Timing is everything.
Friday was a team day off in Los Angeles, which means cameras away, leave the guys alone, do your own thing. I did some work from my room before meeting a friend for breakfast. Then camerawoman extraordinaire Jessica McNeill and I fancied some sun and planned to walk around downtown LA. We met outside, both realized wearing jeans was insanity and jetted to our rooms to change.
Upon returning to the lobby, I sat down to wait for Jess and noticed actor Taylor Lautner sitting beside me. Cool. I love wolves and was all about Team Jacob during the Twilight Saga. Lautner was in a pink hoodie, hood up, facetiming someone.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Alex Edler and Chris Tanev were seated opposite Lautner, with me in-between. One of these things is not like the other! Henrik shared his sunscreen with me – what a guy – and then John Shorthouse, TV voice of the Canucks, walked by. He had been out buying a new suitcase. It’s swanky.
“Have you introduced yourself to Nikolay yet?”
“That’s Goldobin right there, isn’t it?”
[Pull iPhone out of pocket, thumb on the touch ID, tap Safari, Google: Nikolay Goldobin, click images, scan through them, realize it’s not Lautner beside me, it’s the 21-year-old Russian prospect we acquired from San Jose in the Jannik Hansen trade.]
Dang Shortie, good call!
After the Canucks forward met a few new teammates, he introduced himself to Jessica and I and hit us with questions. “How do you tell the Sedins apart?” “Is my English better than Nikita’s?” “Do you have Boucher’s phone number? We played together in OHL.”
Goldobin, who goes by Goldy, is enthusiastic, energetic and bright-eyed. He said he could see the veteran direction San Jose were going and was delighted with the trade to Vancouver, where he’ll be part of the young core. “My mom is also very excited,” he laughed. “That’s her I was just facetiming with.”
Saturday morning Goldobin met the rest of his teammates and skated with them for the first time. Tonight he’ll play on a line with Jayson Megna and Brandon Sutter in his 12th career NHL game and third of the season. Goldy has one goal and one assist thus far, both coming early last season.
Despite the short morning skate at Staples Center, coach Willie Desjardins said Goldobin’s skill was evident and that he could eventually earn power play time, which sits well with Goldy as he was featured on the San Jose Barracuda’s first unit in the AHL this year. In 46 games, he had 15 goals (and 26 assists), with five of those scored on the power play.
Goldy can clearly score, but how would he describe his game and what he adds to the Canucks line-up?
“No words to describe my game, I’ll show you on the ice,” he said, post-practice.
There’s something special about this kid, something awesomely infectious. He’s charismatic and has swag in spades, which promises to add more Russian flair to the Canucks dressing room.
Although Nikita Tryamkin isn’t on this trip, it’s safe to assume he’s loving every minute of this.
Sorry Lautner, I’m on Team Goldy now.
Derek Jory – @NoJoryous