Coach Alain Vigneault was at a loss for words yesterday when it came to giving his thoughts on how individual players were performing as Canucks training camp opened.
Sunday was a different story following two days of back-to-back two-hour practices. Coach V is finally getting comfortable with a lot of his new players and the prospects and veterans battling it out just to make the team.
Here’s what Vigneault had to say following practice.
On what he’s likes about Aaron Volpatti:
“Aaron had a real good rookie camp and to some extent he should have because he’s a little bit older than some of the other guys that were there, but I think he did continue to do what he was doing last year with Manitoba, which is being an intense, emotional player, a physical player that goes to the net hard and brings that physical dimension that’s needed to a team. He’s done that at rookie camp, he’s had two real good practices with us and he’s going to get an opportunity to play some games here with the big boys.”
On what Brendan Morrison has shown through two days of camp:
“Right now we’re just trying to put the players on the same page as far as different aspects of our system so Brendan is a smart player, I think we’re going to have a better evaluation of what he can do and what he could bring to our team once we start playing against other teams. Obviously right now he’s working extremely hard, he’s trying to help his teammates and we’ll see what he’ll do in the future here.”
On what he’s seen from Victor Oreskovich:
“So far, I’ll say Victor because I’m not sure I could pronounce that second name there, Victor has really showed that he’s got really good skating, he goes to the net really hard, real strong, big guy and I’m anxious to see what he’s going to look like against the other NHL teams.”
On his first impressions of Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard:
“First impression as people because I met them prior to camp, they’re two great individuals. Ballard seems to be very competitive by nature and Dan seems to be a little bit more quiet, but seems to speak his mind and is really excited about the opportunity here to play in BC. We’ll let them grow, we’ll let them get used to their new environment and we’re confident that we got two solid people here to help our hockey team win some games.”
On if he’s comfortable in what he’s seen from Manny Malhotra:
“Prior to this he was sort of running the player’s drills and I picked up a few drills while I was watching him, so I like that. Manny understands his role on this team and wants to be have a big impact as far as the presence and the leadership and that’s what we expect from him and we’re confident that’s what we’re going to get.”
On what the Canucks are getting from Raffi Torres:
“Energy, feisty player that can go to the net hard and competes. I’m not interested, and I told him the first day I met him, on what’s happened in the past, he’s got a clean slate right here, he’s got to come here, he’s got to have the work ethic that we’re looking for, the team attitude we’re looking for and so far that’s what I’ve seen and that’s all that matters to me.”
On if those two big bodies will make the Canucks a tougher team this season:
“Obviously those two guys add a dimension that we were looking to improve and we’ll have to wait and see how they do during exhibition. We’ve got some thoughts and ideas and some experiences that we’d like to try and we’ve got a scrimmage tomorrow internally and then we’ve got two games on the same day and we’re going to take it one day at a time, eight games in 11 nights.”
On what he’s seen in Sergei Shirokov:
“He’s a smart player and combined with the fact that I think he’s a smart player, I think he’s got a high willingness to prove that he can play at this level. It would have been very easy for him to go back to Russia, make a lot of money and stay there. To the contrary, he wants to play in the best league in the world so I give him a lot of credit for that. As far as his improvement from last year, that’s why we’ve got these eight games coming up here. He had a real good camp last year, I think he was a little inconsistent in Manitoba from what I understood, but this is a new season and he’s going to take these three days to get ready for the exhibition games and we expect a lot from him.”
On Jordan Schroeder after he struggled a bit in rookie camp:
“I was here for the first three days and what I saw was a young player that has got tons of ability, but obviously was a little nervous, it was his first pro camp so you’ve got to give those guys a little bit of time there to get used to their environment and that’s what we’re going to do. I liked what I’ve seen in the first two days of practice with the older players and he’ll get a chance to play here and we’ll see where he fits in.”