Senators prospect Egor Sokolov had to re-learn how to skate. Now he’s ready to give the NHL his best shot – The Athletic

Jill Plandowski can still vividly recall the first day she started working with Egor Sokolov in the summer of 2018.

The renowned Halifax power skating coach was tasked with working with a raw prospect from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The teenager barely spoke English, but the bigger hurdle she was facing was that the young forward required a complete overhaul of his skating technique.

“Oh my goodness, the first day?” says Plandowski with a laugh. “I had to change his stance. His base. The way he pushed. His arm action. You name it.”

For his part, Sokolov recalls being partnered with Plandowski at the behest of his new agent Bryan Dube.

“My agent basically said to me, ‘She’s going to teach you how to skate. And you’re going to have to learn it all over again,’” Sokolov says.

Dube believed his new client possessed many of the key elements to be an NHL draft pick. Sokolov had size, a lethal shot and enough hockey intelligence to potentially be on an NHL team’s radar.

“But the lack of skating,” says Dube, “was probably going to be his downfall.”

And so Dube connected him with Plandowski three years ago, hoping she could transform Sokolov from a clunky, awkward skater into a player who possessed a smooth and powerful stride. But Plandowski — who carries the reputation of the best power skating coach in the Maritimes — was shocked at the lack of fundamentals in Sokolov’s skating arsenal when he showed up at her rink.

“When you start with little kids, you do basic edge work and he hadn’t done any of that. It was unbelievable,” recalls Plandowski. “But as a coach, that almost excited me.

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