A few weeks ago, I took a look at the NHL’s schedule for this year, looking for a bit of a smoking gun in terms of when the NHL’s real deadline might be. While there was nothing that obvious, there were a couple of happy coincidences for the league. As you’ll recall, all that remains of the NHL schedule right now is 605 games. Those 605 games featured just 99 inter-conference games, the fewest inter-conference games in the final 605 since 2008-09, when the league went to a schedule that saw you play divisional rivals six times, conference rivals four teams and 18 games against the opposing conference.
The other happy coincidence is that the number of teams that that was finished in a given intra-conference city was low. Usually, after 625 games, at least a couple of teams would be done in 5-7 cities. This year, nobody’s finished in more than four cities and – happy coincidence again – many of them have long road trips in the opposing conference that provide convenient opportunities for road trips elsewhere.
I put together a matrix to illustrate what’s left of the NHL schedule in terms of intra-conference games. Road teams are in the descending column on the left. You can see that, really, all the NHL schedule maker has to do is fill in some games.
Lucky break, I guess.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org