VANCOUVER — With one week until the Vancouver Canucks’ season-opener, 101-point centre Elias Pettersson returned to practice Wednesday after missing two days with what head coach Rick Tocchet said was a “cold.”
Pettersson skated with nine teammates in a session run by Canucks skills coach Yogi Svejkovsky for players not dressing in Wednesday night’s pre-season game against the Seattle Kraken in Abbotsford.
The National Hockey League team’s final dress rehearsal is Friday at Rogers Arena against the Calgary Flames. With two games in three days to end the pre-season, head coach Rick Tocchet chose not to make all of his players take the 90-minute bus ride east to Abbotsford.
Joining Pettersson on the ice at the University of B.C. were defencemen Quinn Hughes, Ian Cole and Noah Juulsen, forwards J.T. Miller, Conor Garland, Teddy Blueger, Phil Di Giuseppe and Ilya Mikheyev, and starting goalie Demko.
All except Mikheyev, who is recovering from ACL knee surgery eight months ago, are expected to play on Friday. The Canucks open their 53rd season next Wednesday at home against the Edmonton Oilers.
Pettersson declined to provide any details about his absence from a pair of practices this week except to say he was feeling better. He looked quick on his skates during the 35-minute session.
Pettersson said the Canucks are close to being ready for the regular season after a training camp and pre-season heavy with instruction and systems work under Tocchet, who took over as coach last January.
“It’s been good,” Pettersson said of the preparation. “I think we’ve been pushing the pace hard every day in practice. All the guys are working hard, so I think it’s been good. For myself, I’ve been trying just to prepare as much as possible and, yeah, I feel good.
“Regular season is coming up soon and we’re excited for that. But we try to live day by day, evolve and get better every day. I think that’s where mine and the coaching staff’s and the players’ mindsets are at.”
To fill the roster for the game in Abbotsford, where the Canucks’ American Hockey League team is based, the organization recalled six players who had been re-assigned on Sunday: Arturs Silovs, Filip Johansson, Max Sasson, Aatu Raty, Linus Karlsson and Arshdeep Bains.