Canucks Schedule: How Ilya Mikheyev will get the perfect out of Andrei Kuzmenko

‘Mik (Mikheyev) helps him. He’s a quiet chief and he is available in and works his butt off. I feel that’s contagious for Kuzy (Kuzmenko). I don’t suppose he needs to let him down.’ — Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.

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It takes one to know one.

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Typically, it’s the advantage of being linemates. Typically, it’s a deeper connection as Russian countrymen enjoying in a brand new skilled surroundings.

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Ilya Mikheyev has served as translator and confidant for Andrei Kuzmenko. Whether or not making an attempt to grasp the English language or methods play, it’s not stunning that Kuzmenko emerged from a mini-funk Saturday with assist from his sounding board in the course of the Vancouver Canucks’ 5-3 triumph in Florida.

With Mikheyev returning after lacking 37 video games following Feb. 2 knee surgical procedure — and likewise enduring an extended and sometimes irritating rehab to strengthen the anterior cruciate ligament — his presence, tempo and play in opposition to the Panthers had an impact on Kuzmenko.

His buddy made him accountable.

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As an alternative of trying confused, Kuzmenko performed extra on intuition. He hustled to get the puck behind the opposition web, spun and fed an ideal backhand cross into the slot for Elias Pettersson to deposit with a fast flick of the stick to place the Canucks up 3-1.

Kuzmenko then confirmed poise and endurance to out-wait sprawling Panthers and roof the profitable aim that got here off an aggressive Phil Di Giuseppe forecheck.

“That was the perfect sport for Kuzy, he was nice tonight,” stated Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. “He thinks methods a lot and simply has to play to our staples. He’s a high-end man and needs the puck and he thinks methods an excessive amount of and doesn’t skate as a lot. 

“He went to the online and battled and people are the issues we’re in search of. That’s the Kuzy we all know. If he has an effort like that, he is usually a dominant participant.”

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Tocchet additionally is aware of the welcomed manufacturing and potential have rather a lot to do with Mikheyev’s presence as stabilizing pressure on and off the ice.

“Mik helps him,” stated the coach. “He’s a quiet chief and he is available in and works his butt off. I feel that’s contagious for Kuzy. I don’t suppose he needs to let him (Mikheyev) down.”

That’s as a result of Mikheyev tried to intestine out a knee harm suffered within the 2022-23 pre-season opener. He performed with a brace and by no means complained and was tearful when lastly shut down in late January prematurely of the surgical procedure.

Within the opening interval Saturday, Mikheyev had a scoring probability off a cross-ice feed after which whiffed on a cross from Kuzmenko. Within the second, Mikheyev received a shot by way of on the facility play and had an opportunity at facet of the online within the third interval to complete with 4 pictures, 5 makes an attempt and an help in 13:03 of ice time.

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“We’re constructing our system and we simply want time,” stated Mikheyev. “We will do extra. This was an enormous step for me. It (rehab) was exhausting and the busiest summer time of my life. You focus daily. Psychological and bodily. Sooner or later you’re joyful as a result of it (knee) feels good and the subsequent day you’re feeling a little bit one thing and you’re feeling unhappy.”

How can anybody not admire that sort of dedication?

Right here’s what the Canucks face within the coming week:

Canucks at Predators

When and the place: Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. | Bridgestone Enviornment

TV: SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: Energy play prowess is the important thing

The Predators allowed seven power-play targets on 21 probabilities by way of six video games for a paltry 66.7 per cent effectiveness. The Canucks went 2-for-3 on PP on Saturday and are 6-for-16 (37.5 per cent).

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Who to look at: Centre Elias Pettersson

The Swedish sensation was tied for the NHL scoring lead heading into Sunday with 10 factors (2-8) however his 12 pictures have been fewest of anyone within the prime 9. It speaks to his means to typically defer to being an elite passer and discovering his linemates. Nonetheless, that shot is a weapon. Wants to make use of it extra.

Blues at Canucks

When and the place: Friday at 7 p.m. | Rogers Enviornment

TV: SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: Chess match between greatest buds

Rick Tocchet and Blues coach Craig Berube have been teammates and roommates with the Flyers. They know what makes one another tick. Blues at their greatest once they bump and grind. Canucks should match the depth.

Who to look at: Winger Phil Di Giuseppe

Doesn’t get sufficient credit score for doing the spade work on a line with J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. The tireless forechecker commonly wins puck battles, forces turnovers, threads passes. Did that Saturday on Andrei Kuzmenko’s game-winning effort in Florida.

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Rangers at Canucks

When and the place: Saturday at 7 p.m. | Rogers Enviornment

TV: CBC, SN Pacific | Radio: Sportsnet 650

Why watch: Dynamic D-men on show

Adam Fox of the Rangers and Canucks captain Quinn Hughes signify the sport’s transition on the again finish. Not the largest defenders, however typically the best with elegant skating, pinpoint passing and misleading pictures. They management the tempo. Appointment viewing.

Who to look at: Centre Mika Zibanejad

Has a aptitude for being in the proper place on the proper time and lethal on the facility play. His 20-man benefit targets final season tied for third general. Key cog in harmful first line with Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko.

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