directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Schedule change on the way?

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Schedule change on the way?

Is there a schedule change on the way? If you read the following article it certainly appears so:

(CP) -- The NHL's unbalanced schedule will once again be front and centre at the board of governors meeting in Chicago on Tuesday while talk of possible expansion will also be on the agenda when owners gather for the first time this season.

Few issues have ignited as much passionate debate among owners in recent years as the schedule, which since the lockout has featured eight games versus each divisional opponent -- too many according to some -- and only 10 games (five on the road) against non-conference opponents.

The Edmonton Oilers will once again be leading the charge for change.

"We cannot walk away from the debate, it's critically important to our customers," Oilers president and CEO Pat LaForge told The Canadian Press on Monday. "We think it's the same for all Western teams. We think we're at a huge disadvantage the way the schedule is right now."

"When we came out of the work stoppage, everybody was raving about what a great idea it was. It was a three-year cycle," said Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford. "And because of that, we felt very strongly that you should complete the three-year cycle.

"But now that we've got to that point, we're certainly open to changing it."

"I don't think it benefits all franchises but if you look at the overall league -- I think it makes sense," said Rutherford. "And the other part for me, what I hear when I really look into this, is the players don't want to play those teams as many times. And those are the guys everyone pays to watch so it's important to listen to them."

I thought it was one of the greatest failures since I've been following this league last year when the owners/GMs failed to change a schedule that clearly wasn't having the desired effect of producing rivalries. I can watch just about any level of hockey but after seeing Nashville 3 times in 4 games last year even that was getting stale to me.

I think its vitally important to get the league's marquee players like Crosby (who we won't face at all this year) and Ovechkin (who we will see for the first time at home this year) in every market in the league. Its a long season and any time you have the opportunity generate interest and help sell tickets, which these two stars are clearly capable of, you have to exploit it. For the Candadian teams not to face each other this season is a complete farce as well.

I for one am very pleased to hear that changes in the schedule are likely for next season. Hopefully likely becomes a priority.

You can read more about the schedule and more here.


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