With the 2011-12 season rapidly approaching, the gang at PHT decided to take a look at all 30 NHL teams’ schedules. Each team’s highs and lows will be studied in detail to give you an idea of what the future might hold for each squad.
Vancouver Canucks schedule analysis
Total mileage: 46,826 (ninth highest total in NHL, but only fourth in the Northwest Division)
Back-to-back games: 11
There’s no buffer for the defending Western Conference champions this season. After starting the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that may get a little media coverage, the Canucks head out on the road for a four game road trip—a trip that includes a back-to-back against Philadelphia and Detroit.
Between November 1 – 26, the Canucks will be forced to play nine of twelve games away from home. The span opens with a six-game road trip that features a trip to Chicago and a back-to-back in southern California to finish. After three games at home, they head back on the road for three more including a back-to-back in Phoenix and San Jose.
The NHL better take a bite out of the Canucks early because it’s going to be tough to slow them down at the end of the season. In the event that the Northwest Division is still up for grabs in March, the Canucks will play 13 of their last 18 games in beautiful Vancouver. Within that span of games, they’ll have a season-long seven game homestand between March 1 and March 17 when they should start racking up the points. Then again, it’s doubtful the Canucks are going to be desperate for points at the end of the season.
Welcome to the Northwest Division: where a team can travel almost 47,000 miles and have fans in the division complain because almost everyone else has to travel more. Don’t be surprised if the Canucks start a little slow this season. The combination of a tough schedule through October and November and a potential Stanley Cup final hangover mean it may take some time for the Canucks to hit their stride.
Once they hit their stride, watch out. The relatively easy schedule to finish the season and six games against each of their Northwest Division rivals mean there will be ample opportunity to stockpile victories.