This season’s NHL schedule may be the craziest of all time. The implementation of new features such as the “compressed schedule” and the “bye-week”, coupled with typical NHL scheduling insanity, has resulted in a schedule that’s left many wondering if there was any planning by the league at all. The good news? The Capitals may be one of the more fortunate teams with regards to the remainder of the schedule.
The Tougher Stuff Is Done
The Capitals dealt with their most compressed portion of the new “compressed schedule” in December and January. Not only have they completed that segment of their schedule, but they were highly successful in dealing with it, winning most of the games.
Only 31 Games Left
The Capitals have played 51 games to date, and have the best record in the NHL. Many teams are behind that number. Normally, games “in hand” is a benefit, but with the compressed schedule, increased number of back-to-backs, and Some teams (Capitals) catching up on rest, this may be a disadvantage coming down the stretch.
The NHL and the NHL Players association agreed to implementing a bye-week this season, in part due to the extra play required for the World Cup of Hockey, leading to a “compressed schedule”. Many teams have already had their bye-week, and will be playing non-stop through the end of the season. The Capitals bye-week (Feb. 12-17) should be an excellent opportunity to rest-up, with plenty of time to kick it into high gear come playoff time.
Because of the compressed schedule, the league had to schedule a good number of back-to-back games. Unfortunately for many teams, the number of back-to-back games Scheduled were not evenly distributed. how can this be? Even baseball, with 162 games, can balance a schedule. The Capitals have a total of 14 back-to-back sets for the season, near the bottom of the league.
Only time will tell if things fall in to place for the Capitals, but it’s good to see that a few things in the karma department are going their way. At this point, there’s nothing left to do but play the games. (And cross your fingers).
Oh, and to the NHL: There is scheduling software readily available on the market.
First Ever Scheduled Bye Week Yields Compressed Game Schedule
By Jon Sorensen