Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/14/13
Sweet Glorious Hockey It hasn’t fully sunken in yet that Canucks hockey is coming back, and is soon to consume this country in what promises to be a very entertaining 48 game dash to the playoffs. It’s going to be a silly season. After going so long without the game, it’s returning at double time with a very short training camp and no exhibition games. We’ve seen the playoff race parity grow in recent years, and when you add a condensed schedule, games that essentially count for double and a whole lot of players who haven’t played a competitive game of hockey in a long long time and the playoff race will probably resemble this. It’s going to be chaotic, I can’t wait. The schedule’s out now, and it’s an interesting read. All 48 games are with Western Conference opponents, four against the Northwest crew and three against everyone else. Here’s the ones that immediately made me take notice. January 19 v Anaheim Ducks / January 20 v Edmonton Oilers Opening weekend, enough said. The Canucks will hit the ground running with back-to-back home games this weekend, and you get to see just what the 2013 Edmonton Oilers are all about, what with their youth and mid-season playing shape. Two games against two teams that failed to make the playoffs last year should be a perfect litmus test to see where this Canucks team is at. Besides, Ducks games are always weird. January 28 @ Los Angeles Kings Remember the 2012 playoffs? It’s not really worth it. The Canucks were shocked by the Kings, causing the entire #freeroberto confusion that lingers on forever because no one had realized yet that this Kings team was destined for the cup. So, revenge will be in the LA air on this night. It won’t be the type of sideshow revenge that we saw when the Canucks strolled into Boston a year ago, but there will be an edge to this game. Get ready to hate the Hawks again. – (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Febuary 1 v Chicago Blackhawks / February 19 @ Chicago Blackhawks The Los Angeles Kings might owe Duncan Keith a cup ring. His vicious elbow to Daniel Sedin sent to the Canucks into disarray that ultimately led to their futile first round. So again, revenge. This might resemble the Boston game. As an added bonus, the teams meet again in Chicago two and a half weeks later, with the game on the first surely still fresh in their minds. Get ready to hate the Hawks again. February 24 @ Detroit Red Wings / April 18 @ Dallas Stars These games will be very tough, because they’re both the final games of the two longest road trips of the year, and this is when you’re going to hate the compressed schedule. The first starts in Chicago, puts the Canucks in Dallas two days later, Nashville the next night, and finishes in Detroit a couple days after. The second kicks off when the Canucks fly into Denver from Calgary, play in Nashville two days later, St Louis the night after, and finishes in Dallas. Travel! April 27 v Edmonton Oilers It’s either the last game before the playoffs or the last game of a year where the Canucks must have hilariously imploded. Helps that it’s against the Oilers and on CBC. Doesn’t help that means Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes and their book report style of commentary, but anyway! This will be the culmination of a year that I don’t think anyone can accurately predict. So yeah, let’s do this.  CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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