The NHL released the framework of the upcoming schedule yesterday, letting everyone know the number of divisional and conference games. Even though we don't have the exact dates yet, it at least gives us an idea of what to expect. Each team will play two of their divisional opponents 4 times, and will play the other two opponents 5 times. The remaining 30 games of the schedule will be split evenly among the other ten teams in the conference.
This schedule is surprisingly balanced, although a 50 game schedule would have certainly made the math cleaner. There were also some fears that teams would be playing each team in their own division 7 times. That would have been especially bad for the Stars (and the division as a whole), seeing as how the Pacific normally destroys itself as the season progresses.
Still, though, there are already a number of complaints about the schedule, saying that some teams might get to play easier divisional opponents more than others.
The easy criticism of that matrix is that it creates issues in teams with one team markedly worse than the others, like the Atlantic or Central. Say you're the New York Rangers. If the Pittsburgh Penguins get an extra game against the New York Islanders, sweep them, and win the division by a point, you're not going to be thrilled.
Personally, I couldn't care less who we play and how many times we face them. I'm just excited that hockey is back.
Coming up in the links: Thoughts from the Stars GM, Russia is stirring up some trouble, and one team says goodbye to Jaromir Jagr so that we can say hello.
- GM Joe spoke with the media yesterday, and Mark Stepneski has all the details. The main debate right now is which AHL players are going to fill the few remaining roster spots. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Glen Gulutzan is equally excited about the beginning of the season, and is anxious to get training camp under way. Make sure you check out the other player interviews as well to get their thoughts. [DallasStars.com]
- With Jamie Benn still being the priority, Mike Heika breaks down a couple of different ways the contract could look, depending on the length of the deal. [Dallas News]
- Meanwhile, around the NHL, teams that are wanting to trade players with cap circumventing contracts are going to have to deal with the new rule punishing those teams that made the deal to begin with. The question is, how will the Luongo trade deal with the lovingly called "Luongo rule?" [PuckDaddy]
- Speaking of the CBA and people in trouble, some people in the media think it's possible that Bettman will be stepping down soon, due to the embarrassment of this lockout. I would never dare to get my hopes that high. [Sports Illustrated]
- Markov, Kovalchuk, and a few other Russian players are (reportedly) debating staying in the KHL, regardless of the new CBA. This creates an issue between the KHL and NHL, since there is an agreement in place where one league is supposed to refuse to allow players on it if they have a running contract with the other. [USA Today]
- This mess with the KHL is causing tension in the hockey world to run high, seeing as how the winter Olympics are going to be played in Russia soon. The players will probably still go in the end, but it's going to be a dogfight to get there. [ESPN]
- Some players are happy to be returning to the NHL, though. Jaromir Jagr played his final game for the Rytíři Kladno, and is now on his way to join us in Dallas (!!!!). He got quite the send off from his fans before he left, though. They recognize how lucky they were to have him during those few months, and were happy he was there. I only hope we in Dallas can greet him with the same sort of enthusiasm. Check out the video below to see his goodbye.