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Thursday March 11, 2010 9:05 pm

Bringing the boys back home




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Shane O'BrienIt’s been a long-time coming. 42 days, 14 games in 13 cities, and 13,000 miles later, the longest road trip in NHL history is officially over. The Canucks are heading back to Vancouver for their first home game since Jan. 27 at the formerly-named Canada Hockey Place. The Canucks went 8-5-1 during the trip which, all things considered, is just about what could be hoped for from the road-weary skaters. After Wednesday’s shootout loss to Phoenix, the only thing any Canuck could possibly want is a night in his own bed.

GM Place shut the doors to their permanent tenants as it was renamed and refurbished for the 2010 Olympics. The Canucks themselves were locked out of the locker room and, with the exception of those competing in the Olympics, had a two-week break during the road trip like the rest of the league. But knowing that they were making history perhaps an unwanted way, the relaxation period for the Canucks was probably not all they hoped it would be.

The Olympic break did not stagger the games very well. Vancouver played eight of their 14 games prior to the Olympics with several off-days and only one back-to-back set of games. They went 4-4. Post-Olympics, they played six games in nine days, going 4-1-1. The rest certainly seems to have helped re-charge their batteries, and they’ll need every bit of rest they can get down the stretch as they currently sit atop the Northwest Division, but have Colorado mere points behind them.

10 out of Vancouver’s final 15 games are home, including the next five before a quick day trip to Edmonton and back. The Canucks will be welcoming several struggling teams to their ice and will certainly be looking to make a good impression on their fans that have been without their team for a month and a half. If the Canucks had something to prove during their road trip, and they definitely proved it, but performing well over the last month will mean nothing if they can’t repeat their success over the next month as well.

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