An 82 Game Schedule

There is much debate, or rather complaint on the revamped NHL schedule.  The 2006-07 schedule was announced yesterday and as set out by the commissioner last year, there is again reduced inter-conference play.

For the Canucks, they will be competing against the Northeast Division which means they’ll be flying out to Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

They will be hosting the Southeast Division which consists of Atlanta, Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Washington. 

Now historically, the Southeast Division has not been seen as a hotbed of hockey.  Instead it has been used as the punchline in a joke, and seen as a clear cut example of why hockey did not belong in a ‘non-traditional’ market. 

Things can change though, and have they ever in the Southeast.  While still viewed as weak by bandwagon fans, this division has now produced the last two Stanley Cup winners in Tampa Bay and Carolina, and also has Calder Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin in Washington.

You can look forward to next weeks articles on the NHL’s refound parity where I’ll disect this a bit more.  Regardless though, you should be excited to have this division visiting in the 2006/07 season.

While the complaints on the schedule continue to come, they seem to have forgotten about the excitement generated from the tight playoff race last year. 

This excitement was generated by two key things.  Parity, and a schedule packed with divisional opponents.

So what’s there to complain about?  What’s wrong with an exciting playoff race?  We are getting playoff hockey before you even get to the playoffs. 

The issue with an 82 game season in the dead puck era was that so many games didn’t mean a thing which resulted in lackluster performances night after night.

There is no denying that the schedule itself is grueling, and that similar intensity could also likely be brought about by reducing the number of games in a season.  However, why debate what we know will never happen, and that’s the owners agreeing to reduce their overall income.  Would you give up potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions?  Really?  Give me a break.

It’s not happening and that’s my point.  Without reducing the number of games, the new schedule is the absolute best way of injecting more excitement into the games. 

The dogs days of January are a thing of the past, and exciting games are here to stay.

Everything has a price, and the price here is that we won’t see Malkin, Staal, and Crosby for another year.  But when we do, they’ll be that much better.

And in the meantime, we’re going to see some fantastic hockey.  Enjoy the year.

The Chief Canuck

Article inspired by my hollywood friend, NG.

ICE CHIP – In 1951, the Detroit Red Wings played the Chicago Blackhawks 14 times.  It was also the first time an NHL team (Detroit) recorded 100 points in a season.

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3 Comments on “An 82 Game Schedule”

  1. Hollywood NG Says:

    Blah Blah Blah. Rivalry this, rivalry that! It sounds like Bettman wrote this post. Will your next post be about how successful the OLN relationship is?

    Every team should visit every arena at least once every two years. Three years without seeing Eastern teams is ridiculous. We saw Toronto and Montreal last year and won’t see them again until 2008/09 (The Leafs could be 2 time defending champs by that time). I couldn’t even type that without falling off my chair laughing!!!

    As much as I want the playoff positioning decided by teams playing each other, I also want to see the stars of the league. Sidney Crosby will likely have over 200 NHL points before we see him play live. The NHL should be focusing on marketing the stars of the league and this can’t be done by reading about their feats on the Internet. We need to show the fans the talents of the stars.

  2. Repo Man Says:

    This is a rare occasion where I have to disagree with the chief. Perhaps with all the recent personnel changes things will be more interesting, but last season I was tired of seeing Minnesota (or even Calgary and Edmonton) so many times.


  3. As a season ticket holder Repo Man, I respect your thoughts on this. Hopefully the parity in the league will bring some excitement to these games, so much so that you actually look forward to having these teams come back into the building.  You know, just like a playoff game.


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