The final group to skate Friday was the first group on the ice Saturday; Alex Burrows skated with Nick Bonino and Zack Kassian, while Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce, Mike Zalewski, Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson were other notables on the ice.
New day, new drills. The Canucks worked on neutral zone forecheck, their transition game, three line shooting, five man breakout, two-on-one, three-on-one, three-on-two and more and the tempo didn’t drop at all from Friday.
“They’re high tempo,” said Burrows. “I think the first 20-25 minutes you’re dogging it a little bit and looking for your second wind, but the pace was good, he’s positive, he wants guys to have fun so it’s been good.”
Whether it’s Vancouver’s new regime or the start of a fresh season, there’s a calm vibe at camp, one free of controversy, which is a far cry from what’s gone on the past few seasons.
Eddie Lack addressed the goaltending situation that currently has the Canucks considering carrying three goalies into the season. It’s an unorthodox situation and it raises a lot of questions about playing time, but Lack isn’t looking past what’s in front of him.
“To be honest, I’m not really thinking about it too much, I’m just taking it day-by-day here and focusing on my part,” said Lack. “I had great talks with Jim and Trevor and I feel very comfortable with where I am right now.”
Lack said he’s genuinely happy the Canucks signed Ryan Miller this off-season and that he’s “going to try to learn as much as possible from him.”
Goalie controversies in Vancouver are a thing of the past.
“To be successful in this league you need two good goalies,” said Alex Burrows. “We’re all on the team and we all need to contribute to have success and I think in the past we’ve had that and I don’t see it differently this year. Internally we have no problems, everybody gets along and if it’s Eddie in net, if it’s Ryan in net, they want to win for the Canucks logo and to help the guys out.”
Burrows, Bonino and Kassian skated together again Saturday and all three are hoping to enter the pre-season on a line.
“No line is set in stone, but if you’re going to try things it’s better to do it from the beginning,” said Kassian, who was very complimentary about Bonino. “He’s a smart player and he distributes the puck really well.”
“I really like so far what we’ve seen from Nick,” added Burrows. “He moves the puck well, has good vision, works hard and he’s a smart player out there. It’s only been a few drills, but you can see that he’s a smart player and he’s going to make moves out there.”
Bonino is equally as pleased with his new potential linemates and said each of the players offers something different.
“They’re both great players, Kass hasn’t had as long of a career as Alex, but he’s a tough player, strong on the puck and Burr can score, he’s done it his whole career,” said Bonino. “If I can get the puck to Kass, he should be able to find Burr and we’ll hopefully connect for a few goals.”
The best moment of the morning was a puck battle between Bieksa and Hamhuis that resulted in Bieksa going into the boards hard, it drew oohs and aahs from fans and left Bieksa with a big grin on his face; Assistant coach Doug Lidster is sporting a Canucks branded baseball batters hat that has earned him the nickname John Olerud.
The weather has more than cooperated thus far during our stay in Whistler.
The players have the afternoons off for the most part and Whistler was thoroughly conquered Friday. Most of the players hit the links, others explored the village, visited the spa and went hiking. Fin went zip lining and if he could talk, I’m sure he’d say it was amazing.
This Whistler place is a-ok.