Canucks playoffs could start Sunday after team complained: report

The Vancouver Canucks have clinched the Pacific Division title and have just one game remaining until the real fun begins.

Rogers Arena will soon host its first Stanley Cup playoff game in nine years, and the Canucks will have home-ice advantage. Their most likely first-round opponent is the Nashville Predators, but there’s still a chance they could face the Vegas Golden Knights or Los Angeles Kings.

Also uncertain is when their playoff journey will begin.

The NHL plans to start the playoffs on Saturday, but it’s unlikely the Canucks will play that day because they’re one of six teams that play their regular season finale on Thursday.

Perhaps that’s why the league was looking at starting the Canucks on Tuesday, as Elliotte Friedman reported earlier in the week.

But not so fast.

Sunday is the more likely start date, according to Patrick Johnston of Postmedia.

“I heard the Canucks and the Predators both complained,” Rick Dhaliwal said this morning on Donnie and Dhali. “It looks like it could start this Sunday as opposed to next Tuesday.”

It appears Nashville was concerned about having too long a layoff, given they already wrapped up their regular season schedule two days ago.

Starting Tuesday also isn’t ideal due to busy concert schedules in both Vancouver and Nashville. Justin Timberlake (April 29), 21 Savage (May 1), and Pearl Jam (May 4 and 6) are all playing Rogers Arena in the coming weeks.

Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, meanwhile, has three concerts scheduled during the first round: Tim McGraw (April 25), The Postal Service with Death Cab for Cutie (April 29), and Gloria Trevi (May 4).

Starting Tuesday may necessitate having games in back-to-back days later in the series, perhaps between Game 5 and 6 or Game 6 and 7. There aren’t two conference rivals in the NHL that are further apart geographically than Vancouver and Nashville, which are separated by more than 3,270 kilometres.

The playoff schedule will be revealed in full by Thursday night when the NHL regular season wraps up.