Vancouver Canucks get lots of road work early as 2012-13 NHL schedule released
Fourteen of team's first 23 games next season are away from home
OCT. 11, 2012: That's the date the Vancouver Canucks are scheduled to open their 2012-13 NHL regular season schedule in Calgary against the Flames.
Photograph by: Gerry Thomas, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks open the 2012-13 National Hockey League season on the road, which is where they will spend considerable time in October and November.
The Canucks play 14 of their first 23 games on the road, starting on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Calgary against the Flames and their new head coach Bob Hartley.
Vancouver plays its home opener two nights later at Rogers Arena against the Edmonton Oilers.
The NHL on Thursday released its schedule, one that is threatened by the possibility of a work stoppage as the league's collective bargaining agreement with its players is set to expire on Sept. 15.
The Canucks’ schedule once again features games against every other NHL team.
Vancouver will play six games against fellow Northwest Division clubs (24 total) and four games against each of the 10 non-divisional clubs in the Western Conference (40 total).
The remaining 18 games are split into nine home and nine away games against against Eastern Conference opponents. The Canucks will play home-and-away series against Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
The Canadiens visit Rogers Arena on Nov. 3, the Senators are here on Dec. 8 and the Maple Leafs pay a visit on Dec. 15. The Canucks play their only game against the Winnipeg Jets in the Manitoba capital on Feb. 9.
"You can't overcome geography," assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said Thursday. "The fact of the matter is we're the most northwest club [and] travel more miles than any team. We work with the league to make the most efficient schedule possible. We feel the league has done a very good job on our schedule. We're relatively pleased with it."
According to blogger Dirk Hoag of ontheforecheck.com, five other teams will log more miles than the Canucks next season. The Dallas Stars will be the most-travelled team next season, logging 49,851 miles. The Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers will also all log more miles than the 46,706 miles put in by the Canucks next season.
The Philadelphia Flyers, with 27,541 miles, will do the least amount of travel next season among the 30 NHL teams.
Other highlights of the Canucks’ schedule include the first of two visits by the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 17. The Boston Bruins meet the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Dec. 29 and this time, Hockey Night in Canada will televise the game. Last season, HNIC passed on the Canucks-Bruins Stanley Cup rematch because of its early Saturday afternoon start time in Boston.
The Chicago Blackhawks make the first of their two visits to Vancouver on Nov. 15.
The Canucks get the worst of their travel done early. The schedule features two five-game road trips and both come in the first two months of the season.
On Oct. 18, the Canucks begin a five-game trip in Nashville that also makes stops in Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Dallas. On Nov. 22, the Canucks begin another five-game trip in Ottawa that also includes games versus Montreal, the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Buffalo.
Vancouver's schedule includes 11 sets of back-to-back games, eight of which come on the road. One of the toughest comes early when the Canucks play in Detroit on Oct. 22 and then play in Pittsburgh the next night.
"We have less three-games-in-four nights and four-games-in-six-nights stretches," Gilman said. "Our travel through the time zones is the way we prefer. We're pleased, but it's tough playing 82 games in 185 days when you have to cross three time zones."
Only the San Jose Sharks, with nine, play fewer sets of back-to-back games next season than the Canucks. Vancouver has a league-low six one-game road trips.
The Canucks close out their season with three homes games against Calgary (April 6), Phoenix (April 8) and Edmonton (April 11).
The schedule includes 15 home stands and 15 road trips. The busiest day of the week is Thursday, with 21 games, followed by 15 Saturday games.
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