Friday, October 8, 2010

Dusty Rhodes to NHL: Shameful!


When wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes went on his rant against Baby Doll and Ric Flair in 1986, he might as well have been speaking to the future, to Gary Bettman and the NHL schedule makers.

Because what they've done to the Carolina Hurricanes is shameful.

Minnesota plays six home games in October, including its first three after returning from Finland. San Jose gets back-to-back home games upon its return from Sweden. The Blue Jackets are less fortunate, but they're able to open their home schedule on Oct. 15, their first game after their overseas trip.

Columbus is right back on the road the next night, to Minnesota, before getting four home games of its last six to close the month's opening schedule, including two straight games at Nationwide Arena following the trip to Minnesota.

As for the teams playing in the Czech Republic, Boston isn't in horrible shape, with road games in New Jersey and Washington before three straight home games. The Coyotes get three home games in their next four, including their opener Oct. 16, their first game after returning to North America.

Carolina? The Hurricanes return to North America with a trip to Ottawa. Not bad, right? Right. That seems OK. Until you look at the rest of the month.

Despite traveling across quite a few time zones to play in Europe, the Hurricanes make an even worse trip, coming back East to play in Ottawa then off to the west coast to play in Vancouver, in San Jose, in Los Angeles and in Phoenix. Their home opener isn't until Oct. 27, then they go right back on the road to New York.

After they play the Rangers on Oct. 29, they have to fly back to Raleigh for a game the next night. Carolina has just two home games in the month of October.


Any team that has to play in Europe to try to grow the NHL's brand - especially if the league dictates the team travel that far and the team's front office didn't volunteer - should be rewarded with the majority of its games for the rest of October to be at home.

I've traveled overseas only once, and it was too long ago for me to remember the effect on my body, but I'm willing to bet it's fairly severe. Plus it's one thing for the NHL to schedule Carolina for road games, but the worst road trip for Eastern Conference teams is the West Coast swing. To have that piled on so quickly after flying to Finland can't be good for Carolina's players.

Did the schedule makers give the Hurricanes a break? Well, their longest homestand is four games (once) in the latter half of February. That's part of six home games in a seven-game span. They end the season with three home games in their last four. They do have eight home games, out of 14, in November and January, plus nine in 14 in March.

But nothing that really jumps out at me as, "Oh, that's where they get their break." Their first multi-game homestand isn't until Nov. 6 through 11.

It just seems to me that Carolina pissed off someone in the league office because this early schedule is brutal. The Hurricanes couldn't have requested they get their bad road trips out of the way early, could they?

If so, then never mind this rant. If not, how does the NHL allow any team to have just two home games in October? The league office just continues to boggle the mind.


Nick in New York said...

LMAO @ the digs at the Devils. Tyler Myers (BUF) was awesome last year, and is a beast, physically. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

That the Hurricanes have anything to do with how their schedule lays out is beyond me. Granted, the NHL did them no favors, but why would you punish the same people who are your primary corporate sponsor for your games in Europe (Compuware, owned by Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos)?

Besides, the 'Canes are hosting the All-Star Game, so they have no one to blame but themselves if there is any blame to be had.