The Vancouver Canucks’ 2012-13 schedule was released Thursday, and you know what? It’s not half-bad. Mike Gillis even went so far as to call the entire thing “travel-friendly” on the radio Wednesday, and he’s right, at least compared to previous years. The longest road trips are only five games and they’re both out of the way by the end of November. The Canucks only makes 3 trips out East the entire year, they don’t visit Florida, and the trips don’t have them darting all over the globe, willy-nilly, like they’re tracking Carmen Sandiego.
As for the games of note, well, there’s a Saturday night tilt with Boston on the 29th of December that will probably be a lot of fun, although the Canucks conspicuously omitted this one on their list of dates to remember. (This is easy to explain. When Mike Gillis blamed some of the Canucks’ struggles in the back half of the season on emotional exhaustion from last season’s Boston game, the marketing department effectively forfeited the right to make a big deal of this year’s at all. They’d be defenestrated for that.) We’ll probably all enjoy the visit from the Maple Leafs two Saturdays prior, especially if acquire Roberto Luongo some time between them and now, and tilts with the Blackhawks and Red Wings will be as enjoyable as ever.
But let’s not talk about the games we know will be good. Someone else will do that. Instead, let’s take a look at the games I’m pretty sure are going to suck. Here are five that project to be exceedingly lame.
5) FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19: CANUCKS AT BLUE JACKETS
The fifth game of the season is a Friday night dance with the Columbus Blue Jackets — or at least, that’s what it is in Ohio. In Vancouver, it’s a Friday afternoon tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop’s at 4pm Pacific.
Over the course of the season, there will be games that necessitate leaving work early. This is hardly one of them.
First of all, it’s the Blue Jackets. Lame. Second, the Canucks will probably play poor enough to lose, since they’re in Nashville the night prior, it’s their first road trip of the year, they always start the season slow, and they play the Red Wings two nights later, so they’ll likely be looking ahead to that one. Expect bad hockey at an inconvenient time.
4) FRIDAY, JANUARY 18: CANUCK AT BLUES
Here’s another Friday afternoon road game, but it’s not so much the 5pm puck drop that will make this one a slog: the opponent is a factor. The Blues play pretty unriveting hockey, if I recall correctly, and they’re the final stop on a road trip that sees the Canucks play the Maple Leafs, Capitals, and Red Wings.
Plus, the two games before the road trip are versus the Flyers and Avalanche. So basically, we get a string of games that project to be high-octane and exciting, and then everything comes to a screeching halt when an exhausted Canucks’ club meets one of the most stifling, uncreative teams in the NHL. Basically, this game will be like the last 20 minutes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, except with fewer shots of New Zealand’s sweeping, majestic landscape.
Come to think of it, there probably won’t be many shots at all. Lame.
3) SUNDAY, MARCH 10: CANUCKS AT WILD
Games against the Minnesota Wild are already as tedious and flavourless as chewing a tough piece of steak, and thanks to the NHLPA vetoing realignment, we get six such games again this year. Huzzah!
This is game number five, so we’re sure to be sick of the Wild by then, but here’s what guarantees it will be even worse than game number six: it’s at noon on a Sunday.
So basically, you have to skip church, forego a brunch buffet, or get out of bed just to see the Canucks play what will likely be one of their worst games of the year, against an opponent we all hate to watch and hate even more to watch win. Sounds delightful.
2) TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27: CANUCKS AT ISLANDERS
Another 4 p.m. puck drop at the tail end of a road trip, but this one’s made worse because it’s the Islanders. Blech.
Maybe it’s just me, but I sort of hate watching games against the Islanders, especially when they take place in Nassau Coliseum. Even watching on television, that building depresses me. The ice is bad and the puck bounces, the lighting is bad and everything looks kind of sepia-toned and fuzzy as a result, the production value is always really crummy, and if you’re watching in HD, the updates the building requires are as visible as Dan Murphy’s pocket square.
Furthermore, the Islanders are always either so bad they’re boring or so bad it’s infuriating when the Canucks lose to them, and the latter is a distinct possibility because Vancouver plays the Rangers at Madison Square the night prior. This fact is also sure to guarantee that Nassau, hockey’s worst arena, feels even more underwhelming, since it’ll be juxtaposed with hockey’s best.
So basically we have what’s sure to be a bad game at an inconvenient time and it won’t even look good when you watch it. It’s also possible the Islanders are wearing their thirds. If so, this game moves up a spot at least.
1) THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27: CANUCKS AT FLAMES
The back half of a home-and-home with the Calgary Flames.
Everything about this game guarantees its lameness. The fact that we just saw these two teams play the night before. The fact that it’s already the third meeting of the season. The fact that these divisional games don’t have the energy they used to because the Flames aren’t very good. The fact that the Canucks are usually pretty crummy right after the Christmas break. The fact that games broadcast from the Saddledome look like Turkish films from the 1970s on television.
And the fact that, as soon as this home-and-home is over, the Canucks head back to Vancouver to host the Bruins for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup here last June. That’s sure to be much, much more fun. So basically, it’s a repeat of a game that already won’t be very exciting two days before the most exciting game of the year.
Here, my friends, is the 2012-13 schedule’s lamest point.Tags: 2012-13 schedule, Blogs are for lists, Blues, Canucks, Flames, Pessimism, schedule