The Long or Short of It

I always wondered if the league would have the guts (for lack of a more colorful term) to reduce what everyone knows to be a particularly brutal schedule. If the talks mentioned in this article by TSN have any merit, then we will have some mighty juicy tidbits to debate that don’t involve the depression and angst of the CBA.The article itself mentions a couple of the more obvious points of contention about the proposed schedule; less home dates possibly meaning less revenue and no interconference play resulting in the loss of some traditionally significant (and highly profitable) match-ups. But this isn’t just about the money, we’re just accustomed these days to put the financial ramifications at the front of almost every debate. The owners seem to like the plan, so the money issue can’t be as big as some fans have already made it out to be.

For those who haven’t read the article yet, or just don’t feel like it, here is the proposal.

The season is reduced to 72 games, every game played within conference. Each team will play its division rivals 8 times a piece and play the other 10 teams in the conference 4 times each. No inter-conference matchups at all. I just wonder if someone during this process (owner, GM, league executive) will have a radical change of heart about no inter-conference play, and make the pitch for something quite different. We’ll see. For kicks though, let’s look at a few of the pros and cons of this possible new schedule.

Pros:

1)Less games=less injuries

Hopefully, that would be the case. The on-ice product would benefit as a result of healthier and less tired players.

2)Travel

No more marathon road trips to the other side of the country to get the bulk of the out-of-conference schedule done in one big swoop. Would also save a bundle of cash on traveling expenses. I’m sure the players would appreciate the lack of travel quite a bit.

3)Division Rivalries

Eight games against the same team. That will most definitely bring out the hate and the passion of division matchups, many of which were already nasty to begin with. With less games being played, points against your division rivals would mean a lot more. The fans would get to see a passionate and often desperate game against a hated rival on a regular basis, something that isn’t always the case in the regular season now.

Cons:

1)Less games=less revenue

I know that I said it isn’t just about the money, but it is still obviously a concern in this case. With the owners seemingly backing this new schedule, you have to figure that the league and the teams have a plan of how to rectify this loss of five home dates. I’m not ready to believe that the league can come up with a good marketing strategy to help offset this lost revenue, the NHL’s track record for marketing hasn’t been that good recently (polite way of saying that it blows). But with the owners on board, the collective has a better chance of finding their way through that minefield. Again, time will tell on this one.

2)Missing out on seeing some great players

With no games played between conferences, fans in attendance will miss out on seeing a boatload of great players live and in person. There are too many names to mention, you can do that for yourselves. Think of the players you like in the conference opposite from your team (and the players you hate as well). It would be a shame if we were not able to see them play barring a trade or a match up in the Finals. That’s a point that doesn’t sit well with many fans as some people often attend games to see certain players, not necessarily certain teams.

3)Traditional Matchups gone

Now think of which matchups will not happen under this new schedule (barring some sort of realignment). Most involve Original Six teams, as well as the rivalries between some Canadian teams. I’ll let you guys ***** and moan about this point, anything I add right now wouldn’t be too constructive.

By no means are these all the positives or negatives regarding this possible new schedule, these are just the ones I wanted to touch upon. Feel free to point out any others, I just wanted to get the ball rolling. Now, go back to your corners and come out swinging!

http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story.asp?id=81473


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