Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

A glimpse at life in the bubble and how the Canucks will finally have help in the travel department

The furthest team in the west, the Vancouver Canucks are notorious for having a tough travel schedule.

The closest geographical rival to the Canucks are the Calgary Flames, but that will change when the NHL’s newest team steps onto the ice at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle in 2021, barring any setback.

This season alone, the Canucks travelled roughly 64,423 km, including the trip to Phoenix and back once the pause took place. Now the only trip left for the team is to the hub city in Edmonton, and they’re already there.

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Bubble hockey 

The Canucks arrived in the bubble this past Sunday. The players, primarily in polos and joggers, made it seem as though the Canucks will implement a rather relaxed dress code for the remainder of their stay in Edmonton.

It was rather kind of the hotel to let the Canucks put up pictures of mountain ranges, water views, and city skyscrapers — or basically an ad for Travel Alberta — on their floor.

Just like out of town bantam tourneys, the Canucks have a pingpong table. Someone tell Eriksson to take it easy on the team’s MVP there.

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A team that travels as much as the Canucks already have a considerable amount of camaraderie. Add in the nostalgia of younger days where you get your teammates and play some mini sticks in the hallways. That might take the pressure off of some players to perform their best.

Road warriors

The only travel left for the Canucks is a 400m or 350m walk, depending on which route they take from the hotel to the rink. The Canucks have an opportunity that is unknown to them. Yes, every team has the same advantage, but other organizations have opponents that are within a one hour flight of them. LA, Anaheim, San Jose and even Vegas are all closer to one another than the Canucks are to the Flames.

Meanwhile, in the East, teams are bunched up together and have a much better travel schedule during the postseason as a result.

To put it in perspective; during the 2011 run, the Canucks travelled 33,458 miles within the conference while Boston travelled 7,226 miles. These numbers include the all-around trips made to and from the city. The Canucks travelled 26,000 miles more than the Bruins.

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When rest and recovery matter the most during this time of year to excel, the Canucks will finally benefit from not picking up frequent flyer points and be on an even playing field as whoever they meet in these playoffs.

Canucks get Kraken 

As for the regular season, the Canucks will also get a significant boost and finally have a logical geographical rival.

With Seattle unveiling their team name and sweaters, the Cascade rival is that much closer. Canucks vs. Kraken will take some time to get acquainted with, but once the puck drops at the Climate Pledge Arena, Canucks fans can finally go to an away game and make it back home to sleep in their bed.

Having Seattle in the NHL will be massive for Canucks travel, but maybe the organization might call Tesla and ask if they’ve started building electric planes for the trips outside the Pacific Northwest.

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A Hellebuyck of a time

We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Vezina nominee Connor Hellebuyck isn’t in net for the Minnesota Wild.

In the only tune-up game before the series against Minnesota, the Canucks came out storming Wednesday night. The top six looked fast and hungry, and the only thing missing was lady luck. As for the bottom six, well, let’s just hope they’ve dusted off the rust before Sunday.

The two biggest shocks came from two former top six draft picks, scratching Jake Virtanen and his 18 goals and the surprise 7th defenceman Olli Juolevi standing out and earning a spot on the playoff roster. What does this mean for Virtanen? Will he get a chance in the play in, or is the writing on the wall for him?

With under seven minutes of ice Wednesday against the Jets, Juolevi didn’t look out of place but he’ll likely only play in the event of an injury. Nonetheless, it’s a promising sign for someone who has battled a slew of injuries. This camp has put Juolevi on notice once again. He can become an everyday NHLer and will be fighting for a spot come next season.

With the qualifying round kicking off today and the Canucks” play-in series against the Wild starting tomorrow, the team will be well-rested when they take the ice. Let’s hear your bold predictions for game one below!