Now that I've finally been able to take a long look at the schedule. I really like what I see. First for the highlights.
- We only have 11 back to back this year. This was incredibly challenging last year, considering we usually had a time zone jump. Steve Mason will also appreciate this. The goalie is the position you see drained the most often on back-to-back. This should guarantee we see Garon at least 11 times... hopefully.
Considering how the schedule is condensed for the Olympic break, this is a blessing for the team. We do have a few 3 in 4 nights, but every team will be facing that stuff this year.
- The EC repeats are Isles, Penguins, and Capitals. Not a bad draw.
- We don't have to go to Toronto so we don't have to worry as much about Nash getting kidnapped.
-Sympathy for the 14 game roadie for the Nucks. If that starts bad, it could be totally draining. I'd wonder if that would scare off free agents.
Reasons why I love the schedule: We have 5 west coast roadies and TWO of them are in October. Some will consider it a negative, here is why I think it is a positive. I believe in delayed gratification. Also early in the year everyone is positive, together, and generally healthy.
This is where Hitch gets paid too. It is his job to have the team more prepared than everyone else on opening night and a good coach can make this difference, I've long thought that the coach and camp decide the first 10 games of the year.
October can be spun in two different ways. If it goes great: "Look at all those road games, we are on to something special.: OR If it goes badly, "It's okay, we got a lot of road games out of the way, everyone goes through these stretches."
Some will dwell on playing Detroit 2 of the last 3 in the regular season. This is also a positive. Remember how badly Detroit played down the stretch. They were on cruise control and turned it on the playoffs. They will likely be on cruise during this stretch too. If we are battling for a spot, I'm not sure we could really ask for a better opponent.
Howson got what he asked for. Less back to backs, more homegames down the stretch. The increase of Saturday homegames will also do wonders for attendance and revenue. 46% of our home games are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 12 on Saturday. Louder arenas is better for the team.
Travel is way down. When we go out west, we play a 4-5 games. We don't have many 1-2 game roadies and these only go as far as the central timezone.
Last year it seemed the scheduling gods were screwing with us. This year everything evens out for me. This is about as nice of a schedule as you can have in an Olympic year.