A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

the Pens and the schedule

I was kind of relieved when I found out that Pittsburgh had won the draft lottery. All those conspiracy theories about the Rangers were put to rest. Although Pittsburgh is by no means a "small" city, it is 22nd in terms of population in the United States alone. For the record, there are 14 hockey teams in those other 21 metropolitan areas. Without having the particular data, I believe that Toronto and Montréal are also bigger than Pittsburgh, which puts them around 16th most populous NHL market. Blah blah blah. They are, though, a team with a lot of tradition, and a team that could really use a superstar other than the aging SuperMario. It'll be good for them to have Crosby, and good for hockey. Their attendance has been lagging, their level of play has been lagging, and they really need a new rink. If they can re-build the franchise, centered around the kid, maybe they can generate enough excitement to get themselves a new rink built. Aside from the Nassau Coliseum (home of the Islanders), the Pens have to have the shittiest rink in all of hockey.

There's a ton of talk on the Canes board about what we should do with the third overall pick. I won't get into all of that right now, as I am short on time. However, the highlights are that we'd love to have defenseman Jack Johnson. I don't think he'll be available, and there's a bevy of forwards who lots of teams are droolng over. I think I'd prefer to see Gilbert "Creme" Brule . You can see how TSN Canada rates them all by reading this capsule.

Good news is that the new schedule will focus on generating geographical rivalries. More inter-division games, less traveling overall. Here's how the new schedules will be made:

Each club will play eight games against each of its four division rivals (32 total).

Each club will play four games against each of the 10 non-division clubs in its conference (40 total).

Each club will play 10 inter-conference games, hosting one game each against all five clubs from a designated division and traveling for one game each against all five clubs from a different division. For the 2005-06 season, Northeast Division clubs will host the Pacific Division and visit the Northwest; Atlantic Division clubs will host the Northwest and visit the Central; and Southeast Division clubs will host the Central and visit the Pacific. Division vs. division assignments will rotate annually.

This means that the Canes won't be visiting Nashville. Sorry, Doug. And we won't be hosting the Avs, which is what I was hoping.

We will be playing host to the Caps, Thrashers, Lightning and Panthers 4 times (the old system would have been 3). 4 times I get to see Ovechkin! 4 times I get to see Kovalchuk! 4 times I get to see Martin St. Louis! We'll still host the Pens twice (Crosby two times!).

I guess I like it alright, but it means that there's five teams you won't get to see at all every year. I liked the idea of seeing every team at least once. I understand the idea of trying to generate division rivalries, though.

Oh well, I'm just happy that we're back in business.


Davis Helms said...

The draft lottery was great! I watched the whole thing on ESPN news. Talk about suspense. I was on the phone w. Rob Ullman, a life long Pens fan, as they announced the order. It was brilliant how they started at 30 and worked their way up. I thought I was going to have a stroke with every pick. I couldn't believe it when we got to the third pick, and both our teams were still in the running. He went crazy when the Pens got that first pick. I would have loved it if the 'Canes won, but I can't complain about the Pens. They need someting like this, and the 'Canes will get a really good player with that third pick. I just hope they don't trade it.

doug said...

ah well - that's a bummer. But, you should come visit us anyway - we could still catch some hockey.

d-lee said...

yeah, I know Rob's gotta be thrilled with their sweepstakes win. Like I said, I actually don't mind Pittsburgh getting Crosby.
I'm really looking forward to an exciting off-season followed by a fantastic season.

d-lee said...

Although, Doug, there is a pre-season game in Nashville Sunday Sept 25. I might consider making the trip.

doug said...

yeah, come on up (er, over)!


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