By Mike Harrington
The NHL is going to an unbalanced schedule for this season, with no games against the other conference. After plenty of dribs and drabs leaking out, we finally got the goods late Saturday night. Here's how it breaks down for the Sabres:
Northeast Division (4 or 5 vs. each team--18 total)
Boston--5 (3 home, 2 road)
(Comment: It would have been good to avoid the fifth game with Boston, which remains the division favorite. Sabres didn't get that break)
Atlantic Division (3 vs. each team--15 total)
NY Rangers (2 home, 1 road)
NY Islanders (2-1)
New Jersey (2-1)
Southeast Division (3 vs. each team -- 15 total)
Winnipeg (2 home, 1 away)
Tampa Bay (1-2)
(Comment: These work mostly in the Sabres' favor. They play a heavy home schedule against the tougher Atlantic Division, going only to Pittsburgh twice. And a real break by having to go to Winnipeg just once, the only team in the Southeast Division they don't travel to play twice. Plus lots of Sabres fans who live there or here love Florida trips and there are two of them, just like in a normal season.)
More notes on the schedule
By days: Saturday (9), Sunday (11), Monday (2), Tuesday (11), Wednesday (1), Thursday (9), Friday (5).
(Comment: The impact of requesting fewer Friday home games is clear. The team played just one Sunday game last season and now has 11).
By months: January (7), February (14), March (15), April (12).
How tight is it? Nine back-to-backs and a stunning eight sets of three games in four days.
(Comment -- Memo to Lindy Ruff: You're going to be watching plenty of video and not doing much practice on the ice after this week.)