Mon. Sept 17, 2007 ~
Vancouver Canucks (0-0) vs. Anaheim Ducks (1 – 2)
7:00 pm General Motors Place Vancouver, B.C.
'The Show Must Go On!'
Despite a squeamish end to training camp and with the new season drawing closer, the Vancouver Canucks need to put the past behind them and look forward to brighter days. Canucks fans, rest assured Roberto Luongo was not scheduled to play in this evening’s pre-season contest and will take a seat in the press box. Trevor Linden and Sami Salo are temporarily out of the line-up as well and before you loose your mind, the calendar still reads September.
I don’t think that the rash of injuries (to key personnel) that were suffered during the intra-squad game changed Coach Alain Vigneault’s game plan whatsoever. The pre-season is a time of the season where you can assess your youngsters against some NHL talent as well as get your systems in play and in the meantime the veterans work out the summer kinks and prepare for a long 82 game grind. Considering the rigorous off-season training methods of today and the amount of hockey that Mr. Luongo will see this season, I am pretty sure that it’s okay that he takes September 17th off.
Meanwhile, this is an opportunity for players such as Mayson Raymond, Michal Grabner, and Jason Jaffray to hone their skills and possibly crack the line-up. The line-ups for this evening’s game have not been released yet but I am sure the possibility of playing with the Sedin twins or Markus Naslund has many of the youngsters jacked to play this evenings contest.
This of course is the first pre-season contest for the Canucks and the city is all a buzz about hockey. Who better to kick off the return of NHL hockey to the city than a visit from the team that knocked the Canucks out of last season’s playoffs and the defending Stanley Cup Champion the Anahiem Ducks.
Looking to avoid the media frenzy GM Brian Burke opted not to bring former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi on the trip. This evenings contest will be the Ducks fourth pre-season tilt in five days. Sporting a 1 win; 2 loss record the pre-season has not been all that friendly to the Ducks as off-season acquisition Mathieu Schneider will miss four weeks with an ankle injury. After this evenings game the Ducks will play three more pre-season games before embarking on a trip to London, England to begin the defence of their championship.