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Canucks Pettersson on Last Season; ‘It Was Like 2 Different Me’s Out There’

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They picked up where they left off; Canucks forward Elias Pettersson and top defenceman Quinn Hughes looked lively during the team’s 45-minute informal scrimmage on Tuesday in Burnaby, their first appearances of the preseason.

“I had really good summer training, I didn’t really go on vacation, I was just working out all summer trying to prepare as much as possible,” Pettersson said after the skate. “Scrimmage felt good, still a little jet-lagged, woke up around 4 am this morning, but felt good, felt a little rusty today with conditioning, but we’ll feel a lot better tomorrow.”

That was after landing in town Monday evening.

Hughes had less distance to travel but looked just as energetic. The lefty D-man, who may experiment with playing the right side this season, skipped the media chit-chat Tuesday as he’s off to Las Vegas to represent the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s national media day. National rights holders and media outlets interview stars from around the league in one location in what’s referred to as a ‘car wash’ style press day. Players go room to room to room, rotating through.

There was a much improved feeling to the proceedings for both young players on Tuesday because at this time last preseason neither of them were even here. Pettersson and Hughes were still waiting to sign new contracts, deals they eventually reached on the last day of September after training camp had passed.

That fact, combined with a previous injury and the club’s Covid situation led to a highly scrutinized slow start to last season for Pettersson in particular.

“I had a lot of time to go through my last season and learn from it,” ‘Petey’ said. “My start last season wasn’t the way I wanted to start and I’ve grown from that and learned, like why it happened and why I had the second half of the season like I did. It was like two different “me’s” out there. I was playing with a lot more confidence in the second half.”

“I’m somewhat happy that I went through it, because I know how I got out of it, if that makes sense.”

Excuses for the slow start were legitimate, but Pettersson says it was actually more internal based on expectations.

“I was just focused on the wrong things, what people wanted to see from me instead of just focusing on myself. I can already tell I feel a lot better this year,” Pettersson concluded.

Petey referred to having a hunger. He’ll continue to feed it with his Canucks teammates on Wednesday and Thursday in Burnaby in morning sessions that are open to the public. At some point next week the club will move to Rogers Arena for a day before training camp starts in Whistler on the 23rd.

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