Kirill Kaprizov was on the go over the summer.
He went to Italy (for the first time), Turkey (with his parents) and Florida (where he skated with other Russian players).
Oh, and the theater.
That's how the Wild forward has learned more English, picking up words from movies.
Just this week before the Wild kicked off training camp on Thursday at Tria Rink in St. Paul, Kaprizov watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3."
"No invite yesterday," teammate Joel Eriksson Ek said with a smile.
An upbeat Kaprizov recapped his offseason after the first practice of camp with ease and mostly in English, even offering up a review of his recent viewing.
"I like it. It's funny," he said of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3" before adding in Russian (through an interpreter) that the movie was heartfelt.
The conversation emphasized just how much time has passed since Kaprizov arrived from Russia to debut with the Wild, the then-23-year-old an established pro in hockey but a rookie in the NHL and a newcomer to America, let alone Minnesota.
But what has stayed the same since Kaprizov, now 26, joined the Wild are the team's results on the ice.
In the three seasons during which he's shattered franchise records and solidified his status as a superstar scorer, the Wild have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
And the losing has made Kaprizov want to win even more.
"I'm staying calm," he said through an interpreter. "But for sure extremely motivated, extremely hungry, and the fire's been lit, for sure."
While the outcome has been identical every time, Kaprizov's seasons have certainly been different.
Year 1 was shortened by the pandemic, what turned out to be just a sample of Kaprizov's skill. He was the near-unanimous winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie, but the Wild dropped a hard-fought series to Vegas in seven games.
When he returned for his first full-length campaign, Kaprizov was even better, setting team records in goals (47), assists (61) and points (108) to finish top-five in league scoring. Come playoffs, though, the Wild faded again, this time in six games to St. Louis.
Then last season, Kaprizov reached 40 goals again (40-35-75) and appeared in his second All-Star Game but suffered a leg injury in March that sidelined him until shortly before the playoffs started. He capitalized in Game 1 vs. Dallas but that was it; the Wild were eliminated in six.
"Don't play one month," recalled Kaprizov, who was hurt during an awkward tumble to the ice from a check. "It was first time like this because when I play in KHL, I don't remember when I don't play four weeks or five weeks. I just miss one, two games, and that's it.
"Playoffs, it's all the time different hockey — not like in the regular season. Play harder, faster and more tactical hockey. Power play, PK. We'll see. I tried to be better, like don't do these mistakes that I did in last playoffs."
During his end-of-season meeting, Kaprizov told team brass he was disappointed "that he wasn't able to do what Kirill Kaprizov can do."
"He tried, obviously," coach Dean Evason said. "But it's tough when you get thrown into that kind of intensity level, and you haven't ramped up with your group."
On Thursday, Kaprizov mentioned learning from mistakes and losses but also made it clear "last year happened last year" and "I'm ready for this year."
The left winger didn't mix up his offseason training regimen, and he still isn't a fan of setting targets.
"I'm going to show up and do the best I can and I expect the team to do the same, to be the best that we can, and that's what I expect from myself and from the team," was how he responded to a question about expectations before bringing up the playoffs.
"Obviously, the goal is to make the playoffs and do really well in playoffs," Kaprizov continued, "and that's what we're going to strive for."
Almost halfway through his five-year, $45 million contract, Kaprizov has records and accolades.
What's missing is the postseason success, but he's eager to change that.
"He's ticked off," alternate captain Marcus Foligno said. "Wasn't a good ending for all of us. He had to be frustrated by his injury at the end of the season. Kirill is scary when he's mad and he wants that puck, so I think that's what you're going to see a lot: the battle.
"That's what we talk about with our team, the culture, the work ethic. It starts and ends with him. He's our best player."