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This is the End: Game 82 Oilers @ Canucks

What seems like the longest season ever will finally come to a close tonight. I'm sure all Canucks fans will be a raw nerved bundle of conflicting emotions tonight. My advice -- open up that top shelf bourbon you've been saving and toast to the fact we've all survived this trial.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We have one final game to watch this season before the Vancouver Canucks disappear from the ice until training camp in September. Seeing the Canucks leave for the last time any season makes me feel slightly bitter and empty, since no season has yet resulted in a Stanley Cup. I won't miss the bad hockey we've had to endure throughout much of this season, though. Watching some out of town games this week made the gap between where the Canucks are and where they need to be plain. Thankfully, Jim Benning and the rest of Canucks management will have high draft picks, the beginnings of a good prospect pool and money to spend on July 1. There is every reason to believe this summer could put the team much further down the road to their goal.

In Utica, the Comets secured a playoff birth for the second consecutive year. After one period of the Frozen Four final, North Dakota leads Quinnipiac 2-1 and Brock Boeser has a goal and an assist. Thatcher Demko won the Mike Richter Award as the best college goaltender in the US last night. Hopefully he'll sign here, though he's said to want to take a few weeks to decide whether to turn pro now, or go back for his senior year and, potentially, unrestricted free agency in August 2017.

Players from the Comets, along with Boeser and Demko, will be part of the new core Benning is building to compete when the Sedins' contracts expire.

The future will be better than the present, I promise.

This might be the last time we see two stalwarts of the last core -- Alexandre Burrows and Dan Hamhuis -- in blue, green and white. It will be a great night for all of us to toast what they have meant to the team.

Burrows will play on the top line with the Sedins tonight:

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows

Derek Dorsett - Bo Horvat - Emerson Etem

Mike Zalewski - Markus Granlund - Jannik Hansen

Ronalds Kenins - Brendan Gaunce - Jake Virtanen

Dan Hamhuis - Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton - Nikita Tryamkin

Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega

Jacob Markstrom


Some combination of draft busts, scrubs and guys on their way out.

Once more with feeling -- Go Canucks Go!