When the puck drops tonight in Terrace, neither the Vancouver Canucks nor New York Islanders will dress anything close to an NHL roster.
Canuck defensive stalwarts Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa flew to Terrace with the team this morning but won’t dress for the contest. Islanders super rookie John Tavares didn’t make the trip from Saskatoon, where the Isles are holding their camp.
Canucks captain Roberto Luongo and the Sedin twins were left at home. So were Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelsson.
Vancouver’s nominal first line tonight will be Kyle Wellwood centring Michael Grabner and Guillaume Desbiens.
Veteran Dave Scatchard, who is trying to make a comeback, will skate between Alex Bolduc and Jannik Hansen while Rick Rypien centres the third unit with Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Eric Walsky. Former Vancouver Giant Mario Bliznak is pencilled in to pivot an all-Euro line with Sergei Shirokov and Ronald Petrovicky.
Shane O’Brien and Brad Lukowich will lead Vancouver’s blue-line corps while Andrew Raycroft gets the start in goal. Cory Schneider will play the second half of the game.
Jeff Tambellini is among the most notable of the Islanders, who brought goalies Scott Munroe and Nathan Lawson to face the Canucks.
I’m sure it would have been nice for the likes of Luongo and Tavares to be there, but it’s already well-documented that the citizens of Terrace are excited. And truth be told, so am I. I’m just excited that hockey is back.