Monday, July 20, 2009

A few more thoughts on the 2009-2010 Wild schedule

WRT opines on the recently released 2009-10 Wild schedule

Well, we've all had a few days to digest the new Wild schedule for the upcoming season. What do you think?

My thoughts:

The Olympic break of 16 days (Feb. 15-March 2) may actually help the Wild, as they may well know where they stand by the time that the break occurs (after the home game vs. Vancouver Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.) Or, will they?

Four of the 6 games vs. Calgary will be played after the Olympic break. 3 of the 6 games vs. Edmonton, again, are after the break. But, amazingly, only one game vs. Vancouver (away) and no games vs. Colorado will be played after the break. In fact, the last Wild vs. Avs game will be Jan. 30 at Pepsi Center. On the other hand, March is the only month that the Wild and Canucks do not see each other.

Both games at Detroit, usually a house of horrors for the Wild, are after the break, as are both of the home games vs. another group of Wild-killers, the San Jose Sharks. The rest of the season is tough, but it looks like the stretch drive could equate to the 'Heartbreak Hill' of the Boston Marathon, the milepost 20 killer of runners' dreams for decades. The stretch drive for the Wild, unless they somehow can catch lightning in a bottle, could be absolutely brutal.

The schedule, due to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, is front-loaded with good road trip opportunities. The opening part of the schedule, and its' first six of seven on the road, provide good weekend trip opportunities, especially during Minnesota "Teachers' Weekend" (Oct. 15-17) when the Wild are in Edmonton and Vancouver on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 16-17.

October 26 has the first game in Chicago (Martin Havlat returns to Chicago), a Monday night which has the potential to be a Versus ratings bonanza.

November provides an easy road trip to Washington and Carolina, a late fall bonanza for Wild road fans. The same trip begins at Toronto and Tampa Bay, both winable games.

December allows for that rare two-sport doubleheader, as the Vikings are in Arizona to play the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 6, the day before the Wild take on the Phoenix Coyotes across the street at Arena. Later in the month, the Wild do another Eastern turn as they travel to Montreal (Dec. 17) and Ottawa (Dec. 19).

And, if you get sick of the relatives at Christmas, you can always go to LA and Anaheim for Dec. 27-28 (Monday-Tuesday) but get out of there in time for the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 (unless you want to pay the sky-high hotel prices!)

January does not provide a lot of easy trips, but does allow for the second game at Chicago (Jan. 5), and both games at Dallas (Jan. 18 and Feb. 1) at the end of three-game road trips West.

And then, there's March, and the three back-to-back Thursday-Friday sets of road games, including the two Detroit games as described before. The last one (at Philadelphia, at Detroit Mar. 25-26) will be especially brutal as the Flyers hit, hit and keep hitting. There may not be enough of the Wild remaining for the Detroit game the next night...unless the Wild hit back, of course!

With air fares for fall at an all-time low, hotels desperate for bookings, and the economy basically in the dumper right now, prudent planning indeed will produce desired results. This is especially true now, with the recent turns of events in the airline industry in Minnesota, fares to road trip destinations have never been more reasonable.

It's time to GO!

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