The Canucks’ 2013 schedule: upsides, downsides, and five notable dates

While the NHL lockout ended last Sunday morning, it actually didn’t officially end until late Saturday night, when the NHLPA ratified the CBA, the memorandum of understanding was signed, the rosters were unfrozen, and the 2013 NHL schedule was released. Also, someone waved a green flag. We are, ladies and gentlemen, officially back in business.

Let’s talk about the schedule. You might recall that, before the 2012 half of 2012-13 was hacked away by idiocy and the league had to rewrite the whole bloody thing, the Canucks were fairly happy with this year’s schedule. You’ll be pleased to know that the revamped calendar will likely satisfy them as well.

As usual, Vancouver will be one of the most-traveled teams. According to On the Forecheck, the Canucks will rack up 29,117 travel miles in the 48-game season. Only the Minnesota Wild (31,345) and the Dallas Stars (29,482) will cover more ground.

But, while the Canucks will spend a lot of time in the air, they still managed to catch a serious break in the densely-packed schedule: they are one of only 6 teams with 7 or fewer back-to-backs.

The other 5: the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, all of whom will play on consecutive nights 7 times — save the Rangers, who somehow escaped with only 6 such scenarios. Sometimes operating in the city where the schedule is being rewritten pays off.

The Rangers aren’t the only team that stands out from this group, however. The Canucks are the only franchise in the 7 back-to-backs or less club that isn’t from the East. Thus, Vancouver will play the fewest back-to-backs in the Western Conference. In a condensed sprint like this one, that’s a major break.

The entire schedule can be viewed here, but here are a few dates that stand out to us:

1 | Saturday, January 19: Canucks vs. Ducks

This one jumps out for two reasons: first, it’s the first Canucks game in nine freaking months, but second, it’s the first game on what’s expected to be Teemu Selanne’s farewell tour. Unless he finds a way to get his hands on the Suntots’ magic coral, which preserves youth eternally, the Finnish forward is likely playing his last NHL season, and the Canucks will factor heavily into it, as  Selanne begins the year in Vancouver.

But, what’s more, is that he also ends it in Vancouver, in a sense. Selanne’s final game will take place in Anaheim, which was absolutely the right thing to do, but his last road game is in the same place as his first: Vancouver. The Teemu Selanne goodbye tour begins and ends in Vancouver. That’s cool.

2 | Monday, January 28: Canucks at Kings

TSN hosts the first meeting of the year between the Canucks and the Stanley Cup champion Kings, who made hasty work of them in last year’s playoffs. Between last year’s feisty series and the likelihood that the road to the Stanley Cup will, at some point, see these two teams colliding, this should be a very fun game.

3 | Friday, February 1: Blackhawks at Canucks

The last time the Blackhawks and Canucks came together, Duncan Keith’s elbow also came together with Daniel Sedin’s face. Something tells me the Canucks haven’t forgotten that. Now, obviously, I’m not advocating that someone do the same back to him — Lord knows we’ve seen enough carnage as the result of an ill-conceived bounty in this city — but if anyone deserves to get surreptitiously bitten by Alex Burrows…

4 | Friday, February 15: Stars at Canucks

It’s the return of Aaron Rome! Definitely worth a watch, if only to catch Alain Vigneault’s forlorn glances to the Dallas bench.

5 | Monday, March 18: Wild at Canucks

It’s not often that we consider a date with the Wild a game of note, and the Canucks’ fourth and final meeting with the new home of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter isn’t likely to be a barn-burner. But this game is notable nonetheless, because it’s the first game of the Canucks toughest stretch of the year: five games in seven nights. The night after the Wild, the Blues visit, then two nights later, it’s the Coyotes. Finally, the Canucks hit the road for another back-to-back, this time versus the Kings and Avalanche.

On the bright side, then they get three days off. Granted, there’s a Blue Jackets game in there somewhere, but, you know, Columbus.

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9 comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 13, 2013

    Friday, February 1: Hi Keith.

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  2. Brent
    January 13, 2013

    Well if there is any retribution on Keith, I just hope it is a clean body check (or hip check). No body deserves a concussion, even Keilth.

    Looking forward to the first LA game, hope we have solidified the second line centre by then.

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  3. Dani
    January 13, 2013

    You totally picked the wrong Dallas game, Harrison. Thursday, February 21: Canucks at Stars, also known as Dani’s first Canucks game. :P

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  4. Meg
    January 13, 2013

    Will you guys be doing a bandwagon fan cheat sheet again this year? I have some friends who are new Canucks fans (or they will be soon if they want to remain my friends) and that would be really helpful!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 13, 2013

      Absolutely. Normally we drop that in mid-January or so, but we’ll probably save it for February or early March, since we really have nothing to go on yet.

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  5. Naturalmystic
    January 13, 2013

    Oilers have a 9 game road trip over 16 days. Oilers have the worst extended road trip in the league. On the bright side the Canucks will have a nice long rest this summer after being swept in the first round.

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    • Kesler's Nose
      January 15, 2013

      Finally a wise man,other than myself, has entered the fold….. Oilers will be good this year.

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  6. jenny wren
    January 13, 2013

    While I admit some gratitude
    Eff you remains my attitude
    Though I’ll be there to see them play
    When I’ll forgive’s is far away

    Corporate sponsors players too
    And most of all the owners knew
    That from their games I’d not abstain
    Although I’ll watch with much disdain

    I wish I could with Whisky Jack
    Just stay away and not come back
    Remove my flags from both my trucks
    And nevermore cheer the Canucks

    Because that’s not how things will be
    I find I am ashamed of me

    PS

    As for this little video
    It should have played four months ago

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  7. Rituro
    January 14, 2013

    Ah, magic coral – the original unobtanium.

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