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Canucks, Oilers ready for physical game

by Kevin Woodley /

VANCOUVER -- An already intense rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers ratcheted up when they met in a preseason game that yielded two suspensions.

They play again Saturday night, and Canucks forward Dale Weise, who was suspended three preseason games for his check to the head of Oilers star Taylor Hall, said he isn't sure what to expect.

"I guess we'll see what happens," Weise said. "I'm going to go out and play the same way, and regardless if it's Taylor Hall or someone else I am going to finish that check every time and look to be physical tonight. And if I have to answer the bell it's part of the game."

In addition to Weise's hit on Hall, Oilers center Sam Gagner lost four teeth and had his jaw broken by the stick of Canucks forward Zack Kassian, who has four games left on the eight-game suspension he received for the play.

The Oilers claimed 6-foot-5 Steve MacIntyre off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. After MacIntyre was hurt, Edmonton added 240-pound wing Luke Gazdic from the Dallas Stars.

Gazdic had a fight and a goal in the Oilers' season-opening 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

"I was kind of talking to [teammate Mike Brown] about that rivalry and how it has gotten heated up here, especially in the preseason with a couple of incidents," Gazdic told "I like that. I like to play in that atmosphere. I don't shy away from anything like that. It is something I look forward to and live off of. It's the player I am and these are the types of games I look forward to playing. ...

"If there is an opportunity to finish a clean check on any player I am going to take it, whether it is Henrik Sedin or Dale Weise. It doesn't matter," Gazdic said. "If I have somebody lined up, I am going to finish that check because that's the way I play. I'm not going to slow up or head hunt for different guys, I just play 100 percent all the time. It's the only way I know."

Hall said he expects it from the Canucks too.

"We play these guys a lot and we have a history with them, and it seems every year it gets a little more intense and we like that," Hall said. "I have the puck a lot so there are going to be times I am going to get hit and you have to be ready for those, make sure you have your head up. You can't put yourself in vulnerable spots."

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was similarly prepared.

"We get hit every game," he said. "If they want to run at us, that's fine. If not, then we'll play the game."

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