It's no longer home, but Vancouver brings back fond memories for Mighty Duck Coach Ron Wilson, whose team plays the Canucks at 7:30 tonight at the Pacific Coliseum.
Wilson got his NHL coaching start in Vancouver, spending three seasons there as an assistant to Pat Quinn. He has modeled his coaching style and the Ducks' system after Quinn and his program.
"It's a real test for us," Wilson said. "Without a doubt they are the strongest team in our division."
In his three seasons in Vancouver, the Canucks were 116-98-30, including 46-29-9 last season.
He's expecting his reception to be warm--at first, anyway--but he certainly knows what will come next from the Canucks.
"I expect they'll have all their tough guys in their lineup," he said.
The Ducks have drawn plenty of attention for fighting in exhibitions against Pittsburgh and the Kings, and Wilson is concerned about the team's reputation for brawling. Vancouver hasn't exactly had a quiet exhibition season, either, fighting with the Kings four times in the first period of one the teams' two games.
That doesn't mean he's predicting mayhem, however.
"Usually when you anticipate things, not much happens," Wilson said.
Of the Ducks' fighting, he said, "It's been blown out of proportion."
The Ducks trimmed their roster to 27 Thursday, assigning left wing Denny Lambert to their minor league affiliate in San Diego. Lambert played in two exhibition games, including Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. He played the last two seasons in San Diego.
Defenseman Alexi Kasatonov had this to say after the Ducks' victory Wednesday over the Islanders:
"The system is beginning to work. What we're doing in practice, now is working on the ice. More and more I feel better."