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Golden Knights At Canucks: 3 Keys To The Game

Sunday's preseason opener is on AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports Radio at 2:00 PM

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights /

There's been a lot of talk.

But after 15 months of buildup, we finally get to see the Golden Knights - the non-Rookie Camp version - take the ice this afternoon in the preseason opener against the Vancouver Canucks.

2:00 PM is the scheduled start time for the game in Vancouver. It can be seen on television on AT&T SportsNet. This is DIRECTV channel 684, U-verse channels 757 (SD) and 1757 (HD), and CenturyLink channels 760 (SD) and 1760 (HD).

The radio broadcast is on FOX Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM.

Here are three keys to this afternoon's matchup.

Video: Gallant speaks the day before the preseason opener


1. Vegas Dressing A Young Roster

A lot of factors go into the Golden Knights' decision to dress a lineup filled predominantly with young players, rather than most of the team's veterans.


One, it's early in Training Camp. While the game is significant for Vegas in that it's the team's first-ever game for its big squad, the team is approaching this from a practical, business-driven approach, rather than a nostalgic one.

RELATED: Sunday's game a long time coming for VGK

This approach would call for the team to begin ironing out its regular-season line combinations during the final 3-4 games (the team plays seven preseason games), using the first couple games to determine which of the team's younger players deserves to play later in the preseason.

Marc-Andre Fleury's roster spot, for example, is solidified. So he doesn't need to play Sunday.

Alex Tuch's roster spot isn't solidified, so he plays in Vancouver.

Likewise, expect Gerard Gallant to juggle his lineup quite a bit, even throughout the game. So it wouldn't be wise to read too much into line combinations.

This is the Golden Knights' coach seeing what players are capable of.


Video: George McPhee addressed the media on Saturday


2. The Canucks will probably also dress a young roster

For Vancouver, there would be two reasons to dress a young roster that differ from Vegas' reasons.

One of them is that the Canucks played yesterday, defeating the Los Angeles Kings on an overtime goal from Brock Boeser.

RELATED: George McPhee checks in on the state of the team

Second, and most importantly, is that Vancouver will be traveling to China this week to play two exhibition games against LA. In fact, the team is leaving for China on Sunday, before the game against Vegas even starts.

The Canucks' trip to China is part of the NHL's efforts to grow the sport in that country, which will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022.

The necessity of having the Canucks' veterans in China to help grow the game would negate them from playing against the Golden Knights on Sunday.

For both squads, Sunday's lineups should differ greatly from the teams' first regular-season game in Vancouver in November 16.


Video: Brad Hunt will play on Sunday in Vancouver


3. Enjoy the game, don't dwell on the result

Although in anything that consists of competition against another team, victory is preferred, it shouldn't be the defining metric for this game.

The Golden Knights' veterans only officially began skating together on Friday. This group hasn't had much time to play together yet, which is fine.

Win or lose, Sunday's results won't have anything to do with where the team finishes this year.

And if the question is why the team didn't begin skating together sooner to prepare for this game, it goes back to the prior statement. Today's game doesn't count for anything in the standings.

Sunday is about beginning to shape Vegas' roster, which will play "for keeps" for the first time on October 6 in Dallas.

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