So the NHL released next season’s schedule yesterday. This is always an exciting day for me because now I can plan my life for the next 10 months or so. My friends and family now know the 82 times between October and April during which they should not attempt to contact me. This is very important for them because over the years, they’ve learned to check the score of the Wings game before asking me for something. If things are going well, then they’ll hop on the phone asking for favors galore. If things aren’t looking so hot, they know to put off their requests until such time as I’m likely to be cheerful.
I’m really looking forward to the games in Sweden. If I had money instead of school, I’d totally be there. Unfortunately, that’s not how my life has worked out to this point. So instead, I’ll be chilling on the couch, celebrating the fact that the football game is away that weekend, and diving right back into my obsessive fandom.
I’m not going to go over the schedule. Enough people have done that already, and I don’t have much to add. Someone commented on Snapshots that the March schedule is brutal. I’d have to agree with that. I don’t think it’s going to be any different for any other teams though. The NHL schedulers have been lauded for not increasing the number of back-to-back games this year to account for the Olympic break. Instead there are just more one-day breaks between games. This is good for me as a fan, maybe not so good for the players. Remember last year when there was that five or six day-long gap in the Wings’ schedule for no apparent reason? That was miserable. None of that this year.
Other things of note: the Wings play Pittsbugh twice. I half expected the NHL to schedule them to play against the Pens in their home opener just so Gary Bettman could get the satisfaction of forcing them to watch the banner raise. Thankfully, the Hockey Gods aren’t quite cruel enough to allow that. They also play Alex Ovechkin and the Caps twice, which is nice since he’s only played at the Joe once before (Thanks for that, NHL and your misguided attempt to force teams into rivalries.). Other than that, it’s nice to see the New Year’s Eve game return. Not that the Winter Classic wasn’t worth it last year, but it was a little bit sad to miss that tradition last year.
Now that the schedule’s out, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Summer’s never been my favorite season. Some kids reveled in their summers, thrilled to be off of school and enjoying the weather. I spent my summers dreaming of ice and free agents and October. I realize that this isn’t entirely normal, but it is what it is. I can totally sympathize with this article, written by Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Korner fame for NHL.com. It’s pretty much the story of my life.
Snapshots pointed me to this video of Darren McCarty at the hockey camp at the Joe. Because, clearly, as a Wings fan, you needed another reason to love the guy.
I also stumbled across this on YouTube. It’s not necessarily Red Wings-related, but it made my friend and I laugh hysterically. There’s apparently a whole series of them on YouTube using the same clip. The Michael Jackson one’s pretty good too. In other amazing hockey-related video news, head over to Japers' Rink and check out these two videos. It’ll be worth your while. I promise.
I’m not even going to touch the Jiri Hudler saga. That one’s just going to have to play itself out. I can’t shake the feeling that the Wings are getting completely hosed with the whole deal, but I’m not one of those people who thinks that it’s intentional on the NHL’s part. I think they’ve been looking for a chance to make this an issue for a while, and the Wings were just lucky enough to be the ones to get caught in the cross-fire. I really don’t see Hudler suiting up for the Wings next season. I just think it would be nice to be able to get something back for developing him as an asset. You’re not supposed to lose valuable RFAs for nothing. Unless you fail to mail their qualifying offers in time. Oh no, what kind of postal nightmare have I brought upon myself for daring to mock them again? I’m going to leave you with that while I go cower in a corner and await the terrible consequences of that last comment.