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The NHL’s Schedule is Terrible

Here we are, in day 3 of the 9 day gap in the middle of the Bruins schedule and I’m looking at the standings and the Bruins opponents for the rest of the year. The race is extremely tight, and it’s going to be very exciting.

It’s a shame that they play their closest competitors exactly zero times for the rest of the year.

I’m not complaining about the bye week, it’s probably a good thing, but at the 46 game mark of the season (now 49), the Bruins were completely done with all three of the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and Sabres, their 3 biggest rivals and teams 1 point ahead, even in points, and five points behind them respectively.

Good thing they play 13 western conference opponents, including 9 (!!!) consecutively. In fact, the Bruins will play 5 more games against Western Conference teams they are in no competition with than they do against divisional opponents, who they will play 8 times: three against Tampa, three against Florida, and 1 each against Ottawa and Detroit. This is extremely dumb.

Not only are these Western Conference games unnecessary, but they kill rivalries, as I wrote about last year. How great was it when the Bruins and Habs played 8 times a year and you could guarantee a fight in every one? That doesn’t happen anymore with those divisional games being wasted in cross-conference games.

Not only is the NHL missing out on rivalries, they are losing valuable head-to-head four point games that ACTUALLY MEAN SOMETHING. The Bruins and Golden Knights will never compete for anything ever in the regular season, while the Bruins and Leafs will likely be competing for years to come for seeding and division titles. Again, the Bruins play the Leafs just two more times than the Golden Knights. It doesn’t make any sense.

Ah, but it gets worse. Here’s a list of days in which a Bruins game conflicted with another Boston team.

Oct. 25: Bruins vs Flyers, Celtics at Thunder

Oct. 27: Bruins vs Canadiens, Celtics at Pistons, Red Sox at Dodgers (Game 4 World Series)

Oct. 30: Bruins at Hurricanes, Celtics vs Pistons

Nov. 3: Bruins at Predators, Celtics at Pacers

Nov. 5: Bruins vs Stars, Celtics at Nuggets

Nov. 8: Bruins vs Canucks, Celtics at Suns

Nov. 11: Bruins vs Golden Knights, Celtics at Trailblazers

Nov. 14: Bruins at Avalanche, Celtics at Bulls

Nov. 16: Bruins at Stars, Celtics vs Raptors

Nov. 17: Bruins at Coyotes, Celtics vs Jazz

Nov. 21: Bruins at Red Wings, Celtics vs Knicks

Nov. 23: Bruins vs Penguins, Celtics vs Hawks

Nov. 24: Bruins vs Habs, Celtics vs Mavericks

Nov. 26: Bruins at Maple Leafs, Celtics at Pelicans

Dec. 1: Bruins at Red Wings, Celtics at Timberwolves

Dec. 6: Bruins at Lightning, Celtics vs Knicks

Dec. 8: Bruins vs Maple Leafs, Celtics at Bulls

Dec. 14: Bruins at Penguins, Celtics at Hawks

Dec. 16: Bruins vs Sabres, Patriots at Steelers

Dec. 23: Bruins at Hurricanes, Celtics vs Hornets

Dec. 27: Bruins at Devils, Celtics at Rockets

Dec. 29: Bruins at Sabres, Celtics at Grizzles

Jan. 10: Bruins vs Capitals, Celtics at Heat

Jan. 12: Bruins at Maple Leafs, Celtics at Magic

Jan. 14: Bruins vs Canadiens, Celtics at Nets

Jan. 16: Bruins at Flyers, Celtics vs Raptors

Jan. 19: Bruins vs Rangers, Celtics at Hawks.

For two teams that share a building and play in leagues that generally schedule around eachother, this is astonishing. The NHL is supposed to be heavy on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays while the NBA is heavy on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for THIS EXACT REASON. 26 Bruins and Celtics games have conflicted with eachother in the first 3 and a half months of their season, including pretty much the entire month of November. This is unfortunate and makes it difficult for people who have rooting interests in both teams, making fans choose one team over another instead of being able to watch both of their favorite team’s games. Unexplainably foolish.

After a miserable and over packed stretch run schedule that may have (read: definately) hurt the Bruins in the playoffs last season, Bruins’ president Cam Neely requested that the NHL go a bit easier on them down the stretch, a fair request. They, uh, kind of listened? Instead of an absurd 28 games 43 days to finish the season like they had in 2018, they’ll finish up with in 18 games in 37 days. Meanwhile, the first 3 months of the Bruins schedule is filled with 2+ days breaks, which they will have just three of for the rest of the regular season beginning February 26th. Then, of course, there is the current 9 day break here at the end of January.

The NHL’s schedule doesn’t make any sense. It makes the playoff race less exciting, it kills rivalries, it’s inconvenient to fan’s viewing interests, and it literally hurts the teams performences.

Follow me on Twitter @jIabruins

Featured Image: Elise Amendola / Associated Press

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