Canucks Take Their Act on the Road ... for 14 Straight Games
At 14 games, the Canucks' consecutive run of road games this season surpasses the previous mark of 11, which was set by two teams (h/t Elias Sports Bureau). The Flames took their act on the road when the Olympics were hosted by Calgary in 1988. In 2005-06, the booking of a family ice show forced the Philadelphia Flyers to play 11 straight road games around the holidays.
According to Canucks Director of Media Relations and Team Operations T.C. Carling, the team has worked on the trip for over a year.
"The fact is, in Vancouver we're used to long trips -- five games in 10 days, that sort of thing," said Carling. "Our management wanted to pay attention to every detail so our players are in position to be their best."
For example, Vancouver hired a company that specializes in "fatigue management." Although Carling would not identify the consultants, he said they have worked with sports teams, music groups and Fortune 500 businesses helping them plan trips to maximize the efficiency of personnel.
The marathon business trip is actually two swings, divided by the Olympic Games. Canucks GM Mike Gillis and Hockey Operations VP Laurence Gilman worked with the league's schedule makers on an eight-game, pre-Olympics jaunt in the Eastern time zone with the exception of a final game in Minnesota:
Jan. 30 at Toronto
Feb. 2 at Montreal
Feb. 4 at Ottawa
Feb. 6 at Boston
Feb. 9 at Tampa Bay
Feb. 11 at Florida
Feb. 12 at Columbus
Feb. 14 at Minnesota
There is only one set of back-to-back games, a huge plus in this season of the condensed schedule. The game in Minnesota is a matinee that takes the Canucks back west and closer to home before the break.
Vancouver management has decided that all seven of the team's Olympians -- no matter how their countries fare at the Games -- will fly together on March 1 for the second leg of the road trip. "We want our players to enjoy the full experience," said Carling. "Whether they make it to the medal round or win the gold, the guys will be able to attend the Closing Ceremonies."
March 2 at Columbus
March 3 at Detroit
March 5 at Chicago
March 7 at Nashville
March 9 at Colorado
March 10 at Phoenix
Earlier this season the Canucks had two four-game trips and one five-game trip, so six games may take them all over the country, but this second swing is not the end of the world.