Article content

Calgarians were chuckling a couple of weeks ago when Nikita Zadorov took a playful shot at Edmonton, saying there is “pretty much nothing else to do in that city except watch hockey.”

They weren’t necessarily laughing Thursday when the former Flames defenceman aimed a little further south with his latest jab.

Article content

The hard-hitting Zadorov, fresh off a standout spring showing with the Canucks, was asked during exit interviews in Vancouver about how he was embraced by fans on the West Coast.

Article content

“Like I’ve said, hockey in Canada is different,” replied Zadorov, who spent parts of three seasons with the Flames before being traded to the Canucks in late November. “I can compare it to Calgary, but I feel like the Vancouver fanbase is way bigger. Calgary is not even the No. 1 team in Alberta.”


Perhaps realizing that he might receive some angry texts from the 403 area code, Zadorov clarified: “There are more Edmonton fans because they have a bigger history through the years.

“But Vancouver is a different level,” he continued. “The fans were so hungry to see playoff hockey at home. You know, it’s been eight years. There are so many great traditions. Obviously, this organization has not won a Stanley Cup before, and that makes it probably putting more pressure on you, as well.

“But it’s been unbelievable. I feel like the whole city rallied around the team during the playoffs. It was fun to see my kids going to school. My family loves it here. It’s been just an awesome time. I’ve just enjoyed every second of it, for sure.”

Zadorov, who racked up four goals, eight points and 45 hits in 13 playoff outings before the Canucks were eliminated by the Oilers, is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 29-year-old told reporters Thursday that he would love to stay put in Vancouver, saying “hopefully we can work something out.”

If they can’t get a deal done, it doesn’t sound like ‘Big Z’ is angling for a return to Calgary. After a sour ending at the Saddledome, where there was frustration after his agent sparked trade rumours with a surprise social media post, it’s unlikely he was going to hear from the Flames anyway. 

Share this article in your social network

Source link