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Canucks’ Vasily Podkolzin is a moose, bull, and now playoff wild card



‘If he performs predictable hockey, he’ll be good. If he is aware of precisely the place the puck goes, that is the place the moose is available in.’ — Tocchet on Podkolzin.

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Vasily Podkolzin has been referred to as a number of issues.

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When Rick Tocchet first took inventory of the intriguing Russian winger final season, and his potential to finally change into an NHL mainstay, he referred to as him a moose and bull.

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And now he’s calling him a playoff wild card.

Whereas the Vancouver Canucks head coach did the anticipated Thursday morning —

shifting struggling centre Elias Pettersson to proper wing

to align with Elias Lindholm and Nils Hoglander, and reunited centre Teddy Blueger with Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland — he made one other transfer.

Podkolzin bought the decision to make his NHL playoff debut with Nils Aman and Phil DiGiuseppe for Recreation 5 at Rogers Enviornment. In a testosterone-charged, second-round playoff sequence with the high-octane Edmonton Oilers. And Tocchet is aware of he wants extra. Far more.

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The Canucks should preserve puck management and generate photographs in the event that they anticipate to advance to the Western Convention last. Podkolzin isn’t the reply, however he could be part of the puzzle. And he was in a 3-2 victory Thursday that gave the Canucks a 3-2 sequence lead.

His line had a powerful forechecking presence. Phil DiGIuseppe scored as soon as and will have had one other aim.

“That fourth line actually helped us,” Tocchet mentioned in his post-game handle.

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Russian winger Vasily Podkolzin (proper) had quite a bit to smile about throughout his robust rookie NHL season that netted 14 targets. Photograph by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS recordsdata

“If he performs predictable hockey, he’ll be good,” mentioned Tocchet. “If he is aware of precisely the place the puck goes, that’s the place the moose is available in. If he’s ready to go, he’s standing round. And he’ll be late all over the place.

“He must be aggressive and never learn the play after it occurs.”

The Canucks have been at an NHL historic low by 10 playoff video games.

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With simply 203 photographs, they set a sorry customary to eclipse the 1999 Pittsburgh Penguins (207), 2002 Montreal Canadiens (223) and 2000 San Jose Sharks (227). It’s why Tocchet introduced out the blender and why Podkolzin, 22, is getting a glance.

He had 28 factors (15-13) in 44 AHL video games in Abbotsford this season and appeared in three playoff video games. The tenth general choice within the 2019 NHL Draft began robust with 26 factors (14-12) in 79 rookie-season video games after which hit a sophomore stoop.

Podkolzin’s 35 factors (18-17) in 137 profession NHL video games is each encouraging and disappointing. It’s why Thursday meant a lot as a result of he needed to develop up. He’s a husband and father and he’s taking part in for greater than himself.

“It’s an excellent alternative for me,” mentioned Podkolzin. “I can convey power, make some hits and photographs and attempt to create some moments for my teammates. Attempt to be helpful.

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“That is fairly superior. It’s my third yr right here and my first playoff sport is an enormous level for me and my household. So many guys have helped me get up to now. It was robust for us in Abbotsford for the playoffs as a result of we had a younger group, however we’re higher for the expertise.”

That’s what Tocchet hopes will change into of shuffling his deck and particularly with Pettersson.

“Being at house, you’ll be able to throw a few completely different appears to be like,” reasoned the bench boss. “Puck possession and a forecheck will assist us. There are performs to be made and we’ve got to be extra aggressive.”

It’s why ineffective wingers Ilya Mikheyev and Sam Laffertry sat Thursday — they weren’t the reply to enrich Pettersson. That they had their points discovering the online and Mikheyev has one aim in his final 60 video games.

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Tocchet needed to discover the fitting chemistry to hopefully

convey out the most effective in Pettersson

. He has however 4 factors (1-3) in 10 post-season video games and simply 15 photographs. His taking pictures share is an abysmal 6.7 per cent.

“I just like the hybrid factor,” mentioned Tocchet. “They (Pettersson/Lindholm) can swap. For me with Petey, it’s simply landmarks. Get to them fast to maneuver your toes. He is aware of it. And I get that he needs the puck.

“However now, he’s at a degree the place what occurs when no one provides it to him? He’s standing nonetheless. However he’s energized and I’ve bought assist the child, too.”

Familiarity with Hoglander would possibly assist.

They’ve been linemates and are good buddies. And if Hoglander can play arduous and direct, and never take penalties, he would possibly convey a lacking factor and make one thing occur. However his power degree should stay excessive.

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“He has power, however I discovered when the playoffs began, as an alternative of taking the puck to the online he was pulling up,” mentioned Tocchet, who sat the bowling-ball Swede in Recreation 3 and Recreation 4. “And when he will get it within the impartial zone, he’s seeking to move.

“If will get the puck, he’s bought to skate with it and simply go.”

Hoglander, 23, had a powerful common season with a career-high 24 targets and 36 factors.

“I’ve to win my battles and be fairly good on the partitions,” mentioned Hoglander. “It’s not good to take a penalty, however you’ve nonetheless bought to play arduous. There are a number of stick penalties and I’ve bought to be prepared for that.”

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