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Game Day Preview: Canucks² vs Sharks²

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HOCKEY'S BACK! Tonight we get not one, but two games, as the Canucks & Sharks split squads do battle. Double the rust! Double the guys you have to google to see who the hell they are! And thankfully, only one opportunity for Joe Thornton to engage in lewd public acts...

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Welcome back, boys!
Welcome back, boys!
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

Time Tuesday 6 & 7:30 pm
TV SN360
Season Series 1-2-1 Sharks
Last Meeting
2-1 (OT) Nov 14/13
The Enemy Fear The Fin Scoring Leaders H. Sedin: 11-39-50
Pavelski: 41-38-79

Are you excited? I sure as hell am! Excited because I know this season is gonna be long, difficult and ultimately lead to the Canucks missing the playoffs once again. Can't think of anything better for this team right now. Slow and steady, my friends, that is the key as Trevor Linden, Jim Benning, Willie Desjardins and the rest of the Canucks brain trust help build a new identity for this team, as quite frankly they didn't have one by the time John Tortorella was done with them.

Tonight we get split-squad action with the Canucks & Sharks facing off in each other's rinks. I like that they've made the start times staggered a bit, so that once the Vancouver-based game is done, we can catch monitor the game down in Stockton (and we get our first listen to new play by play guy Jon Abbott on TSN Radio tonight, too!).

So I know you're saying to yourself "Stockton? Why the hell are they playing in Stockton. Also, where the hell is Stockton?", right? Let's take a look, shall we?

Fr70_medium

via pics2.city-data.com

According to Wikipedia, Stockton has a lil under 300k people, and is the home of the World Famous Stockton Asparagus Festival, for all you... oh, crap. Oh, but wait, it appears that there's hope after all! I am sure you're as relieved as I am to hear this news. I am sure that Stockton's every bit the vibrant, thriving community that one would expect with an Asparagus festiv... oh, damn... really? Well, I guess this explains why the Canucks aren't even practicing there, preferring to spend as little time in Stockton as possible.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>The group playing in Stockton tonight is now on the ice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canucks?src=hash">#Canucks</a> <a href="http://t.co/2WQnK19R9N">pic.twitter.com/2WQnK19R9N</a></p>&mdash; Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) <a href="https://twitter.com/VanCanucks/status/514457638965628928">September 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
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As far as the lineups go for tonight, the Canucks are going to roll with the Sedins and Vrbata at home, and we'll also get our first look at Derek Dorsett in a Canucks jersey. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>The group playing in Stockton tonight is now on the ice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canucks?src=hash">#Canucks</a> <a href="http://t.co/2WQnK19R9N">pic.twitter.com/2WQnK19R9N</a></p>&mdash; Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) <a href="https://twitter.com/VanCanucks/status/514457638965628928">September 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Sharks meanwhile, will go with Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau, among others... <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Some notable Sharks listed to play in Van tonite for split-squad game: Burns, Couture, Wingels, Hannan, Marleau, Demers, Stalock. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/canucks?src=hash">#canucks</a></p>&mdash; Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) <a href="https://twitter.com/ElliottPap/status/514447696195641345">September 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
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One other thing to watch, will be of course is Joe Thornton's quest for the elusive 4 goal game. To make sure that things don't get, well... unpleasant, we've created this handy chart to help you recognize the signs that Joe may exhibit, to help you decide if it's time to get the lil ones out of the room.

Thornton_medium

In the meantime, here's some links to check out to get you 100% up to speed for tonight's matchups:

- Here's Coach Willie and his thoughts on the Game Day skate, which is amazing, because he was actually at the Game Day skate!

- Botch on the drama-free environment the Canucks are building in the room

- Those bastards fine guys & gals down at Fear The Fin have their preview up. Make sure and say hello and ask them about the numerous changes their team made in the off-season...

- Ben Kuzma on the role(s) Chris Higgins may be called upon to perform this season...

- New GM Jim Benning is betting on Alex Edler having a bounce-back year. The Canucks' success likely depends on this (oh, god... we're screwed!)

- Tony Gallagher calls you out for not giving the media their due, or something...

Pregame Battle Hymn

I am as excited for tonight's game as I am for the fact that At The Gates will be releasing a new album this year, their first since 1995's monster 'Slaughter Of The Soul'. Here's the title track to 'At War With Reality' from one of the creators of the Gothenburg metal sound.