Photo Courtesy of My Twitter.

Day one of Canucks training camp has come and gone and though the off ice story is about Brock Boeser, the on ice story is that the team is actually playing hockey, well sort of. The team participated in three separate on ice sessions, taking to the ice at 9:00am, 11:30am and 1:30pm. The energy was high tempo and fast paced as the rumours about Travis Green having tough training camps did not disappoint.

I’m not sure how these training camp articles are going to go, similar to how my brain works I’d Imagine, which is that it’s likely going to bounce around quite a bit. I want to first cover my initial thoughts on each practice and then I will get into what the players said in the media scrum.

The first group consisted of some notable names like Elias Pettersson, Tyler Myers, Sven Baertschi, Alex Edler, Jett, Woo, Alex Biega, Oscar Fantenberg, Tanner Pearson, Brandon Sutter, Zack MacEwen, Tyler Motte, Micheal Ferland and Jacob Markstrom. There wasn’t an astonishing amount of competition throughout the early morning practice but there were some new Canucks on the ice and some other players who looked to have improved their game in the offseason.

As per usual, Tyler Motte was a standout for myself. He was all over the ice and was able to tuck a few goals in tight which was something he wasn’t exactly an expert at last season. I like Motte on the team’s fourth line because he can be a valuable asset killing penalties and sparking the team with his energetic play. This type of player on a line will keep the team buzzing no matter which line is out there.

Another one of the players that stood out in the first practice was Tanner Pearson. He was able to score in tight consistently and although he looked a bit tired at times, he was smooth handling passes and being in control of his stick in tight.

Elias Pettersson is a star and I don’t need to tell you that. He looked fine in practice today as he was a bar down machine early and then dominated in the bag skate near the end of practice gliding by teammates in the conditioning work. I also was able to speak with Pettersson after practice, which I will get to that later in this article.

Overall the first practice was fine, nothing that stood out either way. Travis gave them some conditioning at the end of practice and Tanner Pearson let out a scream of joy that could be heard at the top of Bear Mountain when the coach called an end to the bag skate.

Speaking of the bag skate, Elias Pettersson is in amazing shape. He was gliding through Travis Green’s finale to each practice, making it look easy. He was miles ahead of everyone in the skate and will for sure be ready to go to start the season. Perhaps more hockey players should get on the badminton court during their summers.

The one negative thing that caught my eye was Sven Baertschi. Early on in the practice he took a tumble on his right side and seemed to be skating rather gingerly for the remainder of practice. He looked a bit uneasy putting a ton of weight on it during the final conditioning phase.

Turns out the fall just caught him off guard a bit and he was totally fine when speaking with the media after the practice.

Group number 2 took to the ice around 11:30. The group consisted of some very intriguing lines that were formed by coach Travis Green.

Hughes and Tanev together as a pairing was pretty interesting. The talk of that pairing really died off with the addition of Tyler Myers but the pair looked good together.

Honestly I got caught in between some of the media availability the second practice and didn’t see as much as I did with the first one. I’m sure this will be somewhat of a trend as the weekend continues but I’ll do my best.

The third practice group took to the ice at 1:30pm, they consisted of mostly Utica players but with one standout name that didn’t fit with the rest.

The third group consisted of players trying to make a name for themselves on the organizational depth chart but are likely headed for Utica. Trent Cull was running practice with his Utica staff and Nolan Baumgartner stayed around to join the group and assist with drills.

The most interesting story with the third group was Jake Virtanen. Jake was sent to this group for not being in great physical condition and he was not excited about it. In the first half of the practice Jake was clearly showing frustration as he caught Zachary Frye with an elbow driving to the net and he followed that up with giving Frye two cross checks when he was screening the goalie. The second cross check sent Frye sliding away from the crease like a curling rock.

Virtanen mentioned in the post practice scrum that he had almost reached the goals that himself and Travis Green has set out for him for the off season.

“It’s not like I was far off from that.”
-Jake Virtanen

He later talked about how being in this group was frustrating, that he understands that goals were not reached and he accepts the position where he is in now. Later on he talked about focusing on the positives and that he has a goal for this season of scoring 20 goals.

When asked about if he would be with a different group tomorrow he answered with a smile, saying that Travis Green didn’t tell the media, so he won’t either.

Scrum Lurking

So it was my first time being involved in a scrum with NHL players but I was able to have a great one on one with Nikolay Goldobin for a handful of minutes which I’ll share later in the season.

I’ll just quickly go over some of the questions and answers that I received from those players

I’ll just use CF for the questions I asked.

Elias Pettersson

CF: Last year you had a lot of success at the beginning of the year with Nikolay Goldobin, I want to know what you like about the way Goldy plays the game?

Pettersson: Well, he’s a skillful player, creates a lot of chances, I think we see the game very similar, so it’s easy to play with him he’s very skillful.

CF: It’s going to be the first time you get to wear the black flying skate jersey, it’s a fan favourite around the league. What do you think about it?

Pettersson: Ya, it’s my favourite jersey as well. I’m very excited for that and can’t wait to play in it.

Pettersson would also be asked later about signing a baby and if it was the first time he’s done that. He said no, so that’s good to know that Pettersson is out there signing multiple babies.

Chris Tanev

CF: You got to skate with Quinn Hughes today, what were your first impressions playing with?

Tanev: Everyone knows how good of a skater Quinn is and how he moves. He’s mobile, he’s great with the puck. It was awesome to get out there with him.

CF: What part of your game do you think would match nicely with Quinn’s if you were to be a pairing in the future?

Tanev: We can both move well and can move the puck. Obviously he can get up the ice and he is very crafty and offensive. I think we will read well off of each other. If we do end up playing together I think we will be a good pairing.

Troy Stecher

CF: You just talked about working on your shot in the off season and I am curious because some people would have liked to see you be used in powerplay situations in the past and I wanted to ask you when you see yourself as a defenseman in the NHL do you see yourself thriving more in a powerplay situations or a penalty kill role?

Stecher: Well, I’ve played powerplay and penalty kill all three of my years here. At different times and in the long run on an individual basis, I think it prepares me for any circumstance that is thrown my way.

CF: So fair to say you consider yourself more of a two-way defenseman?

Stecher: Well it’s weird, coaching staff and players have a different relationship than player to player and you don’t want to be in your coaches ear all the time and be a suck-up. Anytime the coach has confidence in you to be used in any situation possible, you kind of accept that and it adds some confidence to yourself.

Quinn Hughes

CF: The past couple of years the Canucks have had a Calder trophy finalist. It’s almost like you’re following in some footsteps here and may have a battle for the trophy yourself. Is that a goal of yours for the season?

Hughes: Ya it’s obviously a goal for the season but there are a lot of great players out there and for me I’m just going to try my best and wherever I land is where it’ll go. It’s a great league and a lot of tough players out there. I’m just going to try and take it game by game.

CF: Maybe try and at least beat your brother in the Calder voting?

Hughes: Like I said, there’s maybe 80… or actually less than that but there are a lot of rookies in the league, not just me and my brother. He’s doing his thing, I’m doing my thing and I’m trying not to worry about him.


So there it is, day one of training camp in the books. Jake seemed to steal the show at the end of the day but it will be a fresh start tomorrow and we will see if Virtanen earned a different practice group. Follow along with me on Twitter if you want an abundance of clips, quotes and opinions about day two of training camp @ChrisFaber39 !