Kirill Kaprizov has the small-talk lingo down, greeting his Wild teammates in English and stringing together phases that describe everyday life.
"He communicates well," center Nick Bonino said. "I sit next to him in the room. It's not super fluid conversation, but we're both getting our points across when we talk."
When someone starts to ramble or speak too quickly, however, that's when the Russian forward can't keep up.
"We try to figure it out, and obviously everyone around me is speaking English so I'm learning pretty quickly," Kaprizov said through an interpreter during a video chat Wednesday.
But where the 23-year-old isn't falling behind is on the ice. Out there, the universal language is hockey and Kaprizov is fluent — arriving at training camp ahead of his NHL debut skating very much like the dynamo the Wild has been waiting to have jolt its lineup.
"The way that he's competing the first few days here, that's what stands out," coach Dean Evason said. "We talked a couple of times about how he communicates with his group and how personable he is with a smile on his face. [But] what stood out for us as a staff is how he's battled and competed in the first few days."
After competing in the Kontinental Hockey League for the last five-plus years, Kaprizov was always going to have to adapt to the style of play in the NHL to make an impact — a challenge that officially kicks off next Thursday in Los Angeles with the Wild's season opener.
Through the start of camp, though, the transition has been smooth.
"He's obviously a goal scorer from what he did in the KHL," Bonino said, "and I think what I've been excited to see is his battle level on the puck all over the ice in the few battle drills we've done. I don't think goals will be a problem for him. He's working really hard like we expect to see."
Kaprizov arrived in the Twin Cities weeks before camp, sharing the ice with his Wild players at Tria Rink in St. Paul before they had to report, and he hasn't looked out of place now that the group is officially practicing. His spot in the lineup only seems to reinforce his comfort level.
A left shot who can play either wing, Kaprizov has been working on the right side of Zach Parise and Nick Bjugstad to form a unit that would likely face the opposition's best defenders.
Not only does Kaprizov feel each player has been picking up on each other's strengths, but he said they're also figuring out their own way of communicating.
"I've enjoyed playing with both of them," said Kaprizov, who led the KHL in goals in each of the last two seasons after the Wild drafted him in the fifth round in 2015. "They are both really smart players and elevate my game."
Every now and then, a teammate will motion directions in between drills. But that's one of the few examples of Kaprizov having to adjust to his new surroundings.
"As long as the coach is drawing it up on the board, I think he's good," Parise said. "But if it comes to just telling us what to do, he'll come over and ask us like, 'Hey, what are we doing?' [I] just help him out and show him."
Away from the rink, Kaprizov is keeping it low-key at home. He goes to the grocery store when it's time to restock, watched some World Juniors action earlier in the week with defenseman Matt Dumba and discovered some Russian stores. Over New Year's, he called his family and friends back home.
Nothing has surprised him, and he's focused on fitting in with the Wild.
And as far as his English skills go, Kaprizov believes they're getting better.
"Everything's going well so far," he said. "I'm getting to know the team. Practice is going well. Everything's in working order. I'm happy, and things are going well."