Steve Pinizzotto hit the nail on the head during media availability at Rogers Arena Saturday afternoon.
“If you worry about the numbers game, you’ll drive yourself crazy.”
There are 62 players vying for spots with the Vancouver Canucks taking part in training camp this weekend and there certainly are not 62 spots available. Making a few assumptions on what Vancouver’s line-up will resemble, there’s as little as two to five forward positions open and even less on defence and even less in net.
No one is concerned with the numbers, however, it’s all about showing what you’ve got during three days of ice sessions before the pre-season kicks off next Tuesday.
Group A hit the ice at 9 a.m. this morning and featured D. Sedin – Hodgson - Oreskovich/Duco - Schroeder - Burrows/Sturm - Stefan Schneider - Jensen/ Pinizzotto - Begin - Hansen; D pairings were: Sauve - Bieksa/Sulzer - Salo/ Connauton - Rome/Eriksson - Hamhuis; and Roberto Luongo were Eddie Lack between the pipes.
It’s all good
Marco Sturm, who the Canucks signed to a one-year contract on July 1, was the veteran presence alongside youngsters Stefan Schneider and Nicklas Jensen, and although it’s just the first day on ice with his new squad, the 33-year-old likes what he sees.
“It was a good first day, good practice, good pace out there and it’s a good team,” said Sturm, who has been in Vancouver for three weeks and has been itching for camp to begin.
Sturm is taking things day-by-day following a rehab free summer. It’s been some tough years for the native of Germany, but the past is behind him and he’s now trying to get himself back to the 20-plus goal scorer he was a few short years ago.
“I just want to be the player I was before my injuries and that’s going to be my goal,” he said, adding that he can play anywhere in Vancouver’s line-up.
“I think that’s one of the reasons they got me, I can play on any line and also left or right wing, it doesn’t really matter. I want to be in the top six, but I’m here to help the team out to get better and I’ll try to do my best.”
Jordan Schroeder not only centered a line with Mike Duco and Alex Burrows, he got tips from Burrows throughout the 120-minute ice session.
“I think we were doing a D-zone drill for certain situations and he was telling me what to do,” smiled Schroeder. “I look up to guys like him that take the time to go and talk to the younger guys and be role models for us.”
The plan for Schroeder coming into training camp was to put him with skill players who can score. Burrows fits the bill nicely and Schroeder was pleasantly surprised to be on his line on day one.
“You can see how hard he works and he’s got a great shot, so I’m definitely looking to give him the puck.”
Not only is the 20-year-old trying to make Burrows look good, he’s also trying to put his best foot forward early and often in hopes of leaving a lasting impression.
“It’s a big camp, there’s only a couple of days of practice and then pre-season games start, then things get rolling. I definitely have to work hard these practices.”
Cody Hodgson hasn’t always had the opportunity to show what he’s got since being drafted by the Canucks as back injuries have hampered his game. He’s been working hard to return to full health and even though it was only one practice, Hodgson had noticeable jump in his step.
“I feel really good, I feel lighter out there, I feel stronger, it’s a good feeling,” said Hodgson. “I feel comfortable and ready to go.”
Hodgson certainly didn’t look out of place centering Daniel Sedin and Victor Oreskovich; he set up Daniel for a nice goal during a 3-on-2 drill early in the session that brought on a cheer from fans in attendance.
“He’s a pretty incredible hockey player, just to be able to play with him in practices, that’s pretty special. When you watch the stuff he can do, it’s fun.”
One play doesn't make the player
If you think of Aaron Rome and the first thing that comes to mind is his hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, you’ve got the Canucks defenceman all wrong.
“It is what it is, it happened and if people think that I’m that type of player, I haven’t had that track record,” said Rome, still sporting a scruffy beard similar to his playoff look.
“Obviously I have to prove that it’s not my defining moment and that’s not the type of player I am, but I try to play the game hard and I have to be physical and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Rome was suspended for the final four games of the Cup Final, a record suspension with the Stanley Cup on the line. It was excruciatingly difficult for the reliable blueliner to sit in the press box for what would have been the biggest games of his career and time hasn’t helped ease the pain.
“I don’t think you really get over it, you just stop thinking about it after a while. It’s disappointing after the first few days after, you let it soak in and for me I was pretty disappointed earlier in the series, so it was tough.”
Rome credits teammates and the Canucks organization with giving him unconditional support that truly made a difference in his difficult time. He’s now looking ahead at the 2011-12 season and another majestic run.
“We have a lot of good guys in the room still this season and we have an opportunity to do things over again.”
More to follow from Canucks Training Camp...