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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks vs Flames Oct 6/16

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As we get closer and closer to seeing a full lineup for the Canucks, things are still as clear as mud when it comes to some of the roster decisions.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Utica Comets kicked off their training camp yesterday, and the Canucks did their part by sending head coach Travis Green a number of players. The team announced that they'd sent 2016 1st round draft pick Olli Juolevi back to the London Knights of the OHL (not a real surprise, though he did perform well at camp), and Dmitry Zhukenov to Chicoutimi of the QMJHL. Joe LaBate and Borna Rendulic are on their way to the Comets, while the Canucks released James Sheppard from his PTO.

That leaves Tuomo Ruutu and Jack Skille on PTO's with just 2 preseason games left, and arguments can be made for both men to stick around, though if it does happen it'll likely only be one of them. Another concerning area is on defence, where they have not just what to do about the curious case of Troy Stecher, who has absolutely earned a spot on the roster in the eyes of many, but keeping him would mean exposing another Dman to waivers, and that could be either Alex Biega or Andrey Pedan. That has some already in full on panic mode at the thought of Pedan being snatched up the way Frank Corrado was.

In the good news department, Jake Virtanen is a go for tonight and Saturday against the Oilers. What remains to be seen is if he'll start the year here, or be sent to Utica for some better playing time. It's an option that has a lot of positives that come with it, and while some will look at this as some kind of indication that Virtanen's somehow a bust because of this, it wouldn't hurt him to get top 6 minutes there for a while. How he plays these next two games will likely let us know how that's gonna pan out.

This time of year also features the various media outlets giving their predictions on who will do what in the upcoming season, and if you're a Canucks fan, you might wanna pass over these. A recurring theme is the Canucks chosen to finish with the worst record in the NHL, the most recent ones being the USA Today rankings and the results of the NHL17 season simulation from EA Sports.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">My projections for the 2016-17 season. <a href="https://t.co/eFeS4W57s7">https://t.co/eFeS4W57s7</a> <a href="https://t.co/1VOPOK6ytJ">pic.twitter.com/1VOPOK6ytJ</a></p>&mdash; Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) <a href="https://twitter.com/ByKevinAllen/status/783689668617535488">October 5, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHL17?src=hash">#NHL17</a> Season Simulation Standings!<br><br>Full reveal tomorrow. <a href="https://t.co/PqyWxlkfs4">pic.twitter.com/PqyWxlkfs4</a></p>&mdash; #NHL17 (@EASPORTSNHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/EASPORTSNHL/status/783758694706274305">October 5, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Look, as much as I want to try my best to make you see this ain't gonna be a season to remember, these two predictions have me shaking my head. Even if you accept that the changes the Canucks made bringing in players end as a wash with the ones that were departing, to assume that they're going to be significantly worse than last year's dismal squad just makes no sense. I also would bring attention to Allen's assertion that the Flames will finish 2nd in the Pacific. They've gotten better, but only marginally, and with Johnny Goudreau and his contract situation up in the air, the Flames are hardly a lock for the playoffs. Also, pardon us if we're a bit skeptical of Glen Gulutzan being the answer in Cowtown.

Also, I did want to comment on the Toronto Blue Jays as they begin the ALDS this afternoon against the Texas Rangers. I stopped watching baseball after the Expos left Montreal, but have enjoyed the resurgence of the Jays, though it's been a casual return to the game for me. That walk off homer from Edwin Encarnacion was pretty incredible. Sadly, most of the talk centers around the beer throwing incident, and even more troubling, racist insults being screamed at Baltimore players. Many have been quick to comment, and rightly so, that these actions are of a few, and should not be used to paint an entire fan base, and even the nation with that ugly brush. There are idiots in every fan base. Sometimes they do stupid stuff and when they do, they should be rooted out. That being said, it's also sad to see some of the media pleading for people not to judge the Jays fans and Canadians in general over this, when some of them were (and to this day still are) adamant that announcing you're a Canucks fan means you surely had taken part in one of the Stanley Cup riots. To the Jays fans: I sympathize with you. It sucks when a few idiots ruin things for you like this. Keep that in mind when hockey season starts. You can't judge a fan base by the actions of a few. Even Chicago.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

The Bay Area's maniacal masked thrashers are back with a new album that kicks a metric shit-ton of ass. Ghoul's DUNGEON BASTARDS is their 5th full length release, and each track is a freakin' ripper. Check out 'Shred The Dead', and enjoy tonight's game.