Canucks rookie Podkolzin’s progress is nice in any language

“We’ve thrown a lot at him since day one,” says head coach Travis Green. ‘I am very impressed with his attention to detail and with the desire to learn and apply him not only to games, but to practice’

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Vasily Podkolzin’s understanding of the English language apparently matches the rookie’s obvious desire to become a well-rounded and effective player in the National Hockey League.


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We are not totally sure that the winger will overcome the language barrier because that information comes from the Vancouver Canucks room and the coaching staff. Requesting a Russian interpreter so Podkolzin can discuss his progress, both on and off the ice, ranks high on the wish list for media interviews.

Meanwhile, there is also a hockey language that Podkolzin can understand.

The worn slang expressions would speak to his emerging game and a strong, accurate shot that is becoming the talk of the town. His three goals have been a highlight, which is why we present this fitting response from Podkolzin to his impressive start:

“I’ve been working on my slapshot in practice. I am very happy with my twig (stick) flex because the cookie (puck) goes on the net. I get good salsa (passes) and top cheddar goals (under the bar) give me good cellys (celebrations).


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“The guys are fun and Brock told me he likes my salad (my hair). Bo told me that I won’t be riding the pine (on the bench) and he likes my bucket (helmet). “

There is so much to talk about with Podkolzin that it is difficult to curb the enthusiasm. Whether it’s the language barrier or learning new systems in a new game and a new country, the 20-year-old Moscow native has taken up the challenge of slowly gaining the trust of the coaching staff.

On Sunday, Podkolzin posted a season-high 14:29 and had three shots and five attempts. But his ability to cap off a two-on-one break with Conor Garland after a fumble with another sizzling shot remains in the memory bank.

The 10th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft had just 12 shots on measured ice time in his first 10 games that he was so low at 6:22 per game, but his 25 percent shooting accuracy speaks of being a bumper position option. on the second power play unit.


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“I really liked the progression in his game,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We were hoping it would take a bit of time because he’s a faster game, but he’s a strong skater and a top speed guy. He has adapted well to the quick part of getting places and part of it is moving his feet faster.

But it is also his mind. We have thrown a lot of things at him since day one. During the game, I probably approach him after three, four or five turns with little things we see to make sure he gets them.

“We’ve tried not to overload him as well, but I’m very impressed with his attention to detail and his desire to learn and apply not just to games, but to practice.”

Rookie Vasily Podkolzin is greeted after scoring his first career NHL goal on Oct. 15 in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
Rookie Vasily Podkolzin is greeted after scoring his first career NHL goal on Oct. 15 in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu /Getty Images Archives

The Canucks have had a mixed history in the NHL draft with the Russians.


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Aside from dynamic winger Pavel Bure, a sixth-round pick in 1989 who had consecutive 60-goal seasons here before being traded, and helpful center of depth Artem Chubarov (second round, 1998), who recorded 228 games and had 25 goals. in five seasons: the results have not been very good.

Defender Nikita Tryamkin was a 2014 third-round pick. He made 79 games in two seasons and struggled with his time on ice, leading to an unfriendly split with the franchise and Russia’s KHL. Winger Sergei Shirokov was a 2006 sixth-round pick who played just eight NHL games and scored one goal before returning to the KHL.

And in 2001, the Canucks took a risk in the third round on mercurial winger Fedor Fedorov, who re-entered the draft after not being signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. His stay here amounted to 15 games and two assists.


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Which brings us back to Podkolzin and the hype.

“I know that throughout the years here in Vancouver, there is always a lot of enthusiasm for all of our young people and we like them. a lot, ”Green said. “But we have to make sure we get them on the right track. Sometimes just because a guy isn’t playing that much, there’s usually a reason for it. But with progression, Pods is getting better.

“One example was a controlled breakout where he pivoted and turned his back when he didn’t have to. We want him to build speed there and he’s used to pivoting and swinging out. You have to say 10 times to some guys, but that’s the best of it.


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“He takes it seriously. He listens and wants to improve. “

Now it’s your turn, Horvat. What do you see and hear from Podkolzin?

“He probably has one of the hardest shots on our team,” the Canucks captain said. “His shot on the wrist is elite and NHL caliber, and it seems like every goal he’s scored is top-notch and he’s buried it. It’s promising to see from a young guy. “

And the room?

“He’s fitting in really well,” Horvat added. “Obviously it’s quiet and everyone is in their first year, but he’s starting to open up a bit and his English is pretty good, which is amazing. We try to make it part of the conversation. “

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