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Hockey season is *finally* here. I'm pretty freaking excited about it. More than a little nervous. So much is going on tonight at the game. First off, a 40th year anniversary is something to celebrate. And it's nice that as we are celebrating 40 years of this franchise, we also have hope that this could be the year. Imagine that. So it's kinda nice to start off the year playing a team that we started off the franchise playing against (we lost that one).

Tonight we will announce our new captain, *cough* Henrik Sedin in a pre-game ceremony. We will have Willie Mitchell making his first return to the ice, albeit wearing purple and gold tonight, but still will be good to see him skate tonight. We have the debuts of new Canucks Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres. And it will also be the last game that Tom Larscheid will provide colour for on the Team 1040.

Enemy Blog: We welcome back our friends from the Royal Half that we met last year before their exit of the playoffs.

The party starts at 4pm at the Party on the Plaza with live music, free smokies and coke zeros (for the first 1000) and a good place to meet up with your buddies before you head into the game.

Tonight the boys will be wearing their 'original sweaters' with the Kings wearing their retro purple and gold jerseys and there will be no name bars on the backs of their sweaters.

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I'm very excited for this look. And as I said there will be a pre-game ceremony to announce our new captain. Canuck ticket holders are told to be in their seats by 6:50pm. Fans in attendance will also receive a commemorative opening night pin. If you like them and are not there tonight, you can pick one up at the Canucks Team Store for $9.99.

So much pressure on the Canucks doing well this season, but pressure on tonight? Yes and yes. Even though the Kings are still a good team, there's pressure on the Canucks to look good, an expectation. The fans want to see what this team actually looks like, want to see what this team can do. We have questions about Bieksa being promoted to the top line. About the whether we look gritty enough. And how does Luongo look in goal.

Tonight will not only be Willie Mitchell's first time back since he signed with the Kings this summer, but the first game he'll play in Vancouver since playing his last game on January 16th against Pittsburgh. Will be great to see him on the ice, and I'm sure within a few minutes I'll be back to hating that long stick of his as he tries to shut down our boys.

Line-up Notes for the Canucks:

Offensive lines:
Daniel-Henrik-Samuelsson
Raymond-Kesler-Torres
Schaefer-Malhotra-Hansen
Glass-Bolduc-Desbiens
  • Defensive pairings: Hamhuis-Bieksa, Edler-Ehrhoff, Ballard-Alberts

What the Kings will look like:

Offense:
Smyth-Kopitar-Brown
Richardson-Stoll-Williams
Ponikarovsky-Handzus-Simmons
Clifford-Schenn-Westgarth
  • Defence: Mitchell-Doughty, Scuderi-Johnson, Muzzin-Drewisky

Your pre-game reading links:

Game time: 7:00pm PST on CBC (HD) or on the radio on Team 1040.

As I said earlier, it's Tom Larscheid's last game doing colour on the Team 1040 as Dave Tomlinson will take over going forwards. Although I'm not a big fan of his (o captain my cap--shut the #$@....), and that I find him a bit grating, I gotta respect that he's been doing it a long time. He also speaks his mind and perhaps that's the reason the Canucks don't want him doing colour anymore. Nevertheless, respect for an American football player who has been one of the voices of hockey in our city for so long. And if you have a few minutes today, check out Tony Gallagher's column in The Province that made me even more impressed about the guy.