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Canucks open John Tortorella era in San Jose

by Matthew Mankiewich /

CANUCKS (0-0-0) at SHARKS (0-0-0)


Season series: The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, both members of the revised Pacific Division, will meet four times this season. But it was the last four times they met, a four-game sweep by the Sharks in the opening round of last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, that sticks in the collective craw of the Canucks.

Big story: Both teams are looking to take a big step this season, with the Canucks having won just one playoff game in the nine they've played the past two seasons and the Sharks making it all the way to Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals before being edged out by the Los Angeles Kings.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Most of the returning cast among the players is the same, but the Canucks will have a much different look this season under new coach John Tortorella, who replaced Alain Vigneault. Tortorella put the Canucks through a tough training camp, and he expects offensive stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin to kill penalties and block shots in addition to maximizing their scoring chances.

"We always wanted to kill penalties and do all those kind of things," Daniel Sedin said to "So it will be interesting to see what happens, but we're open to anything. We want to help this team win, and whatever he wants us to do, we'll do."

Sharks: For the Sharks, change began as early as March. Floundering out of contention after a 7-0-0 start, general manager Doug Wilson realized changes had to be made, particularly up front. He dealt for Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan at the trade deadline and the offense woke up, helping the Sharks sweep the Canucks and extend the Los Angeles Kings to seven games in the second round.

There weren't a lot of changes during the summer, though signing free agent Tyler Kennedy brought in some additional speed and aggressiveness. The signing turned out to be even more important when Torres went down with a torn ACL last week; he will be out for three to four months.

"Our coaches are pretty excited to continue where we left off last year, and we have a clear view of how we want to play," Wilson told prior to the start of training camp. "You know, that north/south attacking game. The players that we've added certainly fit that mold."

Injury report: Canucks forward David Booth has spent the preseason recovering from left ankle surgery but should be ready. Forward Zach Kassian still has five regular-season games to go in his suspension for high-sticking Edmonton's Sam Gagner in the preseason. Forward Jordan Schroeder (shoulder) is expected out at least three weeks…. In addition to Torres, Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart is questionable while he deals with an undisclosed injury. Forward Adam Burish (lower body) will not play Thursday while Martin Havlat is out as he recovers from offseason groin surgery.

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