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No language barrier

Kulikov helping Chibisov through early stages of camp

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG - There is nothing like getting your new teammates on your side by scoring a big goal.

That's exactly what Andrei Chibisov did during a two-on-two drill at the end of the first session of Winnipeg Jets training camp on Sunday morning.

"He's huge (6'5", 227 pounds). He protects the puck well. He makes some good plays and he's got some good hands," said line mate Adam Lowry.

"I think you saw on some of the drills some of the stuff he was able to do. He scored a big goal at the end of practice for us so he got us a little less of a skate. That was nice to see."

Video: TRAINING CAMP | Adam Lowry

Chibisov who is from Prokopyevsk, Russia skated on a line with Blake Wheeler and Lowry. With all three players measuring at least 6'4" and weighing over 205 pounds it makes for an imposing presence on the ice.

"He's powerful enough that he can get up and down the ice and he lasted right through practice. A young player in terms of NHL or pro hockey experience over here but this is a fully developed player," said Paul Maurice.

The 26-year-old Russian doesn't know English so fellow countryman Dmitry Kulikov has been thrown into the mix as a translator during drill explanations. However, Kulikov feels that Chibisov understands more than people think he does.

"I think he's way more comfortable than the guys think of him," laughed Kulikov.

"I mean they're asking me for every little thing to translate and tell him. I think he understands more than they give him credit for."

Video: TRAINING CAMP | Dmitry Kulikov

Maurice agrees with Kuikov's assessment.

"By the time you are done the video and even if you don't have an awful lot of English, there is that common language clearly. He's played hockey his whole life," said Maurice.

"I would say the Russian game and the KHL game is quite a bit different as a function of the size of the ice. But his style is probably at that point more suited for a North American game than over there anyway. In each group we have a player (Kulikov and Mikhail Berdin) who speaks his (Chibisov's) native tongue and so we use that translation. He sits at the back describing the drills and gets the translation of what's important. If you don't go first, you watch it once. If you are a good pro, you don't need to see it twice."

For Kulikov who is entering the final year of his contract that he signed with the Jets three summers ago, like many players on the roster there are opportunities for more minutes and a bigger role in 2019-20.

"I think I did some great work this summer. I worked on everything that I had weaknesses in the areas," said Kulikov who had six assists in 58 games.

"I'm feeling really, really good."

The 28-year-old Kuilkov averaged just under 16 minutes a game last season after having back surgery the summer before. As camp gets underway it has been noticeable that Kulikov is healthier this time around.

"First of all his fitness numbers are real strong. Kuli's a player that came in off a back injury and so he looks right," said Maurice.

"Back to full go and he wants this opportunity. So he's able to push and he's shown that he wants more by how hard he's working now and he's going to get it."

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