WHISTLER, B.C. – There are a lot of things that can trip up a player on his way to the National Hockey League. In the four seasons since he was drafted sixth overall, Jake Virtanen has been slowed by several of them.
But until Friday, on the opening day of the Vancouver Canucks’ training camp, Virtanen had never been tripped up by someone else’s vomit.
The 22-year-old winger crashed hard into the end boards near the end of a gruelling skate after slipping through the remains of teammate Troy Stecher’s breakfast.
“In a lot of our testing, Stech is the guy who does puke,” Virtanen explained after the first practice of coach Travis Green’s four-day camp in the mountains. “He just goes that extra mile, full tilt. That was a hard practice, especially for guys who have never had a practice with Travis before. There are no shortcuts.”
Nor has Virtanen discovered any shortcuts to the NHL.
There were a couple of ironies in Friday’s (barf) bag skate.
Firstly, as Virtanen said, Stecher’s vomitting is not a sign of inferior conditioning, but of superior effort. It’s kind of thing within the Canucks – Stecher works so hard, he throws …read more