The Canucks got their first exhibition game underway in Terrace, BC versus the New York Islanders as part of Kraft’s Hockeyville extravaganza. The game presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for Terrace residents to see the Canucks live in their hometown. Too bad the rosters of both teams more closely resembled that of an AHL roster. Now, the Islanders lineup looks like an AHL lineup at the best of times, but shame on the Canucks for not icing a more respectable lineup, given the circumstances. I know that training camp just started, but it was only about a 2 hour flight (if that) and the Canucks should have tried to put on a bit more of a show. The biggest names playing for Vancouver were Kyle Wellwood and Shane O’Brien. Maybe they didn’t need to send Luongo, but how about the Sedins, Burrows or Kesler? They would have never dared to ice such a lineup on GM Place ice. Even the most die hard hockey fan would have had a tough time identifying a lot of the players on the ice.
That being said, it looked like the people of Terrace had a great time. It’s a real cool event that the league puts on. To the credit of the Canucks, they did send Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa to sign autographs and talk to kids. Ron MacLean and Don Cherry were also on hand, undoubtedly making them the biggest celebrities on hand (with apologies to Tommy Larscheid of course).
So what about the game? The Canucks won 2-1, with two notable performances. Cory Schneider stopped every shot he faced in the half game he played and Sergei Shirokov scored both Canuck goals. I must say that I was very impressed with Shirokov. His speed, skill and vision on the ice were nice to see, as was his intensity. He’s got an outside shot to make the team. Speaking of which, isn’t Michael Grabner supposed to have speed and skill with an outside shot to make the team? He was invisible Monday night.
Monday also marked the start of the comeback trail for Dave Scatchard, but he’s not the only veteran NHLer on a tryout with the Canucks. Ronald Petrovicky and Mark Parrish are also on unpaid tryouts with the big club. Parrish is probably the most intriguing one of the bunch, he is a six-time 20 goal scorer and is only 32. Perhaps in another year I’d give one of these three a chance to make the team, but in a year where the Canucks already have too many forwards and have young guys pushing to make it, a two-way deal is the best that these three can hope for.