With the Canucks-Flames ready to battle this coming Thursday its time to approach the next few days with some reflection on the stories that may (or may not) surround the game. Today, we begin with step one: optimism
The last time these two teams met in the regular season was back on April 5th and the Flames added salt to the wound that was known as a missed playoff berth for the Vancouver Canucks. It has been 6 months since the Flames lit up Roberto Luongo and the Canucks in an 8-1 thrashing and in that time there have been a lot of changes on both sides of the puck.
The Flames have added speed and grit with the likes of Mike Camalleri, Todd Bertuzzi and Andre Roy. Meanwhile the Canucks have had a complete overhaul of their organization including new GM Mike Gillis and his staff with the likes of Scott Mellanby, Dave Gagner and Lorne Henning.
Not to mention the player movement.
Trevor Linden has retired, Markus Naslund is a Ranger, Brendan Morrison is a Duck and Brad Isbister has still not shown up in Binghamton. In are the likes of Kyle Wellwood, Steve Bernier, Pavol Demitra and Rob Davison. And without further aidue Shane O'Brien has been acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the slick and smooth skating Lukas Krajieck.
With all that said the Canucks will step to the ice on Thursday having come off a 6-0-1 pre-season that has provided optimism amoungst the fans. With all the changes throughout the organization the Canucks were expected to falter this season and many still believe that the pre-season is just that...pre-season. However, one cannot look forward to the upcoming season with an open mind. A new season brings new expectations, maybe the lack of expectations will breed success...one can only hope.