The league has begun to take steps to help the Canucks’ road issues next season and [GM Mike] Gillis is optimistic things will improve.
“I think we have a great chance. In fact, we’ve got a draft in place for about 38 of our road games for next season already, which is unheard of,” Gillis told Team1040.
“They made us a number one priority in terms of travel for a variety of reasons. One of them is injury history, crossing borders, and the fact that geographically, we don’t have a team within a couple or three hours of us.”
In the interview, Gillis notes that the analysts of the Canucks “Fatigue Management Program”—which started studying the team last October— actually “predicted where we would have a real problem. And it’s not ironic, it happened when we played that three-game segment where we were in Nashville and then went to Atlanta (Jan 1st and 2nd), they predicted that after that we would have a serious fatigue issue because of the number of games we played in the previous ten days and that type of travel and they were bang-on.”
The promise that the NHL’s schedule makers will focus more attention to Vancouver’s travel issues next year is great cause for optimism for both the team and fans. And while I’m not inclined to put the recent problems too much on fatigue/travel issues, I have no trouble believing that exceptional schedule challenges have payed a noteworthy part in their difficulties at times, both this year and in the past.