Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Jonathan Willis
July 16 2009 09:03AM

timetable

Back in January, TSN had an article up on their website about Canucks’ GM Mike Gillis approaching the NHL to request a softer schedule. With the NHL schedule coming out yesterday, what has the result been?

Dirk Hoag of the excellent blog On The Forecheck was good enough to do up a chart comparing the schedules of all thirty NHL teams this season and last season.

Let’s take a look at the schedules of all three teams and see how they compare – starting with Vancouver, since I’m curious as to Mike Gillis’ success.

Vancouver Canucks

  • 2008-09 Miles: 51206
  • 2009-10 Miles: 48221
  • Difference: -2985

The Canucks have made some significant strides forward, although hosting the Olympics also adds an extra wrinkle to their schedule: an NHL-record 14-game road trip. For 45 days, the Canucks will not play at GM Place, but despite that the team was happy with the schedule. Canucks assistant G.M. Laurence Gilman:

“The league was very accommodating with respect to our concerns about flipping through different time zones on trips so, while we have some some longer trips, we are actually covering less miles than the Canucks ever have in the past. “It should save some wear and tear on our players, but it’s also a much more efficient use of our time and energy.”

Edmonton Oilers

  • 2008-09 Miles: 49941
  • 2009-10 Miles: 49191
  • Difference: -750

The Oilers’ overall mileage hasn’t significantly changed from last season, but the league did significantly imrpove the schedule in one area: the Oilers have gone from 16 back-to-back games to 11; a number lower than any other team in the NHL. Additionally, the schedule doesn’t feature the ridiculous imbalance of last year, where the Oilers played most of the first half on the road. Oilers VP Allan Watt:

"I can tell you the hockey side is way more comfortable with this year's schedule than they were the last one."

Calgary Flames

  • 2008-09 Miles: 52941
  • 2009-10 Miles: 55331
  • Difference: +2390

The Calgary Flames must have done something to irritate the schedule makers because they have the worst schedule in the NHL. The league actually increased the number of miles they have to fly; no other team is even close to having the same number of miles (Dallas is next at 51182). Even worse, while Calgary has a below-average number of back-to-back games (14) Matt at Battle of Alberta pointed out that the twice play four games in five nights. In both cases, the Flames play exclusively against Western Conference foes; twice against the Oilers, once against the Wild and once against the Canucks in the second games of those back-to-backs.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Harlie
July 16 2009, 09:10AM
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haha at the Flames! It's about time someone else got the short end of the stick. I wonder how JayBo will enjoy living on an airplane!?

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#2 OvenChicken8
July 16 2009, 09:11AM
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Well I am happy that the flamers will have a tougher schedule. Here's to hoping they finish lower than us at the end of next season :)

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#3 Bob Cob
July 16 2009, 09:21AM
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The Flames are going to need all those D-men by the end of the season with all that travel. Hahahahaha, Take that ya stupid Hosers!

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#4 The Pestival
July 16 2009, 09:36AM
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Apparently Wanye was over at NHL HQ providing sexual favours to Monsieurs Schedule Makers.

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#5 douggy
July 16 2009, 10:53AM
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hahaha. take that brokeback flamers!

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#6 Kent
July 16 2009, 11:36AM
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@ Harlie:

Calgary had the second toughest travel schedule last year, so it's not like this is anything new for them. I'm guessing they'll be struck by the injury bug again near the end of the season.

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#7 Pustin Denner
July 16 2009, 01:07PM
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Hahaha. Take that stupid Flames! I hope their plane crashes this year.

...too far?

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#8 Librarian Mike
July 16 2009, 01:32PM
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@ Pustin Denner:

Maybe a little too far. We've got enough bad karma up here.

Not only are the Flames going to be tired, I'll be Phaneuf will get frustrated from his head constantly setting off the airport metal detectors.

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#9 Harlie
July 16 2009, 01:55PM
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p.s - thanks for the article J-dub...I wondered the miles logged for this season compared to last season

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#10 Archaeologuy
July 16 2009, 07:02PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

Not only are the Flames going to be tired, I’ll be Phaneuf will get frustrated from his head constantly setting off the airport metal detectors.

He's still trying to figure out how they make the big flying box get from his city to a completely different city in the time it takes to watch a movie. All those flashing lights and sounds from the metal detectors are probably a welcome distraction from all that complex thinkery he does.

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#11 Librarian Mike
July 16 2009, 07:17PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Hopefully he has a talking car too:

Phaneuf + 'The door is ajar' = upper body injury

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#12 The Wiz
July 16 2009, 09:30PM
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And here I thought that Edmonton always had the most travel in the league... The sort of thing that wimpy free agents are so intimidated by year after year. Go figure.

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