Sunday, November 12, 2006

NHL Schedule

I'm here to complain about the NHL schedule. No, not the amount of times teams play each other, that's been hacked to death the last few weeks. I'm talking about a team playing it's third game on the road in four nights against a team that's been resting. It's not really fair. Last night, the Rangers were playing their third road game in 4 four nights, having faced Florida on Wednesday and Atlanta on Friday. Meanwhile, the Caps were sitting at home stewing after their lost in Carolina, their only game since Monday.

It's simply poor scheduling to have so many teams have to play 3 games in 4 nights when other teams are resting. Especially when the Caps are going through stretches where they don't play in a week, and then have 4 games in 6 nights (two different sets of three in four) like they did on their West Coast trip. Do you want to argue that the team didn't look flat in the Edmonton game? The NHL needs to make more of an attempt at balancing rest schedules against opponents.

One way to rectify this is to have teams playing home and home series against divisional rivals. You're guaranteed on the second night that the other team will be better rested, while helping amplify the intensity of the teams playing against each other. A few weeks ago, Atlanta had such a home and home against the Caps, playing the Caps on in Washington before going home and playing the Caps the following Thursday. Oh, except the Caps played in Florida the night before game two, while Atlanta rested. The result? Caps lose, duh. It truly is too unfair of an advantage to have the other team waiting for you at the next destination while you are playing a game the night before, and even more so when it's multiple games while the other team is lying in wait. It's something that the NHL needs to look into addressing before we worry about how many times we're playing them.

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