It's been 159 days since the Vancouver Canucks ended the 2018-19 season. Enough is enough, it's time to get to work.
Video: Coach Green sets the bar at #Canucks Training Camp
Training Camp officially kicked off Friday at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, BC, with Group A hitting the ice at 9 am sharp. The practice was comprised of two 50-minute skates, with video sessions after each one, but the icing on the cake Day 1 was a traditional Travis Green "bag skate" to end practice.
Same schedule for Groups B and C followed, leaving one thing for certain: there will be a lot of exhausted Canucks recovering tonight.
"Fourth training camp, fourth time puking," laughed Troy Stecher. "It never gets any easier."
Newcomer Micheal Ferland agrees.
Video: CAMP | Ferland on Day One Ice Session
"That was a tough one, but I had a good summer, so that helped," said the 27-year-old. "Once I signed here, I heard how hard training camp was going to be. Starting with that five-mile bike test, then that first skate was a good one, then finishing it off with five 40s at the end, it was definitely one of the toughest skates I've had."
Ferland skated alongside Elias Pettersson on Friday on what could be two-thirds of a line for the Canucks. Physicality is the name of the game for Ferland, who said he is going to keep his game simple and be physical.
Nobody is happier to hear that than Pettersson.
"He's really strong on the puck, he can hit and knock over guys a lot, so he can win a lot of puck battles with his strong physicality," said Pettersson. "He's a great addition to our team and I'm excited to play with him."
Video: CAMP | Pettersson on Day One Ice Session
Another intriguing pairing on this day was Tyler Myers and Alex Edler on defence. It was déjà vu for both as the pair played together during the 2005-06 season as members of the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. Edler, then 19, played 62 games that season picking up 13 goals and 53 points, while Myers, then 15, was a fresh faced underager appearing in nine games that season. He played another 124 games for the Rockets over the following two seasons (registering eight goals and 34 points), but he never forgot how Edler welcomed him to the team.
"He made it a lot easier on a young kid like me," said Myers. "That was 12 or 13 years ago, it's weird to say that, but it was pretty cool. I've always been a fan of his game, he's got an incredibly high hockey sense and if we end up starting the season together, that'd be pretty cool."
Asked what he remembers about Myers, Edler replied: "He was such a tall, skinny kid."
"I still am!" laughed Myers, who has been a fan of Edler since their junior days. "Very smooth, very smart hockey player, I don't think he gets a lot of credit for the little plays that he makes out there, but he hasn't changed much as a player. He's obviously grown and developed, just like any other, but very similar to what I remember in Kelowna."
Nothing to see here, just an early nominee for Dad of the Year!
Coach Travis Green spoke following the second on-ice session, saying he was as impressed with what he'd seen early on, but the focus of his media availability was the fact that forward Jake Virtanen was not part of Groups A or B, instead skating in Group C made up predominantly of Utica Comets. Green said the exact reasoning for that will remain between him and Virtanen.
"Jake is a big part of our team and a big part of our future, so I don't want people to start reading into anything other than that he wasn't in the groups today," said Coach. "There are certain expectations that he wanted to reach and I wanted him to reach [over the summer] and we both agreed that if those goals weren't met, he probably wouldn't be with the first two groups on the first day of camp."
Video: CAMP | Coach Green on Day One Ice Session