The Vancouver Canucks have now announced their schedule and roster for training camp.
It begins Thursday with media day at Rogers Arena before four days of on-ice workouts in Whistler, from Friday to Monday. Those sessions are free and open to the public.
After that, the team plays three straight preseason games at Rogers Arena from September 18-20.
First things first: the roster, which is made up of 33 forwards, 20 defensemen and six goalies. Click here
for the full list.
The way Vancouver goes through players, that might be enough to get 'em to opening night...
Perhaps the most exciting item is the uptick in Elias Pettersson's listed weight. Pettersson wouldn't give a number when asked what he weighed while he was in Penticton. He was listed at 161 pounds on the Young Stars roster, here
, but has now been bumped up to 172 pounds for main camp. That's not so bad.
Brayden Point made out all right at 5'10" and 166 pounds last year, picking up 32 goals and 66 points while playing centre. His 1,174 faceoffs were also tops on the Lightning last season and he did OK, considering, winning 47.4 percent of his draws.
According to a piece from James Mirtle of The Athletic
, from last January, five other players played at even lower weights than Point last season: wingers Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, Tyler Ennis and Paul Byron and defenseman Samuel Girard.
“I think those (questions) would be already answered after last season,” Pettersson told reporters including Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet
in Penticton, rightfully suggesting that his MVP year in Sweden should have erased any concerns. “I’ve always been smaller growing up. I’ve always been the lightest on the team. I’m used to being the smaller guy, not having strength and the weight on my side. But I’m learning.
“I play with a lot of speed and I try to be fast. Say if I would go up 10 pounds, just put on 10 pounds of muscle, that wouldn’t be that much of a success for me, I think. It’s going to take more time for me than other guys to put on some weight and muscle, but I’m aware of that and working hard to become bigger and stronger.”
Travis Green will be looking more closely at Pettersson's playing style than his physique during camp:
Pettersson did show in Penticton that he has some defensive awareness. The question now is whether he'll be able to meet Green's standards.
The veterans are all now in town, and everybody's out at Northview today, at the Jake Milford Charity Invitational Golf Tournament.
If you missed it, Emily Kaplan of ESPN posted an excellent feature story on Brock Boeser earlier this week:
Though he's a Minnesota boy through and through, Boeser told Kaplan that he has fallen in love with Vancouver. "The fans are awesome, it's beautiful, everyone is really active ... and the sushi, the sushi is so good. They have it for us after games, and I only need a few pieces because I'm satisfied and move on."
I guess that explains why Boeser's first Instagram story after his return to Vancouver a couple of days ago was a shot of a sushi spread at the Aquilini-owned Blue Water Cafe, where he was out to dinner with Jake Virtanen, Ben Hutton and Markus Granlund.
Kaplan's story also includes the most detailed blow-by-blow I've seen of Boeser's scary back injury from last March.
"I wasn't going for a big hit," he told her. "I just wanted to get in his way. But he saw me coming and hit me back."
Immediately after the collision, he couldn't feel his left leg.
"I kind of had a panic attack in my stomach," he says. "So I flipped myself over."
Once he was helped to the training table, he remembers "10 guys around me, all trying to cut my stuff off, but I was in so much pain, the most pain in my entire life."
Still, he initially refused pain medication. "Then the ambulance hit a bump -- maybe a small pothole -- and the impact reverberated through Boeser's entire body, to the point where he blurted: 'I'll take them.'"
After a summer of rehab, mostly in Minnesota, he was cleared to play just a week before Da Beauty League action began.
"If you had slapped my back, it still would have been sore," Boeser says. "I was just so pumped to be out there. I was probably the fastest one on the ice, just so excited to play."
Boeser wrapped up his non-contact summer hockey season with 33 points in eight games, winning the John Scott Cup with Team Bic and being name league MVP.
Boeser's entry-level contract will expire at the end of this season and he'll be in line for a big raise—probably including a good-sized signing bonus. He's already planning to direct some of that money toward his family, hoping he'll be able to set up his mom to quit work next year.
With his golden-boy looks and his world-class shot, Boeser seems like he could have been the kid who always had it easy but as we know, he has endured plenty of hardship to get to where he is today. It has strengthened his character, so those two healthy scratches at the beginning of last season were no big deal for him.
"It didn't faze or rattle me at all," he said. "I knew once I had my chance, I'd make the most of it."
And so he did. With the Sedins gone, it'll be even more important for him to continue that positive progression this season.