By Mike Harrington
A few leaks on the NHL schedule this morning: The Winnipeg Free Press says the Jets are opening Jan. 19 at home against Ottawa and French television network RDS says the Canadiens are hosting the Leafs that night (Toronto can't get the Air Canada Centre for opening night because of a Rock lacrosse game).
Ted Black said yesterday the Sabres expect their first home game to be Sunday, Jan. 20 and left it sounding quite possible the season would open on the road. The league has said it's going with division rivalries in most cases, and the Leafs, Canadiens and Senators are thus eliminated based on the above information.
So how about Saturday, Jan. 19 at Boston for a matinee opener and then the 20th at First Niagara Center for another matinee (against whoever) on NBC?
Stay tuned. Maybe -- I said maybe -- we get some news later today after the Board of Governors meeting. Still, I don't expect a full schedule until tomorrow or maybe even Friday. I head heard the Bruins might open against the Rangers in an Original Six matchup too but that would leave the Sabres with no rivalry partner.
The whole thing is kind of odd. If the league knew the drop-dead date was Jan. 11 and the schedule was going to open Jan. 19, why weren't folks in that department in New York on full-blown make-the-schedule duty? Did they expect there to be no season? Hmmmm.