VANCOUVER - There's nothing like some nostalgia right before the start of a new season.
Enter Alain Vigneault.
The former Vancouver Canucks coach is back in town, this time behind the bench of the New York Rangers as they provide the hosts with their final pre-season challenge Thursday night at Rogers Arena. And with the Canucks’ new coach John Tortorella also up against his former team, we have somewhat of a reunion night on our hands.
However, heading into the game don't expect the main focus of the Canucks to be showing up their former coach. They simply just need to end the pre-season on a high note.
Vancouver has won once so far in exhibition play — a 6-1 rout of Phoenix on Monday. They have lost the other four, including their latest game on Tuesday in San Jose where they fell 5-0 to the Sharks.
Granted, none of this pre-season record matters in the grand scheme of things. But with Tortorella expected to dress a lineup similar to the one that will step onto the ice in the season opener next Thursday, a win could be beneficial — even if just from a morale and confidence standpoint.
Then again, for all those believers in historical statistics, the Canucks have had losing pre-season records the last three times they went to the Stanley Cup final — not that there's actually any real correlation.
"Yes it's pre-season, but it's not fun to lose 5-0," forward Jannik Hansen said following the team's most recent defeat. "We're trying to learn on the go here … and that's what we're trying to get straight come Oct. 3."