Dirk Hoag, formerly of "On the Forecheck" fame here at SB Nation, though he no longer covers the Nashville Predators on a regular basis, still released his now famous "NHL Super Schedule" for the 2014-2015 season. The details of which often send Western Conference hockey fans into a tizzy over how many more miles their teams must fly while playing in a superior conference.
The Stars once again come in toward the very top of the list in miles, and lead their division, somehow, despite Winnipeg being a longer flight to Nashville, St. Louis and Colorado than is Dallas, and Chicago being about equidistant by air...
Dallas travels more than last year (1,556 miles more) and slightly less than their last full season in the Pacific, sure, but not by much. Whether it's San Jose or Philadelphia, it's still a haul. That's part of being in the middle of the country.
Realignment does a lot of good for the team- Better TV start times, better variety of home opponents, etc, but reduced travel is negligible. 18 of the league's teams see at least slightly reduced travel from 2011-2012 (last full season before realignment). Several Eastern teams (Devils, Leafs, Islanders, Bruins, Sabres) have seen theirs increase, naturally.
- The Phoenix Coyotes (I'm boycotting "Arizona Coyotes") overtake Dallas for the league lead, but only just, with 49,818 miles to go.
- The Oilers, Sharks, Predators, Flames, Jets, and Kings have fewer back-to-backs than do the Stars. Isn't that nice for them? How nice for them.
- The Jets have 9 b2b sets. The Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets have 19 each. Inequity owing to the nature of travel, the availability of buildings and simply geography is to be expected, but at that high of a variance? I'd complain.
- Dallas has five breaks of three days each, no four-day breaks, and the six-day All-Star break. Last season they also had five three-day breaks, a four-day break, and an 18-day Olympic break. This season ends just two days before last season did. How they have accomplished this is magic.
- The Stars must visit Nashville, Chicago and Colorado three times each. They were not good in their own division last season. That needs to be an area of significant improvement, as they went 1-5-0 in those three buildings last season.
- November is weird. Wild three times. Kings three times. Coyotes twice.
- The Stars plays two games in a 10-day span in mid-December. All time at home in Dallas.
- Two swings through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver this year as opposed to just one last season.
- Seven of Dallas' final ten games are against non-playoff teams last season, which looks favorable. Unless Vancouver and Nashville return to form, and then it's really not.