The Canucks are in a tough spot because they have to give their building up to the VANOC and the IOC for the Olympics and as a result go on an extended 14 game road trip before and after the Olympics. They go on a 14 game road trip because their building is booked and because the beginning of their season is so jam packed full of games right?
After the drubbing against Montreal the Canucks had three full days off before playing the Stars on Thanksgiving Sunday and then look forward to another four full days of break before playing the Flames on the road. In November they have two more three day breaks which equates to four days between games, and then have a home a home between the Avalanche that’s separated by five full days off. Six days between a home and home? December has one four day break, but that’s expected as it’s situated around Christmas, and January has another four day break, with three full days off. Right, so we were saying the Canucks schedule is packed right? No room to fit in some of those road games earlier right?
The Olympics are an emotionally draining experience. The highs, the lows, for the players on teams that don’t even make it past the group stage of hockey, they’re still going to be in the thick of things and will by no means be resting. The Canucks will likely have at least seven players representing their country at the upcoming 2010 Olympics: The Sedins and Edler for Sweden, Salo for Finland, Kesler for the United States, Christian Ehrhoff for Germany and Luongo for Canada. There’s also the chance Samuelsson will represent Sweden, and pending his health, Demitra is of the calibre that he will represent the Slovaks at the Olympics.
The Canucks could have a total of nine players participating in the 17 day spectacle. Going from a road trip, into 17 days of the greatest international sporting event the world has ever seen, back into a road trip is going to be absurd. The road trip comes close to the stretch drive which means depending where we are in the race for the division and a playoff spot, every night could turn into a must win. The emotional drain from the media in the regular season is bad enough, but to have to deal with the national medias that will be present, the emotional highs and lows of representing your country, and the success or failure of their respective country’s performances at the Olympics, it’s a big concern that we’re going to have players returning drained and fatigued. To subject them to an extended road trip in that state is just a recipe for injury. That’s to say if players like Salo and Demitra make it out of the Olympics injury free.
I don’t know who screwed this up but it’s absurd. Why not throw some of those stupid long breaks in when the Canucks don’t have their home ice. With all the extra days off the Canucks are getting right now, it would have been easy for them to drop those 14 away games to single digits at the least. Gillis stacked up on depth for a reason and my biggest worry is that that’s going to be well warranted. While the road trip doesn’t see the Canucks do a lot of lateral traveling and spend a lot of time on the east coast in the same time zone, with the fatigue snowballed, all the early starts, and a noon start in two of the games on that swing I can’t help but start to worry now. This ridiculous schedule means every game early in the season counts even more. The problem with these long breaks is that the Canucks spend the first 20 minutes trying to find their legs. They did it in the game against Dallas and in a game that was far from pretty came away with the win. If the Canucks can survive the first period they have a good shot at winning. They need all the points they can get now, because there’s no guarantees later in the season.