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Optimist Prime - 10.16.2009

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Breaks can be good and breaks can be bad.

Coffee breaks, good.

Commercial breaks, bad.

Break dancing, good.

Break and enter, bad.

Tax breaks, good.

Lengthy breaks for the Vancouver Canucks, bad.

Do the NHL schedule makers not know that only penciling in one Canucks game over a seven-day stretch makes one weak?

From the last Optimist Prime check in until now, Vancouver has only faced off once, beating the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a shootout last Sunday night.

By the time the Canucks trample the Calgary Flames on Friday, four whole nights will have passed without a peep from the lifeblood of British Columbia. Like the “new” Jay Leno without his desk, it just hasn’t felt right.

That’s kind of the theme of this season though, as the Canucks are playing one of the zaniest schedules ever. Two games in eight days, check. Five in seven days, check. One in seven days, check. This year has a little of everything, capped off by 14 consecutive road games between January 30 and March 13.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to optimize the longest road trip in NHL history, not even a Dalai Lama/Forrest Gump love child could do that. Although after some reflection my view of this sporadic schedule, long breaks included, is sunny side up, surprise, surprise.

Lengthy breaks, like what we just endured and the one during the third week of November, are good for two reasons: rest and relaxation and highs and lows.

These days off give Daniel Sedin, Sami Salo, Pavol Demitra, Mathieu Schneider and Jannik Hansen a chance to rest up without missing any action. Right now they’re all like foosball players without legs, so time off is good.

The flip side of the schedule is that long breaks means more games packed into tighter time frames. While the NHL deserves kudos for not increasing the amount of back-to-back games this season, the Canucks still have a few stretches that aren’t pretty.

Vancouver’s schedule doesn’t quite rival that of an MLB squad, but throughout December and March it will feel like there’s a game every day. This will definitely play in our favour as more games means less time to get too high or too low and an even-keeled Canucks team is like the straight piece in Tetris, good in any situation.

Wacky Standings

Have you seen which team is on top in the Northwest Division?

The Colorado Avalanche have somehow jumped out to a 5-1-1 start – shocking, I know. And no, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy aren’t still with the team.

No need to fret. Like college newbies who show up to a shindig ready to party like it’s 1999, drink everything in sight in the first 45 minutes and then pass out for the rest of the night, the Avalanche will be zonked before long. (And hopefully covered in marker)

Over in the East the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing as much as Vanna White since Wheel of Fortune invested in letters that don’t need to be turned, aka nothing.

The Leafs are falling and not just because of a change in seasons, that team in straight up Jonas Brothers bad. If they lose on Saturday to the New York Rangers, their next chance to collect win numbero uno on the season will be next weekend in Vancouver.

My spidey senses are already telling me that in that game the Canucks will take the Leafs down to Know Your Role Boulevard, which is on the corner of Jabroni Drive, and check them directly into the Smackdown Hotel.

Nuff said.

Who is Optimist Prime? He's an eternal Canucks believer whose glass is always half full, even when it's empty.

Throughout the 2009-10 season, Optimist will take a lighthearted look at the Canucks while never losing the faith. It's Cup time baby!

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