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Sleepless in Calgary

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Ben Hutton was first to check the clock.

Jared McCann took a peek next.

Hutton, moments later, looked again.

McCann glanced over shortly after.

“I swear time stopped,” laughed Hutton. “I checked it at 8:30 p.m. when we went to bed and it felt like I’d been lying there for hours and I looked again and it was only 9 p.m. Time was moving very slowly last night.”

Both 22-year-old Hutton and 19-year-old McCann, roommates in Calgary, hit the sheets extra early Tuesday night looking to get a full night’s sleep. While the plan was solid, the execution was poor at best.

They tossed, they turned, they talked. They were like five-year-olds on Christmas Eve and with last night being the eve of their NHL debuts, their lack of shuteye is completely understandable.

Quite frankly, it’s to be expected.

“I have to make myself sleep this afternoon,” said McCann. “If the game was last night, I would have been flying. I had so much energy; I could have played 10-straight periods of hockey, they would have had to pull me off the ice.”

Now that’s the youthful energy and gusto the Canucks were looking for when they made McCann, Hutton and Jake Virtanen part of their roster to open the 2015-16 season.

The last time Vancouver had a rookie trio crack the opening night roster was in 1999 when Artem Chubarov, Steve Kariya and Peter Schaefer made the team. That game marked the NHL debut for Chubarov and Kariya, as tonight will for McCann and Hutton. Schaefer, who had 25 games under his belt but was technically a rookie, did not play; Virtanen likely won’t make his debut Wednesday, but it won’t be long before he’s losing sleep as well.

“Everything was just running through my head, I couldn’t shut my brain off,” said Hutton, grinning. “You only get one NHL debut and sleep or not, I’ll be ready.”

What about the butterflies wreaking havoc in your stomach?

“I’ll be able to block some of that out, hopefully. The rest I’ll feed off of.”

McCann said the same thing, he’ll use the extra oomph in his step to his benefit, but he’ll be playing through the excited nervousness of his parents as well. Matt and Erin McCann will be at the Scotiabank Saddledome, proud as ever.

“Today is a day I’ll always remember,” smiled McCann.

“Forget sleep, can we just play now?”


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