What Can We Expect In Game 2?

72511161.jpgOne great thing about preseason is the sheer unpredictability of the three weeks leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Veterans can be injured, as is the case with Sami Salo and Aaron Miller, trades can occur; and every year there seems to be one prospect, who none of the experts talk about, comes to camp with the expectation of just playing hockey and cracks a roster spot come the beginning of October.

The play can be unpredictable most of the time too. In a sport that requires grit, toughness and emotion, playing smart and playing the system in exhibition can sometimes be overlooked by the enthusiastic young prospects that look to make their childhood dream a reality.

So what can we expect in Game 2?

Well, for one, a different roster for starters. Luc Bourdon and Alexander Edler may factor back into the line up because of the injuries noted above. These two young defenceman will battle tooth and nail for a spot on the Canucks solid defence corps again this season and will be given every opportunity to do so, seeing as how they are the top two defensive prospects in the system.

But expect a more offensive and refined game out of the Canucks, as well.

Key veterans like Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Matt Cooke and Mattias Ohlund should see their first exhibiton action in game two of the preseason against Calgary on Wednesday night.

Along with the insertion of experienced NHL’ers, there will be a wave of promising young prospects like Jannik Hansen and gritty forward, Rick Rypien. Both are players that have spent time with the big club in the past season and both bring something to the Canucks that head coach Alain Vigneault likes. Hansen can skate, has a big frame and possesses an impressive skill set for a player that was almost overlooked in the ’04 draft. Rypien is a smaller forward but has something special for a player of his stature – that being a level of grit that most carpenters would love in sandpaper – and something players six inches and 40 pounds heavier don’t have.

We can also expect a lot of scraps and rough play, again. Calgary against Vancouver is always sure to spark some fireworks and, being exhibition, won’t hurt either team on the scoreboard.

Then again, in the game of hockey, expect the unexpected.

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