Looking Forward to the New Season with a Calendar
As everyone else has done their own analysis of the new NHL season schedule, I figured I’d throw my two cents in as well.
For those of you who have not been reading my blog prior to my HockeyBuzz affiliation, I have my own theories about Islanders wins and losses as well as attendance patterns. Indulge me for a few moments.
I found the pre-season schedule in my in-box when I returned home today. The Kraft Hockeyville game will be Monday, September 24th in in Terrace, BC. They will play two games at their training facility in Saskatoon on Sept. 19 & 20th. Maybe they will have birthday cake and balloons for newly married man, Rick DiPietro and baby boy, John Tavares.
The much discussed KC game will be Sept. 22nd against the LA Kings. The question is, will it be televised anywhere or are we going to be stuck with trying to find a radio station that is web streaming the game? I hope not.
Islanders fans will get only ONE pre-season game at the Coliseum on September 23rd. Somehow I feel a little cheated. I don’t see any pre-season game in Bridgeport this season. That’s a shame, because years ago, that was a ton of fun on a Sunday afternoon in late September. But I guess we'll just have to really look forward to John Tavares' big debut on October 3rd. (And don't forget to say Happy Birthday to Bruno Gervais when you're there for the home opener!)
Let’s move on to the new 82 game schedule, and I see some changes this year. As another blogger was kind enough to post a travel miles schedule, let’s start with that. The NY Islanders will travel a total of 31,550 miles this coming season. This is up 3,424 miles over last season but hardly as much of an increase as the Montreal Canadians who have an increase of 5,901 miles over ’08-‘09. Okay, who did they piss off at the NHL office for that one?
Those 31,550 miles will cover seven road trips. The longest one, for the fans that is, will be the stretch from 11/11 to 11/23 when they will play seven games away. They will probably be able to come home after the 11/16 game in Boston and then fly back out again on 11/19 to Minnesota.
You know… that way they can do their laundry, see the kids and sleep in their own beds for at least a few nights. Or they may opt to stay on the road and take it easy for a few days. I guess it will all depend on how they are playing in November.
The Islanders will be playing 19 back-to-back contests; two more than last season. There are only two other teams who will be playing as many back-to-back games but in the scheme of things all 30 teams average out to 15.1 games.
A good thing about the back-to-back’s is that there are no 7 pm night starts followed by a 1 pm afternoon start. These were always a killer for the Isles. They would never win that afternoon contest. The afternoon game following the night game is now a 5 pm start. Not to say that there are no day games, there are. There are 7 early starts for Holiday’s and weekends. Six of those are 2 pm starts and one against the Devils on Sat. November 28th is at 1 pm. This will mean that the only possible NBC games featuring the Islanders are on 11/28, 2/13, 3/6 or 4/3/09 if NBC is keeping with their 1 or 2 pm NHL game starts for the upcoming season. To this I say… Yuck. But I’ll still take the NBC exposure.
With the earliest game on the schedule being that Devils game on 11/28, the latest game we will have to endure as fans is a 10:30 pm on 3/20 against the LA Kings. At least, it’s a Saturday night with no work the next day. Yeah.
There are only 7 Tuesday home games this season. I noted last year that it seemed the Tuesday games had the worst attendance. I just couldn’t figure out why. Let’s see if my theory holds true again this season. The only thing worse than the Tuesday miserable attendance nights were the Thursday Full Moon Loss nights.
I know you scoff at me for that, but I did a chart over a few years and it seems the Islanders as a whole lose more often than not on Thursday nights when there is a full moon. As luck has it for us this season, there are only two Full Moon Thursday potential catastrophes in the heavens; December 3rd and December 31st.
The Olympic break will bring the season to a screeching halt on Valentine’s Day, and return in full swing on March 4th. For the players who will not be heading into the Olympics, it will be a reprieve and time to rehab.
I also see that Anaheim will not be coming to the Coliseum this season. I’m a little disappointed about that and I’m wondering if that has anything to do with the fact that I warned, um, told Adam Brady from the Ducks that I would love to beat - no , MEET him next time he is in town. He must have begged not to come back. (Just kidding… I know it’s not about me.) The Islanders do play the Ducks on Friday, 3/19 in their home rink. Maybe I can make it a road trip!
As the consummate Jason Blake fan that I am, I’m a little disappointed that I have to wait until 12/23 for the Leafs to come to town. They have played a post-Christmas contest on 12/26 for the past two years. This was always great for me, because I had the day off. Looks like I’ll have to be creative with my work schedule.
The Isles play the Rangers six times total, three in each arena. So I already know that’s THREE games I won’t be at the Coliseum. The games are too stressful for me. Not because of what’s happening on the ice, but what happens in the stands. I’ll take the safety of my couch, thank you very much.
So there you have it. Get your Outlook Organizer updated and start making travel plans. It’s time to look forward. There’s no looking back.