Due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Canucks will enter the NHL record book by embarking on an epic 14-game road trip...or so sayeth the propaganda machine, anyway. In reality, the Canucks take an 8-game, 16-day trip prior to the two-week Olympic break, then go back out on a 6-game, 9-day tour immediately after the Olympics.
The majority of the first trip takes place in the Eastern time zone, beginning with games at Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Boston. The pre-Olympics trip also includes what the immortal Mo Wanchuk (R.I.P., Brad Sullivan) would call a "Southern Tour", in which the Canucks play just two games in five days while down in F-L-A. Following the second Sunshine State game (vs. the Panthers), Vancouver travels to Columbus for their only back-to-back set of the trip, then makes a brief stop in Minnesota on their way back home for the two-week Olympic break.
The post-Games sojourn is tougher, as back-to-back sets bookend the six-game trip (at Columbus/Detroit and Colorado/Phoenix), with stops in Chicago and Nashville in between. While their second trip may prove more difficult, Vancouver should benefit from it - the road is a great place for a team to come together and shake off the rust after a two-week layoff.
The Canucks' reward for playing 14 consecutive road games is this: They play 10 of their last 15 games at home, with only two back-to-back sets. One of those B2Bs is at Los Angeles and Anaheim, so they don't even have to travel between games. I'd say the NHL provided ample compensation for the "Longest Road Trip in League History", and if Vancouver somehow fails to make the playoffs, it won't be because of their Olympic odyssey.
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