Not only has Trevor Linden returned home, but there is also a new GM and a new coach. This upcoming season might be one of the most anticipated seasons we've seen in many years due to all the question marks surrounding the team.
How will the players bounce back from last year? Which of the young players will make an impact? What changes will the new GM make? And most importantly, will Trevor Linden actually get poutine as a food option at Rogers Arena?
Regardless of what happens, however, there are some "must see games" that you'll want to circle on your calendar. Here are some of the highlights of the new schedule.
Vancouver vs. Calgary, October 8th
Home openers are always a great game to watch and all Canadian match ups are even better, because it cuts the anthem time down by half. This will be the first game of the season in which Vancouver gets to showcase their ability to bounce back from a tepid season, as well as attempt to ruin the night of the Flames, so it's kind of a win/win situation should they pull out the victory.
Tampa Bay @ Vancouver, October 18th
Steven Stamkos. That's all it should take to get you to watch this game. Also, ex-Canuck Matthias Ohlund (who is basically retired at this point) might be in attendance, which will give you a good chance to wave at him and tell him about that time he scored that OT goal against Montreal. Ohlund would like that.
Montreal vs. Vancouver, October 30th
Montreal had a very strong run in the playoffs, which means a lot of the crowd at Rogers Arena will be pro-Montreal. While this might seem like an annoyance at first glance (there might be no worse sporting fate than being stuck at a Canucks game, surrounded by another Canadian teams fans, when their team is winning), there is something fun about dueling fans going back and forth throughout a close hockey game. Also, Montreal fans will enjoy the new poutine option Trevor Linden has provided everyone. Hopefully.
Vancouver @ LA, November 8th
The Stanley Cup champions look like they will be a strong team for many years to come, so it will be a solid game to measure up next years Canucks against. Can the Canucks keep up with the champs? Will Drew Doughty pull off 37 spinoramas in one game? We shall have to wait and find out!
Chicago vs. Vancouver, November 23rd
Chicago remains a nemesis of the Canucks, and the games between the two are usually very spirited. I don't want to mention names, but some players (it rhymes with "pumpkin wreath") seem to bring out the feisty side of the Canucks. Add in the skill of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and you've got yourself a great hockey game (plus it's home ice, so no Chelsea Dagger).
Vancouver @ Pittsburgh, December 4th
What better way to usher in the holiday season than by watching Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin attempt to wreak havoc on your favorite team? It should be fun to watch Eddie Lack take on the big challenge of playing against the two top stars.
Florida vs. Vancouver, January 8th
Bobby Lu comes back to town! You'll have the choice to "boo" or "Luu" him, but something tells me Luongo still has plenty of fans in Vancouver. The perfect scenario is a 0-0 shootout win for Eddie Lack and the Canucks, but we'll take a good old fashioned goalie fight too (Eddie can win that, right?). Knowing Luongo and Lack, however, they're more likely to hug each other at center ice and compliment each other on their hairstyle. "No, YOU have the sickest flow." "No, YOU have the sickest flow!"
Buffalo vs. Vancouver, January 30th
Ok, hear me out. I know Buffalo is coming off of a terrible season, but there is just something about the two expansion cousins playing each other that gets me excited every year. I also think this might be the year that Kassian and Hodgson duel each other to six-point nights, with the Canucks taking it 7-6.
Minnesota vs. Vancouver, February 1st
Boston vs. Vancouver, February 13th
Like some sort of sick twisted Valentine's day gift, Boston arrives in town a day before the celebration of love. 2011 seems like it was a long time ago, but playing the Bruins still remains a must watch game for Vancouver fans. Also, Brad Marchand. He still plays for the Bruins. Yep.
Toronto vs. Vancouver, March 14th
It's the Leafs, which makes it the ultimate in the East coast vs West coast battles. Just remember, if Leafs fans start giving you any guff, just remind them Mats Sundin signed with Vancouver for a year. This usually makes their eyes fill with sorrow and causes them to go silent for a bit as they reflect upon why that ever happened.
Edmonton vs. Vancouver, April 11th
It's Trevor Linden's birthday. You better not miss Trevor Linden's birthday. Also, the Canucks will have locked up a playoff spot by now, so that's pretty cool too.