0.

Rookie Canucks winger Andrei Kuzmenko has a big smile on the bench on the first day of the Canucks' training camp in Whistler on Thursday.
Rookie Canucks winger Andrei Kuzmenko has a big smile on the bench on the first day of the Canucks’ training camp in Whistler on Thursday. Photo by Darryl Dyke /canadian press

learn the place

Kuzmenko said he loves Vancouver so far. He’s a big fan of the outdoors. And he lives in an Akirini-owned rental tower next to Rogers’ arena and has already attended many concerts.

“I like mountains, seas and forests.

He has also been to a Whitecaps game.

“Why not? The football stadium is only 100 meters away.”

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lively session

The first group on ice worked hard through a series of exercises.

New year, new wind.

And a new coach famous for his colorful feedback on ice.

After ten years in his professional career, Tanner Pearson says the start of a new season remains exciting.

“You always have butterflies, right? The start of a new season. Look, I woke up at 6 this morning. And you get down here, they’re all kind of the same,” he said.

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Brock Voser at the Canucks' training camp in Whistler on Thursday.  (Photo: Patrick Johnston)
Brock Voser at the Canucks’ training camp in Whistler on Thursday. (Photo: Patrick Johnston)

Boser wants 30

Brock Voser said this year will be a fresh start mentally. Last year was really a year of water. His father’s deteriorating health weighed heavily on him, and the burden his father’s declining health placed on his mother was doubly difficult.

“My father passed away, so I don’t have to worry so much, so I can focus on hockey,” he said.

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Yes, he knows 30 goals is the target.

“This is the year,” he said.

line watching

Bo Horvat was skating around Vasily Podkolzin and Connor Garland while Boeser was skating on the line with JT Miller and Tanner Pearson. Three lines with good scoring potential.

For now, at least, the apparently fourth row includes two other Summer signings: Dakota Joshua and Curtis Lazar joining Jason Dickinson.

Like the early man left behind, it left Nils Höglander. After groin surgery, the little Swede was looking his usual bubbly in the scrimmages, but the two of him are almost certainly destined for AHL Abbotsford in Nils Ohmann and Linus Carlsson. I was skating with a Swede.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


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