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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).