Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Nice But It Won't Stop The Complaining...

Yesterday the NHL approved a return to the schedule format that was in place before the lockout. This means of course that teams will no longer play the other teams in their division 8 times and will play every team in the league at least once per season.

The NHL is also considering expanding the schedule back to 84 games which the league last did in the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 seasons. This would allow the NHL to schedule at least two games between every team (until the league expands again of course). However, that has not been approved for the upcoming 2008-2009 season.

Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to the "new" scheduling format. Under the current system, a team's travel is greatly restricted. Teams don't go as far as often so the strain on them is less and save finanically strapped franchises $$$$$. However travel does create great opportunities for team building and bonding. With the exception of Southeast Divisional games, divisional games are the best attended games around the league. In a gate driven sport such as the NHL, that is a factor that cannot and should not be discounted. However, in spite of the great attendance figures for divisional games, the fans claim they're tired of seeing the same teams seemingly all the time. There is allegedly a great desire to see the teams in the other conference yet, very often the ticket sales don't live up to this. Now that the fans have what they want, they'll have to step up to the plate and buy the tickets when L.A., Phoenix, and Chicago come to the Southeast and when Florida, Atlanta, and Carolina make a trip to the West Coast.

So in short, the NHL has listened to its fans. It is now time for NHL fans to reward the NHL for doing what they've asked them to do.

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