When looking back at Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau’s version of a ‘bag skate’ on Tuesday, one can establish a fun little Vancouver fitness pecking order.
Let’s review the videotape shall we. It’s attached above. Scratch the number-6 horse ‘Boeser’, the number-24 horse ‘Dermott’, and the number-65 horse ‘Mikheyev’.
Just to clarify the regimen. Two trips back and forth to the far goal line. Three trips back and forth to the far blueline. Four trips back and forth to centre ice, and five trips back and forth to your own blueline.
Alrightee then, it would be easy to jump ahead to the 13-minute mark to see Andrei Kuzmenko (96) dive for the finish line prematurely, only to have him get up and finish one more rep’ to the blueline and back. But as the second most entertaining highlight, that’s worth saving for the end.
By the way, in terms of teammate comparisons, ‘Koozy’ could took a little grief from observers for ‘not being in as good of shape’, but that would be making an unfair assumption. He’d been skating with intensity throughout the practice and appears to be fully on-board with the conditioning. There’s no question, as Boudreau has pointed out, the intensity is feistier and faster in the NHL compared to the Russian KHL for sure, so an adjustment period is understandable.
The Russian synonym for upchuck, gack, pukey? Thought we were gonna have to look it up for a second or two, but we didn’t.
Meanwhile, some of the more impressive fitness skaters included Phil Di Giuseppe (34), quick out of the blocks in the first group in white.
Noticeable right after that is the cool, calm, and collected “let’s stick together” approach of the veterans Bo Horvat (53), Tanner Pearson (70), J.T. Miller (9) and Conor Garland (8).
Vasily Podkolzin (92) then sprints out in front of the other horses before some of his teammates screw things up. Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau had to stop the exercise at the 1:18 mark because too many guys went at once. He blows it dead and in his usual intense yet comical fashion, ‘Gabby’ shouts “I said three, then four, not three, then eight!” in relation to how many guys were supposed to go.
I’m actually laughing on there.
Why is that important? Because fewer guys at a time means a little more time to rest for the early groups. If eight guys banged out the rep’s, they would have been back around to the first group for the next set of sprints pretty darn quick. Too quick.
Upon the restart, Nils Höglander (21), who reportedly finished on top of the Canucks fitness testing, stays a little ahead of Elias Pettersson (40), and good to see big D-man Tucker Poolman (5) leading his small group in white.
At the 3-minute mark, it’s more of the same in terms of leaders on the ‘far blueline and back’ segment. ‘Gabby’ yells “keep pushing, keep pushing”.
Nils Åman (88), who’s had an impressive all-around preseason thus far, stretches things out a bit four-minutes in, and at this point, Kuzmenko is almost keeping up with Höglander. Åman really gets cranking in his next set.
By the way, you’ll notice goalie Thatcher Demko (35) going pretty hard about 6-1/2 minutes in. No fun with the big gear. Speaking of, Arturs Silovs (31) started really hard, but then can be seen suffering at the 8:40 mark on the far boards.
32-year-old Canucks pro try-out invitee Danny Dekeyser (4) starts to get heavy legs 7:40 in.
I’m not sure if Garland fell or just got a late jump, but he seems determined to catch up starting at the 10:00 mark.
“And down goes Koozy”, at the 11:45 mark. But he’s up!
It was getting painful to watch. If you’ve ever skated lines, you know. Regardless of your level of fitness, at some point your legs turn to blocks.
Overall, an impressive performance by a group of world class athletes.
Win: Nils Åman
Place: Phil Di Giuseppe
Show: Nils Höglander
Or maybe more apropos, your three stars. Props to Poolman as well.
That’s Koozy behind the net at 12:30, the aftermath stretch a minute later.