Thursday was the kickoff to rookie tournament launching in some small way the new Canucks season.

Funny it felt just like the old one.

The Young Canucks beat the Young Sharks 3-2 in a game so filled with Vancouver penalties it felt much like a continuation of the playoffs. In between the penalties however they managed to play some hockey and there were some interesting moments in the Canucks win.

1. Nicklas Jensen.

From beginning to end from my perch he had the best game. In the second intermission some scouts were commenting on how “free” he looked on the ice. He looked more explosive than I’ve seen him and when I asked the scouts which player was surprising them in this game two immediately said Jensen.

Maybe it was the competition in a game with nothing but prospects but his first few strides were electric. He used those first steps to create that “freedom” the scouts were referencing. He scored a goal and should have had two more. The ice was abysmal and pucks rolled on him all night.

Alexandre Mallet set him up with what should have been a nice cross-ice feed on a 2-on-1. Normally Jensen would have easily snapped one into the open net but the puck rolled on him up and over his stick.

Earlier he had a point-blank chance from the slot but again the puck rolled and he just barely misfired.

In the third he split a couple defenders with a power move and got hauled down from behind before he could get a shot off. No call. See just like the playoffs.

2. Bo Horvat.

He had the best moments. His first shift was spectacular. He turned a defending forward inside-out then set up linemate David Pacan with a sharp seeing-pass that carried with it some velocity.

Pacan didn’t score. But Horvat did on the next shift. Hunter Shinkaruk set him up. It was evident right away these two have some chemistry. They skated together at prospect’s camp in July at a Hockey Canada camp in the summer and here in Penticton.

I’d love to see these two together for a stretch at main training camp.

You could however say they’re a little too comfortable.

Three times in the third Shinkaruk tried blind backhand passes — once between his legs. If the passes had connected they would have looked pretty sweet. But they didn’t and instead they looked ridiculous.