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First time for everything

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Frankie Corrado had one of his most challenging days as an NHLer Monday.

Never before has he lived on his own, so never before was he forced to tackle doing laundry.

Detergents? Fabric softeners? Warm wash? Tumble dry? Delicates?

“I called my mom for a step-by-step procedure,” laughed the 20-year-old, following Canucks practice Tuesday.

“She was trying to tell me what to do and I was thinking that when the time came, I’d figure it out, so I didn’t really listen. Then there I was calling her back, sending her a picture of the thing to know where the detergent goes and stuff.”

Corrado didn’t burn down his apartment, thankfully, he successfully did a load of darks and load of lights and even had the poise to hang his stretchy athletic wear to dry.

“Everything is fresh and everything fits,” he smiled, with pride.

Corrado is on his own these days because his fresh style of play fits in with the Canucks perfectly.

For the second consecutive day Corrado practiced alongside Andrew Alberts and unless something changes before puck drop Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Canucks and San Jose Sharks, he’ll be patrolling the blueline in his first career playoff game – in just his fourth NHL game.

Did I mention eight days ago Corrado was with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and two weeks ago he was a member of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers?

Laundry is just one of many new things he’s been exposed to in a very short time span.

“It’s been crazy,” said Corrado, taking a deep breath. “Two weeks ago I was living with billets playing junior hockey in the playoffs for a team that was trying to make some noise. It’s been wild; I went from a playoff run to trying to make the playoffs in Chicago, to another playoff run here. The intensity has been at full meter and I wouldn’t really have it any other way.”

Corrado has taken a ‘speak when spoken to’ approach to merging into the Canucks dressing room and he said the preparation from the players has been mind-blowing to witness. The balance the players have between being serious and having fun, especially at the rink, also caught the Toronto, Ontario, product off guard; he didn’t think it was all work, all the time, but it’s a loose, light atmosphere, one that has made him feel like one of the guys.

“It’s very accepting and very welcoming. It helps that I’ve been to a few camps, but I couldn’t have asked for a better dressing room to walk into.”

Corrado’s attitude, work ethic, determination and on-ice play have been a welcomed addition, said defenceman Kevin Bieksa.

“He’s had a couple good games for us, he shows a lot of poise for a young guy, he makes the high percentage, safe play and hopefully he can continue that,” said Bieksa, adding that he hopes Corrado’s first playoff game goes smoother than his own.

“I played something like 57 minutes of ice time in quadruple overtime in my first game, so mine was a unique experience. I don’t think he wants that.”

Speaking on behalf of Corrado, I can confirm he does not want that, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the Canucks win.

Bieksa said one of the biggest things he’s noticed about Corrado is how well he’s adjusted to the limelight over the past week; Corrado is 2013’s Chris Tanev, except he’s a touch more physical.

That’s about as high a compliment as Corrado could get this early into his NHL career.

Hopefully the young gun continues to impress, but if he’s in need of guidance along the way, Bieksa has his back.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders right now so there’s not a lot that I have to say. I’m just keeping an eye on him here, he’s on the right track so sometimes you don’t want to talk to a guy and get him nervous if he’s already in a good mindset.

“I’m keeping an eye on him from a distance and if I feel there’s something that needs to be said to help him, I will.”

Come to think of it, he may need some help if he shows up for Wednesday’s game and his suit is as wrinkled as a raisin.

“Laundry is done, ironing is up next,” laughed Corrado. “I’m sure I’ll have to call for a breakdown.”

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