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.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.