The Vancouver Canucks are hosting the Minnesota Wild at Rogers Arena. Not only is this the Canucks home opener but it is the first regular-season game at Rogers Arena with fans in 595 days. Vancouver is the last NHL team yet to play a game in front of home fans since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. A lot has changed since Canucks fans filled the arena, let’s look into a recap.
— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) October 26, 2021
The Last Home Game
The Canucks and New York Islanders met at Rogers Arena on March 20th, 2020. 18,910 fans filled the stadium to enjoy what they did not know would be the final home game with fans for almost 600 days. The Canucks would take the game 5-4 in a shootout, with now-former players Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette scoring goals in the first, J.T. Miller would net the lone shootout goal. Now Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alexander Edler had two assists in this contest as well earning him third star for his last skate out in front of Canucks fans.
What Has Transpired
Just two days after the Canucks game on March 20th, 2020 the NHL shut down the season due to the pandemic. 17 days after the season shutdown the NHL opened their return to play plan where 24 teams would be split up between Edmonton and Toronto. The Canucks made it through the play-in beating the Minnesota Wild three games to one in a five-game series. The Canucks would then beat the St. Louis Blues in six games before ultimately losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.
After the bubble the Canucks lost three fan favorites in Jacob Markstrom, Toffoli, and Chris Tanev. Although they replaced Markstrom with Brayden Holtby who would not play a game in front of Canucks fans and called up long-awaited prospect Olli Juolevi, who also would not last long enough to play in front of Canucks fans.
The 2020-21 season was a weird one to say the very least. NHL teams did not cross the border therefore the Canucks had to endure the Scotiabank North Division, composed of the seven Canadian teams. With 10 games against Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames and nine against the rest, the Canucks had a rough go, finishing 23-29-4 which netted them 7th place in the division.
2020-21 was not all bad Canucks fans got their first look at rookie Nils Hoglander who played in all 56 games with the team. They also got to see goaltender of the future Thatcher Demko take the reigns, but had to do so at home.
Canucks fans missed a lot live over the past year and a half. The Canucks donned the NHL reverse retro jerseys, which lots of fans snagged and rookies debuted to empty stadiums. Fans may have missed a lot but they will not miss any more live-action. Canucks fans finally get their first live look at the new-look team.
New Kids On The Block
The Canucks have had almost a full facelift the past 595 days. As mentioned Markstrom, Tofolli, Tanev, Edler, Holtby, and Juolevi are no longer Canucks, as well as Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson, and Zack MacEwen. MacEwen was picked up off waivers prior to the start of the season, while Beagle, Roussel, Eriksson, and Juolevi were all traded. Markstrom, Tofolli, Tanev, and Edler all departed in free agency.
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨 #Canucks acquire defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland from the Arizona Coyotes.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) July 23, 2021
Enough with the old, in with the new. Canucks Fans will get their first live look at many new players including Hoglander and highly touted top Canucks prospect Vasily Podkolzin. Fans will also get their live glimpse at Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland dawning the orca on their chests.
Cheer Loudly Canucks Nation
Fans across the NHL may have realized they took games for granted in the past but after a long 595 days, Canucks fans can rejoice and cheer the boys on live. It is time for Canucks fans to rally behind the boys after a long six-game road trip, where they compiled seven points. Canucks festivities start at 5 pm while puck drop is at 7 pm local time. If you are attending be loud and proud, if you are not attending the Canucks are on a seven-game homestand, hopefully, fans can catch them before their next road trip in early November. Be proud, be loud Canucks fans, rally the troops, Canucks hockey is back live in Vancouver and the boys are ready to slay Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild to open the first homestand with fans in 595 games.
After all those games in empty buildings, tonight is going to be special!— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) October 26, 2021
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