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Main Camp - Day One

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks


Willie Mitchell called the bus ride up to Vernon Thursday afternoon a fun time to sit down and "shoot the breeze" with his new teammates.

The time getting to know one another, Mitchell said, was critically to developing that all-important team chemistry.

Hopefully they squeezed plenty of bonding in the six-hour trip because camp will be a short sprint with just four days of on-ice sessions before pre-season begins.

"We don't have a lot of practice time to get ready," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "We have 20 days and we play eight games in 11 nights. Right now it's important that we use this practice time well so the players understand the pace we want on the ice, and understand the work ethic we want on the ice. We started that today."

All 50 players reported - including recently inked Ryan Kesler - for on-ice workouts.

They got their first taste of what life will be like under new head coach Vigneault and assistants Rick Bowness, Mike Kelly, and Barry Smith.

"What we're trying to establish as a group is our work ethics," Vigneault said, "and we're trying to get on the same page as far as our systems."

That won't be quite as easy with 14 Canucks from last season now skating with new teams, and Smith being the only holdover from the coaching crew.

It means training camp is a feeling-out process on both sides.

"It felt fine," said Vigneault. "From a personal standpoint it's a been a few years in between for me getting back to the NHL and being in charge. But it felt good to be back working with some highly skilled athletes."

"Every training camp is hard and I'm sure it's going to be no different this year," said Mattias Ohlund. "I guess the big difference is the new coaching staff and the new faces. It's a chance for all of us."


Nonis on Kesler

The first day of camp was nearly overshadowed by Kesler's arrival. General Manager Dave Nonis re-inked the rangy centre after he signed an offer sheet with the Flyers earlier this week.

Listen to the Dave Nonis interview

Hear Ryan Kesler on his new contract

Lukas Krajicek, the 23-year-old Czech native who came over in the Luongo deal, made his long-awaited debut in a Canuck jersey.

It was also his first meeting with the full compliment of Vancouver media.

Hear Krajicek talk about his first day on ice with his new team.

Roberto Luongo stood in for the first round of drills with Team A at 9 am.

Hear his thoughts on his first practice, the new team, and the NHL's new rules on allowing bigger stick curves.

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