Saturday, July 23, 2005

Schedule Details

I previously reported that the schedule for the 2005-2006 season will be released on Tuesday, but now new information is emerging. Lindsey over at In The Crease posts details on the new schedule:

Each club will play eight games against each of its four division rivals (32 total).

Each club will play four games against each of the 10 non-division clubs in its conference (40 total).

Each club will play 10 inter-conference games, hosting one game each against all five clubs from a designated division and traveling for one game each against all five clubs from a different division. For the 2005-06 season, Northeast Division clubs will host the Pacific Division and visit the Northwest; Atlantic Division clubs will host the Northwest and visit the Central; and Southeast Division clubs will host the Central and visit the Pacific. Division vs. division assignments will rotate annually.
The format came out a few days ago but this is the first I have heard about which divisions will be playing each other and where. I thought fans would like to know that (hence the bold).

As for the new format, I have mixed feelings. For the Rangers, games against the Islanders and the Devils are always the most exciting, Every team has (or should have) division rivals that fans want to come see play. In this format, teams still play opponents from other divisions in the conference four times, so Colorado and Detroit can still have their rivalry. Even though it has diminished, the Rangers and Bruins could have important games again if the Rangers get good.

The bad part is that fans will not even see their team on TV playing five teams from the other conference. One out of every three years, the Flames, Oilers and Canucks will not play the Sens, Leafs and Habs ... at all. I'm not Canadian so I don't know how people north of the border feel, but I think that probably outweighs the fact that you will get to play the Canadian rivals in your division a couple more times per year.