Canucks vs. Senators: Heritage Classic Preview

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This season hasn’t exactly been a gem for the Canucks, but the NHL gave them a game worth getting hyped up for in March. The Canucks will host the Senators at BC Place (which isn’t exactly outdoors) for the 2014 Heritage Classic.

This will be the third installment of Canada’s outdoor game with the first being the epic showdown in Edmonton where the thermometers took the day off, Gretzky came back for one game and Edmonton shut down the city for the day. The second hosted in Calgary where the Flames decided to horrify their fans with a jersey that looked like a maple donut made a baby with a hot dog.

Now that the NHL has allowed every team to face each other for a home and home series, the Canucks will see the Senators for the second half of their series in the cold confines of B….C….Place? Wait, that’s a dome right? Technically, you would be correct, but its so much more. It has a retractable roof too! What’s even better is that the game is March 2nd. It will be SO COLD in Vancouver, that the Ottawa faithful will be huddled around space heaters, packing hot pockets and adding a little of grandpa’s cough medicine to their Pepsi flavored commemorative tumbler. Just kidding folks, most likely it will be pouring rain that day. Although, I don’t think I’m too far off on the mixing of bevies.

It really is a wonder as to why the NHL granted the Canucks and the City of Vancouver an “outdoor game”. Sure as a city, they deserve one in Canada too, but the weather there isn’t remotely cold at all. It will end up being a normal game with about 30 000 extra seats. If somehow Whistler could host 30-40 000 people for a hockey game, then no doubt, that would be the venue of choice. That won’t happen so that big, expensive, flashy former Olympic building will have to do.

By March, the playoff race will be heating up considerably, much like the ice surface at BC Place that day, and hopefully the Canucks will be in the thick of it all. Expect the Senators to hold their own up until that point in the East with the new addition Bobby Ryan, a perennial 30+ goal scorer. Not to mention a collection of other equally talented players such as the NHL’s worst laugher Jason Spezza and the best duster in the league and also a Norris winner, Erik Karlsson. The Sens have always hung around in the East and may again surprise a few critics come playoff time.

The choice to match the Nucks up against the Sens was kind of bizarre aside from the 1915 Stanley Cup when the Vancouver Millionaires beat the Ottawa Senators. It could have easily waited for the Winter Classic to come again or add the Canucks to the Stadium Series and have them face the Blackhawks in Chicago at Soldier Field. Any hockey fan would have chosen that game before the one they will see in March. But aside from the weather, time of year and opponent, this will definitely be a game worth watching.

The Canucks have absolutely dominated the Senators going 9-1 over the last 10 games against them and winning the last 5 in Ottawa, now 6 after Thursday night’s tilt. Maybe the Canucks were begging to get the Sens to come to Vancouver for the Classic. Maybe they thought “Hey, we own these guys, it sure would look great to dominate them on a bigger stage”. I doubt that was the reason but it wouldn’t be too far fetched. As long as they keep Alexandre Daigle out of the building, there will be no bad luck to pass on to the current players that day.

It should be a fun weekend in Vancouver come March 2nd and the Alumni game will be just as entertaining if you are a Canucks fan; it may be the last time the Canucks faithful could see Pavel Bure and Trevor Linden lace them up for a game. Wait and see, and remember, bring your sunscreen and one of these guys.

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