Penguins Welcome NHL Schedule Change
The schedule is changing for the Pittsburgh Penguins – and the rest of the NHL.
The league’s Board of Governors approved a new scheduling matrix which ensures each team will play every other team at least once per season. The changes go into effect next season.
Each team will play the teams in its division six times (three at home and three on the road), for a total of 24 games (down from eight times this year). Each squad will continue to play 40 games inside its conference but outside its division (10 opponents) twice at home and twice on the road. That brings the in-conference total to 64 games and maintains the integrity of a conference-based playoff system.
The remaining 18 games in the 82-game schedule will involve each team playing each team in the other conference at least once, home or away, with the three remaining games being devoted to interconference “at-large” scheduling.
“It’ll be good for the fans. As a player, I don’t think it really changes for me, as far as who we are playing,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “But, it’s nice to go to new places and new buildings. That’s always fun.
“This may be just my point of view, but I don’t really worry much about who we are playing. We could play a team 16 times and, to me, you have to go out there and do the same thing,” he said. “Six games are probably good. When you have eight, especially if you play the same team three or four times in a month, it gets to be a lot, thinking as a fan.
“When you get in the routine of playing against the same teams in the same places, it seems to go quicker. When you go to new places, it’s almost like your first year again. That’ll be good for everyone, I think. It’s something everyone looks forward to, going to a new place.”
Maxime Talbot is happy about the schedule change.
“It’s good for hockey; it’s good for the fans. I am sure if I was in
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is looking forward to the new format as well.
“It’s always the same. There are so many good teams and players around the league, it’s fun to be able to play against them too,” he said. “There are some nice cities and rinks that we don’t get to go to very often. These cities want to see
The announcement of the schedule change comes just before the Penguins are slated to head to Western Canada for games in
“It’s a great experience to see around the league and all the different rinks. We’re going to see
Any games against distant cities are usually scheduled together so teams can avoid multiple long trips.
“Usually, if we go play far, they will put a couple games together,” he said. “I don’t think it will be too bad.”
The new format represents a change from the matrix approved for the 2005-06 campaign and used in 2006-07 and this season. That format called for four games (40 total) against each non-division conference opponent, eight games (32 total) against each in-division opponent and 10 inter-conference games – one game at home against each of the five clubs from a designated division and one game on the road against all five clubs from a different division.
“I think the change is good for everyone,” Talbot said. “Everyone was wondering when that was going to come and we’re glad it will be in effect next season.”