The NHL’s last proposal to the NHLPA indicated it was contingent upon beginning the season on 2 November and executing an 82-game season. The lost time would be mitigated by adding one game every fifth week to the schedule.
Was that a veiled or genuine threat? Was it designed to sway public opinion in the NHL’s favor? Could the NHL pull off the schedule change? I only bring this up because I am beginning, as a fan, to feel more like a piece of manipulative meat here than either, other side.
Every Fifth Week?
What does one more game every fifth week look like? Saying first of all that there is no doubt in my mind the NHL scheduler and his team are good and can make it happen, what if only parameters of ‘…No three-games-played-in-three-nights…’ and ‘…Finish the regular season on time in April….’ were put in place? Just look at the chart below for only two teams, Anaheim and Toronto. Keep in mind the dates in BOLD RED are an either/or proposition or we violate the three-games parameter:
While several dates are indeed available (30 for Anaheim and 36 for Toronto), not playing three-games-in-three-nights for the sake of player safety means there is some number of dates less present (25 days for Anaheim and 27 days for Toronto to get nine Ducks’ and eight Maple Leafs’ games re-synchronized and rescheduled) so the one more game won’t exactly occur every fifth week. They will have to shorten the season, play AHL-style three-gamers, adjust the playoffs, or lengthen the season to get the games in.
While I would be dismissed by the NHL for several reasons (only a 6.7% sample of the NHL up there; semantics for the phrase ‘every fifth week’; etc.), I cannot help but believe ’82 games played’ was specifically dangled right in front of we fans as a ploy to see us favor the owners. For our loss of product, the NHL ownership as represented by the words of the Commissioner, takes us for fools.
For the record from this fan’s seat, I don’t root for owners. Hell, I cannot even tell you who the vast majority of them are. I root through the players’ performance for the team. Do not insult me with the PR spin.