Canucks rookies not there for conversation 0
Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Kesler during on-ice testing drills at training camp held at the University of British Columbia Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday September 12, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Ryan Kesler may have some solid advice for rookies heading into their first NHL training camp this season.
Drawing from his own personal experience when he took part in the 2003 camp, the Vancouver Canucks forward recalled with a laugh how former team general manager Brian Burke told him at the time to "shut up and play" — as in, leave the veterans alone.
Fittingly enough, that's how some of the new kids on the team — notably Hunter Shinkaruk and Brendan Gaunce — this year are already approaching it.
"If they talk to you, you talk back but you don't really start up a conversation with them," said Gaunce, the team's first-round pick in 2012 who is heading into his first camp.
"There's a lot of guys here that have a lot of experience in the NHL. They've played for a long time so they know what to do before and after, and what to eat, and how hard to work. You don't watch them per se on everything they do but you just pick things up when you're working with them."
Even if they're not exactly engaging their ‘elders’ in chit-chat, at least the rookies are observing.
"They're great leaders," said Shinkaruk, the 24th overall selection in this year's draft. "They walk around with a lot of class and pride and that's the main thing that I'm learning. It's a step up from how you have to carry yourself from junior.
"You go out there and you see the veteran guys and how fast, how strong they are. You definitely see you have a little bit to go, and it's good, it pushes you every ice time to hopefully be at their level."
As the camp shifted to on-ice sessions Thursday at the University of B.C. it didn't matter if you were young or old — you had to take part in the rigorous testing.
With 61 players on the main camp roster divided into three groups, their endurance and will were put to the test.
"It is a condition test," coach John Tortorella said of the team’s activities Thursday. "It's basically simulating a shift and also some things mentally as far as when you're tired, how you handle yourself and all sorts of things."
As usual, Henrik and Daniel Sedin led by example. According to Sportsnet, the players were challenged to finish a two-mile run in less than 12 minutes. Only three accomplished the feat: the Sedins and Mike Santorelli.
"I just hope the kids are watching in the camp," Tortorella said of the twins. "Just how they carry themselves, with the intensity when they need to have it, they fought each other to the bitter end on the run.
"That's very important to watch with what these guys have done in the league, where they are in the league and what they are still doing to prepare for another season."
Note: The team returns to Rogers Arena Friday through Sunday where they will take part in scrimmages and on-ice sessions beginning at 9 a.m. All sessions are open to the public.