Canucks’ prime picks Podkolzin, Klimovich impresses in Russian and English

Notebook: Two of your most recent draft picks stood out both on and off the ice on Day 2 of the Vancouver Canucks training camp in Abbotsford on Friday.

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Not that there is any doubt, but Vancouver Canucks rookie winger Vasily Podkolzin looks the part.


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On ice, he plays with the confidence expected of him.

And off the ice, it’s the same story. On Friday, the Canucks’ top prospect reiterated that he is doing well understanding what everyone is saying in English, but with the media he remains cautious and sticks with a translator for now.

The locker room is always a place for jokes, and the spirit in the Canucks’ team rooms is the same as he was used to in Russia.

“I understand the jokes, but sometimes the guys talk too fast,” she said, as translated by Sasha Makarevsky, the Vancouver-based family friend who has been hired by the team to be their translator.

The first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft has been skating primarily with Conor Garland and JT Miller.


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“I really enjoyed playing with them. I really liked them and I have a lot to learn from them, ”he said of his line mates during the first two days of training camp.

Miller, in particular, has taken the time to talk to Podkolzin about what’s going on and what to look for.

“I really appreciate your advice, it helps a lot. They really helped me adjust, ”he said.

Podkozlin’s group lost 3-0 in a fight on Friday. He was depressed in his performance.

“I’m not happy with today, but we will get better as the camp progresses,” he said.

Newbie Vasily Podkolzin says he really enjoyed the seafood experience at Vancouver restaurants.
Newbie Vasily Podkolzin says he really enjoyed the seafood experience at Vancouver restaurants. Photo by Jason Payne. /PNG

In his short time in Vancouver, he and his wife Sasha Kotyatkina have enjoyed meals at the Blue Water Cafe and the Hotel Vancouver.

“I miss my homemade food, but I really enjoy the seafood that I can enjoy in Vancouver,” he added.


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Canucks head coach Travis Green was pleased with the progress of his young role.

“I liked what he did yesterday, glimpses of what you like in the (Friday game), but I’m always a little wary of saying something negative, because people tend to take things the wrong way, but like everything Young player, it’s happening to be things that he needs to work on and those are things that we have to talk to him about, but I thought he looked yesterday and today he looks good, ”Green said.

Call it Klim

The Canucks’ other Russian speaker, Belarusian winger Danila Klimovich, is also beginning to understand English. Like Podkolzin, he rarely paused to begin answering questions in English in Russian.

His agent has suggested that he would like to be known as Danny, but offered an even simpler nickname when asked the question.


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“Call me Klim,” he said with the help of Makarevsky. A simple nickname, but an impressive pair of players that he later cited as inspiration for his style of play: Nikita Kucherov and Alex Ovechkin.

“Yes, yes, I try,” he said in English about how his understanding of English is progressing.

Danila Klimovich's fast hands and offensive instincts have stood out so far at Canucks training ground.
Danila Klimovich’s fast hands and offensive instincts have stood out so far at Canucks training ground. Photo by Jason Payne. /PNG files

On the ice, the Canucks’ top pick in this summer’s draft (41st overall) said the language was proving a bit more difficult.

“I have to rely more on the images and it is helping me so far,” he said.

Language barriers or not, his quick hands and offensive instincts have stood out.

“I love all the battles, I love the speed, I really enjoyed the little ice,” he said of how close to the NHL is turning out for him.

And his efforts even garnered praise from Green, who is generally sparing on individual praise.


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The coach highlighted Klimovich, when asked who had stood out for him.

“Big boy, skate well,” he said. “I don’t want to go into names too deep, I know how you can get it, but it was probably four or five guys today that I thought played well.”



Vancouver Canucks vs. Seattle Kraken

6 pm, Spokane Veterans Memorial Stadium. Radio: 650 AM

Not yet Hamonic or Sutter

Travis Hamonic remained absent and Green said there was no update on the defender’s status.

Neither the Canucks nor the Hamonic agent are commenting, but it is clear that Hamonic’s absence is related to the NHL’s COVID-19 vaccination protocols.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said earlier this week that the team would be fully vaccinated 100% at the start of the season, which is still the team’s position.


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So if a player remains unvaccinated by the time the season begins on October 13, it will be interesting to see how the club handles it.

Brandon Sutter remains out with fatigue and Green said there was nothing new in his situation either.

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