There is no such thing as an important game in September. It's a mantra for one-way contract-toting veterans, coaches determined to experiment, fans who refuse to be engaged until 'the games matter' and a broadcast media that reads the word 'preseason' as 'dress rehearsal.'
Yet, every September, there are people who can't-- or shouldn't --feel that way. I'm not talking about yours truly (though the day I take this less seriously, well, that'll be the day-hey-ay when I die). No, I'm talking about the players jockeying for a contract, the players jockeying for position, the players that look back at the mistakes and shortcomings of last year with a bitter taste in their mouths that they are desperate to wash out or swallow for good.
Plenty of those players will be on the ice tonight.
The Canucks come into this evening's game winless (0-3) in the preseason, but 60 minutes of Luongo guarding the castle keep looks to change that. Vancouver's former netminder recently stepped down as captain, but he is determined for this to be the year that he finally leads the Canucks to
not getting eliminated by Chicago in six games the Stanley Cup.
New Canuck Steve Tambellini will try to make an impression with the Sedins, a pair of pro tryouts (Peter Schafer and former Duck Brendan Morrison) will try to make an impression along with first-round prospect Jordan Schroeder, and an extremely hungry Bottom 6 will want to earn their British Columbian assignment by out-hustling their Anaheim counterparts or just out-duke-ing George Parros. Oh, and Cody Hodgson is ready . . . but for tomorrow.
The Ducks, meanwhile, are fresh off their historical re-enactment of a 1987 Pogues pub show, performed with the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion last night. No word on the lineup as of yet, but Randy Carlyle will probably look to insert some fresh legs into the lineup on the tail end of back-to-backs. That could mean the first preseason action for Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, who would be looking to build some chemistry (not necessarily with each other) going into this season after feeling the fizzle of last season. It could also mean more ice time for wunderkind Cam Fowler, whose window at becoming an out-of-the-box NHLer is shrinking from minute to minute of ice time.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean a 'soft' lineup, as it could also mean Troy Bodie and George Parros, who would be fresh for 12 rounds should the Ducks' bottom six decide to mount a sequel to last night's team-building exercise. And lining up across from players like Glass, Hordichuk and Desbiens, and more importantly, still unsure if they may end up splitting time with names on last night's fight card like Veilleux and Voros, I think we're all expecting them to mount a sequel.
It could be a good one, but knowing life, the fact that it will be televised (on HNIC, no less) probably means it will be even more boring to watch than last night's game was to hear.
Post any game info and lineup changes in the comments.