Mastering on-ice lingo

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Sergei Shirokov certainly did not know what he was getting himself into yesterday.

During the GM Place morning media availability session to kick off the prospects camp, the newly-signed Canucks rookie was brought in front of the press, looking nervous.

He had a good reason to be slightly jittery though, since the Russian, who barely spoke English, was about to face a quote-hungry media in a hockey-crazed city, without a translator.

The most anyone could get out of the youngster were a few uncomfortable laughs and, "Ya, ya, happy. Vancouver is good. I'm happy, ya."

In a way, it was almost fitting that the 23-year-old forward couldn't verbally give this city an idea of what type of player he is, considering the intrigue and mystery surrounding him.

What is known about Shirokov is that he recorded 41 points in 56 games for CSKA Moscow of the KHL last year, before deciding to defect to the NHL this summer.

Despite the fact that he has yet to even play in North America, there's already talk of Shirokov possibly getting in a few games with the big club this season.

But until the Canucks get a true assessment of his in-game talent -- and he did showcase some slick stick-handling yesterday at UBC -- it's all hype.

Meanwhile, top-rated prospect Cody Hodgson, who injured his back over a month ago, is cleared to skate but with no contact.

According to coach Alain Vigneault, Hodgson probably won't make the flight out with the other prospects for their two games in Edmonton Wednesday and Thursday.


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