The NHL released it’s 2009/2010 regular season schedule today.
The Canucks’ press release is here:
The Vancouver Canucks, in conjunction with the National Hockey League, released their 2009.10 regular season schedule today. Vancouver opens the regular season on the road at Calgary, October 1st. The Canucks home opener kicks off a three-game home stand starting October 5th when Vancouver hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets at General Motors Place.
The Vancouver Canucks 2009.10 schedule features games versus every NHL team at least once. Vancouver will play six games against each Northwest Division club (24 total) and four games against each of the 10 non-divisional clubs in the Western Conference (40 total). The Canucks remaining 18 games are split into nine home and nine away games all against Eastern Conference opponents. Vancouver will play a home and road game versus each of the Canadian based Eastern Conference teams; Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Some interesting notes on the schedule:
- The Canucks have 18 Saturday games – the most they’ve had in a few years and a sure sign that CBC is starting to notice that we have a pretty darn good team (and ratings draw) out here on the West Coast.
- The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins both visit GM Place on December 18 and January 16, respectively. This is the first Crosby and Ovechkin will play in Vancouver in the same season.
- Hockey Day in Canada is January 30 when the Canucks play the Leafs in TO.
- If John Tavares sticks with New York Islanders, his first visit to GM Place is on March 16.
- Road trip alert 1: The Canucks play in Toronto on January 30, in Montreal on February 2, and in Ottawa on February 4.
- Road trip alert 2: The Canucks play in San Jose on March 27, in LA on April 1, and in Anaheim on April 2. (They do go home to play Phoenix at home on March 30 though.)
- I wonder why the two home games vs. Nashville start ay 7:30 PM instead of the regular 7:00 PM start.
Whatever lobbying Mike Gillis and Lawrence Gilman did to the NHL head office seemed to have an effect. I haven’t completely studied previous schedules, but this one seems to follow a more logical travel route:
- The Canucks have very few one-game home stands (Oct. 17, Jan. 16, Mar. 24, Mar. 30 and Apr. 10) or one-game road trips (Oct. 16, Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Mar. 23, Mar. 27 and Apr. 8).
- The Canucks have 14 back-to-back series, but only 4 of them require travel between different time zones (Oct. 16 and 17 from Calgary to Vancouver, Dec. 26 and 27 from Vancouver to Calgary, Jan. 20 and 21 from Vancouver to Dallas, and Mar. 23 and 24 from Edmonton to Vancouver).
- The Canucks travel across two time zones only twice (Oct. 19 and 21 from Edmonton to Chicago, and on Jan. 11 and 13 from Vancouver to Minnesota).
- The first 7 games of the 8-game road trip pre-Olympics are in the Eastern Time Zone (3 games in Eastern Canada, 1 game in Boston, 2 games in Florida and 1 game in Columbus); the Canucks then finish the trip in Minnesota.
- The first 3 games of the 6-game road trip post-Olympics are in the Eastern Time Zone (Columbus, Detroit and Chicago); the Canucks’ then finish the trip with 3 games in the Central Time Zone (Nashville, Colorado and Phoenix).
- Both visits to LA and Anaheim are on the same road trip (Oct. 29 and 30, and Apr. 1 and 2).
- Both visits to Dallas and St. Louis are on the same road trip (Nov. 6 and 10, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 2)
Overall, a relatively-better schedule for the league’s most-travelled team.
[update: 07/15/2009, 8:12 AM]
According to Dirk Hoag (On The Forecheck), the Canucks will travel 48,221 miles this season, 2,985 miles less than they travelled in 2008/2009. In fact, Calgary, Dallas, Phoenix and Anaheim will log more miles than Vancouver this season.
Sure, a couple of those road trips are long – particularly the ones before and after the Olympics – but for the most part, they are at least much, much better planned.