Lay of the land
After weeks of speculation and teasing, the NHL finally decided to release the 2013-14 regular season schedule on Friday.
To the surprise of pretty much no one, the NHL players will be returning to the Olympics and usually that can mean a gong show of a schedule – but I’ve got to admit, there’s a lot to like about what the Canucks have on the calendar for this season.
Something for everyone: It’s been years since every single team has taken to the ice in Vancouver and this season finally ends that streak. It felt wrong to never see certain teams from the East and be subjected to endless games against the Flames, Wild and Oilers.
This year changes all that – thank god.
Back to back: The Canucks have a scary 16 back to back games this season, including a total of 10 back to backs on the road. In other words, whoever the back-up goalie may be will see some action. Of course we still have to wait and see if Luongo will ever emerge from Florida or the poker room.
Flamers: One of the unfortunate aspects of divisional play is that we will see Calgary a total of four times in Vancouver. And that includes a visit to the Rogers Centre once a month in 2014. I’m already looking forward to the puck battles between Lee Stempniak and Brad Richardson…
Californication: The flip side to divisional play is that the Canucks are now in a half-decent division. That means we’ll get regular doses of the Sharks, Kings and Ducks. San Jose and Vancouver have developed a nice little rivalry over the years and the LA should be a measuring stick.
Playing in the same division as Anaheim increases our chances of getting to see Teemu Selanne more often – which is never a bad thing.
Roadie: Teams always say they like to go on the road early to develop chemistry and the good news for the Canucks is they will have ample opportunity to do so. The Canucks hit the road for 13 of their first 20 games, including a seven game east coast trip in October.
Pack those bags boys!
State hopping: Another weird roadie takes place in late November and early December. The Canucks travel to Ottawa on Nov. 28, then two days later have an 11 a.m. game in New York, followed up by a 10 a.m. game in Carolina the next day. Vancouver then jumps to Nashville two days later to complete the trip.
That should be a longgggg week.
FABULOUS FIVE – BEST HOME GAMES TO CHECK OUT
- Oct. 8 vs. New Jersey – The return of Schneider, will he get the start?
- Dec. 14 vs. Boston – The Bruins first trip to Vancouver since Game Seven – alert the authorities
- Jan. 1 vs. Tampa Bay – Sami Salo returns to Vancouver. What type of injury will he suffer? Will the nurses at VGH remember him? I can’t wait!
- March 2 vs. Ottawa – I know I whined about the outdoor game before but this should be interesting to see. Can’t wait to see Peter Sidorkiewicz and Doug Smail on the Sens alumni team.
- April 1 vs. NYR – April Fool’s Day and who will end up being the fool behind the bench? It’s always a treat to see the Blueshirts in town but the coaching shuffle will add a new wrinkle.