Rogers Arena will be back in the hockey business starting January 19.
The schedule has been released!
A week after fans first received news that the NHL and its players had finally reached a consensus on a new collective bargaining agreement, the legalities are now complete.
After a brief training camp, the Vancouver Canucks' first game will be on Saturday, January 19 at home against the Anaheim Ducks. They'll wrap up their schedule on April 27 in Edmonton, squeezing 48 games into 99 days.
That's one game every 2.06 days.
In contrast, the 2011-12 season started on October 6 and wrapped on April 7. That's 82 games in 184 days—one game every 2.24 days.
In the lockout-shortened season in 1995, the 48-game schedule extended five days longer, from January 20 to May 3.
Here's a breakdown of the noteworthy details of the 2013 schedule.
The Oilers and Canucks meet five times this year.
In an effort to keep travel obligations as manageable as possible, NHL teams will only play within their conference this year.
Canucks fans will have plenty of opportunity to observe the Edmonton Oilers' young stars in action. Vancouver plays Edmonton and Calgary five times each.
The Canucks will see Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild four times, as well as fellow Northwest Division rivals Colorado Avalanche. Three games are scheduled against each of the Pacific and Central Division teams.
Season ticket holders will see the Calgary Flames three times at Rogers Arena. The Oilers, Wild and Avalanche will each appear twice, along with Anaheim, the Chicago Black Hawks, the St. Louis Blues, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Detroit Red Wings.
Fans will get just one chance to see the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver on Saturday, March 2. Other teams making only a single appearance are the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Los Angeles: at LA January 28, at VAN March 2, at LA March 23
Chicago: at VAN February 1, at CHI February 19,at VAN April 22
St. Louis: at VAN February 17, at VAN March 23, at STL April 16
Detroit: at DET February 24, at VAN March 16, at VAN April 20
Travel will take a bigger toll during the condensed schedule.
West Coast teams like the Canucks know that their travel burden is much heavier than the teams in the Eastern Conference.
The short schedule means more games crammed into less time. However, taking the Eastern teams out of the schedule will mean the Canucks will only set foot in the Eastern time zone three times all year. Two of those times are for the same team on the same trip.
They play Detroit on February 24 to wrap up a tough four-game swing over six nights. Then, they visit Columbus on March 7 and return just five days later on March 12, with a trip to Minnesota sandwiched in between.
Vancouver's first road trip is a three-game swing through California in late January. Their last is a single-game hop to Edmonton to wrap up the season.
In February, the Canucks will log a two-game and a four-game trip. March sees a single game in Calgary and two three-game trips. A two-game swing straddles the end of March and beginning of April.
Then, there's a big five-game trip over nine nights in mid-April—through Calgary, Denver, Nashville, St. Louis and Dallas. The outcome of those games could determine whether or not the season will be considered a success.
The Canucks have invested a good deal of effort over the years in managing their travel, as coach Alain Vigneault told Ben Kuzma of The Province.
"We’ve been doing it the right way for a long time," said Vigneault. "The schedule is going to be hard but it’s nothing that we haven’t gone through."
Anyway, maybe travel is not such a big deal after all.
In 2011-12, the team that logged the most travel miles in the regular season was none other than the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings (per Dirk Hoag at ontheforecheck.com).
The Canucks and Kings meet March 2 on Hockey Night in Canada.
According to canucks.com, the Canucks will be featured on national television in Canada 14 times this season, with nine appearances on U.S. television.
TSN will be broadcasting six matchups—five at Rogers Arena and Vancouver's first meeting of the year with the Kings in Los Angeles on January 28.
Eight games will be on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada—six from Rogers Arena and two road games from Edmonton. Both visits from the Detroit Red Wings will be Saturday night national games.
As of January 13, Rogers Sportsnet has yet to release the local broadcast schedule.
The Canucks will face some tough sections in their schedule.
Here's a quick look at three of the more daunting parts of the Canucks' schedule:
January 25 - 28: Friday at Anaheim, Sunday at San Jose, Monday at Los Angeles
The dreaded three-in-four-nights road trip to California is more challenging than ever this year. The team will have to fly from Anaheim up to the Bay Area, then back down to Los Angeles for an emotionally charged game against the Kings. This will be the Canucks' first real test of the year.
February 19 - 24: Tuesday at Chicago, Thursday at Dallas, Friday at Nashville, Sunday afternoon at Detroit
This four-in-six Central Division jaunt is a tough one. An intense contest against the Hawks precedes back-to-backs in Dallas and Nashville. The trip concludes with a 5:00 p.m. local start in Detroit two days later.
March 10 - 30: 12 games in 21 days
The Ides of March bring the most condensed stretch of games. For three weeks, the team will never have more than one day off between games. There's an equal split of home and road games, including some tough opponents like Nashville, Detroit, St. Louis and Los Angeles. The team's depth will likely be tested most during this segment.
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