The NHL has to fix their schedule

The NHL last year had a real whacky schedule that had some things in it that just should not ever happen like having the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals play each other 5 times in less than 2 weeks. This years schedule doesn’t seem to be much better. The Leafs and Senators have one of the better rivalries in the NHL and we will see that in abundance in October as they play each other 4 times. Four of Ottawa’s first 9 games are against the Leafs but then they play each other just once during November, December and January. The season is 6 months long and they play 8 games against each other. Would it really be that hard to schedule approximately on game per month with a couple of back 2 back games in there? Wouldn’t it be nice to also finish the season against some rivals? The Sens-Leafs last play each other on March 10, almost a month before the end of the season and the Leafs finish the season with games against Carolina, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, New York Islanders and Montreal. Not a lot of excitement in those games (aside from Montreal which may not matter at that point) as we are all gearing up for the playoffs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a game against Ottawa and Boston and Buffalo during that stretch? I am sure there are other stupidities in the NHL schedule too.

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This article has 8 Comments

  1. Speaking of stupidities in the scedule….how about those Islanders getting shafted to start the season? Opening night in Phoenix, than off to San Jose, than Los Angeles and than Anaheim. What a kick in the ass. If the Isles lose like 3 of these games or even all 4, the organization can kiss the fan base goodbye for this season. What a raw deal.

  2. Hey, I’ve never posted on your blog before, just wanted to say that I think it’s great. I look forward to more analysis when the season get’s started.

    I’m from Ottawa, and yeah, I’m getting sick of the only games that matter being the ones versus Toronto. There’s always a bit of a mid- to late-season drop off in interest in Ottawa, and it would do wonders for the market if that period is when the Sens would play four out of nine against TO.

    I remember reading in another couple of entries your uncertainty about Gerber. I was just wondering if you (or anyone else reading) could elaborate. I agree that 3 years and that kind of money seems a bit much, and he may be hard to deal if he craps the bed, but trading for Nabokov, Biron or Gigeure would have meant losing at least Vermette and some draft picks (for a goalie with just as many, if not more, question marks). They tried to get Luongo and, predictably, didn’t. They already lost Bochenski for an Arnason that didn’t score. What other unrestricted free agent goalies could they have taken (other than Legace)?

    Thanks. Once again, great blog.

  3. My doubts about Gerber come from the fact that he has only had one good season as a starter and it was just good, not great. A 2.78 goals against average and a .906 save % is nothing special and that equates to the fact that the Senators are likely to have lesser goaltending this year than last year.

    I agree with your analysis on the other goalies you mentioned. Gerber was probably the best option. The other option was to sign Hasek and use the $3 million you save on a quality second line center. Would that result a better team overall? If Hasek is healthy come playoff time the answer is unequivocably yes.

    BTW, Gerber gave up 6 goals on 30 shots tonight.

  4. Of course, the Senators made the big mistake by not going out and getting Roloson last year. It might have cost them a chance at the cup last year as well as this year.

  5. “BTW, Gerber gave up 6 goals on 30 shots tonight.”

    I saw. The Sens preseason hasn’t exactly been awe inspiring thus far (getting scored on 13 times in two games against Montreal). It’ll get worse when Fisher inevitably is injured and Ottawa doesn’t have a 2nd line center at all.

  6. In general, I think the schedule has too much emphasis on division play. I’m pretty sure that folks out West would like to see more of Crosby or Ovechkin at their rinks.

  7. I agree totally with the scheduling being a problem all around. 8 games vs. division rivals really is a bit much, and there really should be much more inter-conference play. I’m originally from Ottawa, and a Sens fan, but currently live in Vancouver – though it’d be almost impossible to score tickets, the Sens won’t visit the Canucks until… ’08-’09? because they were here last season? It really would behoove the NHL to get more inter-conference play so fans can see more teams. 6 games in the division is plenty, and make those 8 games inter-conference.

    Regarding Gerber, I think though he is somewhat “unproven,” if Ottawa’s defence holds up with the changes they’ve made, he’ll do fine. After all the people that play in front of the goalie can be just as instrumental to his success (see Lalime).

  8. If the planned schedule stays the same, the Sens won’t visit Vancouver until at least ’09-’10. That’s because every team only plays the teams two of the divisions in the other conference. 2008-2009 is the year that the Northeast doesn’t play the Northwest.

    Unless, of course, the NHL changes its schedule plan next year.

    I’d prefer to take some of the divisional games and make them into rivalry games. So, for example, Vancouver could play their own division 7 times, but they could play Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and (?) the Rangers one additional time per season.

    Seven games against your own division seems about right. That’s one per month of the regular season, on average.

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