Canucks' Zack Kassian holds back on group skate to test sore back (with video)
Notebook: David Booth defends hunting hobby; Dale Weise enjoys Gretzky-like experience in Dutch League
Zack Kassian expects to be ready to go when Vancouver Canucks training camp opens on Sunday.
Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images
The boys are all back in town, but not all the Vancouver Canucks were skating as a group Thursday at UBC.
Right-winger Zack Kassian went for a twirl by himself as he tested a sore back. He claimed afterwards he was fine and expects to be prepared when training camp opens Sunday. Kassian, who turns 22 on Jan. 24, sat out his last game with the Chicago Wolves as a precautionary move.
“There was no sense in pushing it and being in a high-intensity practice today so I just went for a light skate,” Kassian said. “It felt good. The plan is to be ready when camp opens.”
Kassian, acquired last Feb. 27 for Cody Hodgson, collected seven goals and 13 assists in 28 games with the American Hockey League Wolves. He said the back spasms “just came up” and pledged to take care of the problem so it doesn’t become a recurring issue.
“When you’re playing a lot of hockey in a short amount of days, these things are going to happen,” said Kassian, 6-3 and 214 pounds. “It’s just a matter of taking care of yourself and getting back on track as fast as possible. Whenever you have an injury, you obviously do a lot of rehab and whatnot to hopefully never get that injury again.”
BOOTH REVIEW: Winger David Booth was one of five new faces on the ice with Thursday’s group and it didn’t take long for him to be queried about his hunting adventures and the tweeting of photos displaying his exploits.
“Sorry for the people I offended,” said Booth, a Detroit native. “It was unintended. I’m really passionate about it and it’s something I enjoy doing. I guess everyone is different. I come from a different place. When we were in Alberta, we were 200 miles from the nearest town sleeping in tents for seven days. That’s really the heart of why I do it.
“After travelling from big city to big city, you can hear the wolves howling at night. That’s something, for whatever reason, that I enjoy. Like I said, we’re all wired differently.”
Booth, by the way, heard about the end of the lockout from his power skating instructor in Detroit.
“I was actually skating that morning and she told me,” said Booth. “I didn’t even know. I guess it was early Sunday morning or something. So that’s how I found out.”
DUTCH MASTER: Canuck fourth-liner Dale Weise made out like Wayne Gretzky during his lockout stint for the Tilburg Trappers of the Dutch League. Weise collected 48 points in 19 games and the Trappers went 16-0-1-2 with him in their lineup. He conceded the league there is not terribly strong.
“The top three teams were around East Coast League level and the bottom four weren’t as strong,” Weise said. “I think money is an issue with some of the bottom teams and some of the top teams bring in imports, so that kind of makes the playing field a little uneven. I just wanted to play. I don’t have a family or anything and I didn’t have any attachments here.
“I think you’ve heard the guys talking in the last couple of days that you can’t mimic game reps unless you play games,” he continued. “You can scrimmage all you want and you can practise all you want. I don’t care what level it is, playing games is playing games – and I didn’t expect to be there that long.”
Weise, a 24-year-old from Winnipeg, clearly had a good time.
“The people were unbelievable,” he said. “They were amazing and I can’t say enough about them.”
BURR IN SADDLE: Winger Alex Burrows kept busy during the lockout playing in charity games in Quebec and skating mainly with the major junior Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL. He was fast asleep when the NHL and the players union reached a tentative agreement Sunday around 5 a.m. Eastern time.
“I was in bed,” Burrows chuckled. “It was pretty early, wasn’t it? I sure hope everybody was in bed on the East Coast. I woke up and had a lot of text messages and people were wishing me luck. I was really excited. I started packing and got everything ready to go.”
QUOTABLE: “It was a quick stint, a short stint, but something I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m glad I experienced it. The hockey was a blast and I met some great people.” — Canuck winger Mason Raymond on his one-week, and two games, with Swedish club Orebro.
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