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Canucks made new hires in goaltending and human performance departments

August 3, 2022, 3:35 PM ET [243 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Vancouver Canucks took care of more business on Tuesday, announcing the hiring of a new goaltending development coach and changes to their human performance staff.

The goaltending position was vacant after Abbotsford goaltending coach Curtis Sanford moved up to an NHL gig with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The new hire, Marko Torenius, officially gets the title of goaltending development coach and goaltending coach of the Abbotsford Canucks.

Forty-five years old, Torenius already has two decades of experience as a goaltending coach, in his native Finland and with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. At SKA, he worked with Igor Shesterkin for several years before the stopper made his highly successful jump to the NHL.

According to Patrick Johnston from The Province, Torenius has also worked with everyone from Tuukka Rask to Ville Husso over the years, as well as up-and-comers Yaroslav Askarov and Pyotr Kochetkov. Abbotsford GM Ryan Johnson gave Johnston a rave review of his new hire.

In the article, Johnson also explains that Torenius' title means that he'll work with the Abbotsford goalies when the team is at home. But when the club goes on the road, he'll be free to travel out to consult with the club's goalie prospects, including Ty Young in Prince George and fellow Finn Aku Koskenvuo, who will be at Harvard this fall.

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but Kevin Woodley of InGoal Magazine did a podcast interview with Torenius a few months back, if you want to learn more about him.

Also on the goalie front, Ryan Johnson told Johnston that if Mikey DiPietro is not traded this summer, he'll expect him to come in and compete for a job in Abbotsford this fall.

Later on Tuesday, the Canucks issued a second press release, outlining the latest changes to the club's human performance staff after athletic therapist Jon Sanderson, strength and conditioning coach Roger Takahashi and several other staff members were let go at the end of last season.

From the press release:

New additions to the Canucks' medical staff include Dr. Harry Sese (Health & Performance Consultant), Josh Termeer (Athletic Therapist), and Dr. Erik Yuill (Performance Therapist). The club has also retained Graeme Poole (Rehab Therapist), Rebecca White (Wellness Therapist), and Alex Hodgins (Mental Performance Consultant.

Patrick Johnston also has a story on these hires.

Dr. Sese is listed as a health and performance consultant, and is at the top of the list for both the medical division and the strength and conditioning division.

He is clinic director for a facility called Golfletica in the Seattle area. His bio states that he's originally from Nanaimo, and that he's a board certified chiropractic sports physician and registered massage therapist, as well as a taekwondo master instructor.

Dr. Erik Yuill is listed in the medical department as a performance therapist. His background is in swimming and he is also a sports chiropractor, who has worked in the past with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the NLL's Vancouver Warriors.

Josh Termeer, the new athletic therapist, comes from the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. And Mark Cesari, the new strength and conditioning coach, has more than a decade of experience working with hockey teams, including spending the last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Injuries are always such a big talking point with the Canucks and once again, the Canucks were among the most affected teams last season according to the 2021-22 chart from Man Games Lost.

According to the Man Games Lost metrics, a few teams like Colorado and L.A. suffered bigger impacts from their injury losses, due to the roles of the players who were sidelined, but still managed to get to the postseason — and to win, in Colorado's case.

But only three teams lost more actual games to injuries — Philadelphia, Arizona, and Montreal. And all three of those clubs were light-years away from a playoff spot.

It'll be interesting to see if new medical and strength-and-conditioning teams can help keep the Canucks healthy and robust throughout the year.

Finally, if you missed it, Woodley also put together the Canucks' Team Reset for NHL.com:

Two items jumped out at me in this analysis:

• Woodley says that, after struggling last season, Jason Dickinson "could compete with (Dakota) Joshua to be in the opening lineup." And he doubles down on that, penciling in Joshua for the fourth-line right-wing spot and leaving Dickinson off the roster.

• Woodley says that Collin Delia will be expected to compete with Spencer Martin for the backup job behind Thatcher Demko. That's also an interesting wrinkle to me from a writer who knows the goalie landscape inside out; I thought that backup position had already been bequeathed to Martin.

And yes, we can continue to wring our hands about a lack of improvement on the back end, but that top-nine looks formidable, the way Woodley has laid out the forward lines:

Mikheyev - Pettersson - Boeser
Pearson - Horvat - Garland
Kuzmenko - Miller - Podkolzin

Hoglander - Lazar - Joshua

We can certainly quibble with the combinations. And I don't love seeing Nils Hoglander on the fourth line. But the depth on the left side suddenly looks a lot different with Mikheyev and Kuzmenko in the mix.

Training camp is scheduled to be just a two-day affair this year, and on a weekend: Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday Sept. 24 at Whistler. Then, it's straight into game action with a pair of home-and-home split-squad games against Calgary on Sunday, Sept. 25.
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