Let's face it: for some of you, this counts about as much as real hockey in your eyes as it does in the NHL's. For those of you that have been aching for some NHL action though, it is a welcome return, especially with the team not making the post-season last April. And while we all hope that this team can somehow make a return to days past where they were in the upper echelon of the NHL, the team itself has gone back in time to the days of not televising games. To be fair, this is not a surprise with game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey Finals tonight taking up Sportsnet's attention, but with all these specialty channels you think there'd be some thought to televising it, what with the demand even for pre-season, Canucks recent woes aside.
One good thing is that the post-game radio broadcasts will include Jeff Patterson again this year. Patterson's analysis is something I have always enjoyed, and after unceremoniously being dumped by TSN, it's good to see him back, and will join Blake Price and Scott Rintoul on the broadcasts.
While tonight will feature a lineup nowhere near what we'll see come opening night, one line you will see (or hear, actually) is Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi and Jake Virtanen. They were pretty impressive last pre-season, and somehow that didn't seem to continue along in the regular season. With all 3 players wanting to build on gains made last year, you can bet they'll come out firing in this first test.
The Sharks will obviously be missing their big guns in Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic playing for Team Canada tonight. As far as the Canucks go, the goaltending duo for tonight is noted horror author Richard Bachman backed up by Michael Garteig. Baertschi/Horvat/Virtanen will be the top line, followed by James Sheppard, Brendan Gaunce and Jayson Megna; Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton and Borna (Be Alive) Rendulic on the 3rd line; Tuomo Ruutu, Michael Chaput and Alexander Grenier on the bottom line. Defensively we will see Nikita Tryamkin with Philip Larsen, Andrey Pedan and Jordan Subban; while the 3rd pairing is Ashton Sautner with Chad Billins. Stanley Cup here we come, right?
And with things finally returning to some semblance of normal with hockey's return, we want to welcome you all to another season of Canucks hockey. We have some new faces around here, changes that I think you're going to enjoy, as we strive to become one of the best places to talk about our boys in blue and green.