One more week!
In a season where teams will play 48 games in 99 days, the schedule becomes a huge factor in a team’s success. The New York Rangers’ schedule breaks down as follows.
5: Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins
4: New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders
3: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets
…At first hearing the Rangers were playing the Flyers and Penguins five times I was annoyed but then I began to like the idea. For starters that is ten amazing games to watch, the Rangers made the Flyers their you-know-what last year, they always seem to stink it up against the Islanders anyway, and I like the fact that by playing their top two competitors the Rangers’ fate is in their own hands…
January: 5 home/2 away
February: 7 home/5 away
March: 6 home/9 away
April: 6 home/8 away
…It kind of sucks that the Rangers have such an away heavy schedule in the months of March and April. 8 of their last 13 games and 11 of the last 18 games are on the road. It is not ideal but I trust Torts to have the team ready and luckily in the last week the Rangers play the Devils at home twice so things could be much worse…
Based on Dirk Hoag’s analysis the Rangers have the least amount back-to-backs with 6 and the second least amount of miles traveled with 12,048.
…The low miles traveled is an added bonus, but the real winning ticket here is the 6 back-to-backs. No matter how well the Rangers have performed in the past in back-to-back games, the high volume is going to kill some teams this year. The Red Wings having to play 12 back-to-backs is just going to be brutal.
Overall I’d say the Rangers schedule is fairly favorable. It is nothing that the team can’t manage and I have to say I am excited to not have to wait three, four days in between games this year…
The New York Rangers and restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto agreed to a two year, $5.1 million dollar contract.
The 22-year-old defenseman set career highs in goals, assists, and plus/minus.
…A good move by both sides. The reports of Del Zotto seeking $3+ million seemed a bit far fetched and it was nice to see both sides come to an agreement so quickly. Del Zotto made some nice improvements in his own zone last year but at his age he needed to report asap and get to work on the defending below the hash marks and improving the Rangers meek power play.
Some people suggested the Rangers should have tried to secure him for a couple more years, but if Del Zotto develops into a top power play quarterback in the next two years I have no problems with the Rangers making cap room to re-sign him and if he doesn’t it makes it easy to part ways…
NHLPA Executive Board voted last night,to give players a vote to AUTHORIZE Exec Board to chose to proceed on Disclaimer of Interest #TSN
— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) December 14, 2012
— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) December 14, 2012
…This sounds more like a threat than anything else by the NHLPA, but if they do wind up going forward with the Disclaimer of Interest it would likely signal the end of any hope for a season…
Update: 5:08 PM
NHL responds to NHLPA news today by filing complaint with NLRB claiming PA has engaged in bad faith bargaining. Another fight begins…
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 14, 2012
…I can’t imagine this leading to anything good. Could mean the end of the season is coming that much closer to a reality. However some have noted it only took basketball two weeks to solve the lockout after the NBA took similar steps. Anyone who claims to know what will come of this is completely speculating. The only thing I think it means is that we will have an answer on what will happen for this season sooner rather than later now that the courts are involved…
Loose translation from Google:
Stepan is confident that the NHL will start in the coming weeks and he wanted to return to North America in peace to prepare for the NHL season.
…With the return of Stepan, all New York Rangers not named Lundqvist are back in the states. Hmmm. Couple that with today’s secret meeting and a decent number of players over in Europe citing minor injuries to return home and there seems to be some optimism the lockout could finally be coming to an end…
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, has called the term limits on contracts “the hill we’ll die on.”
The NHL is currently calling for a two-tier system of contracts where free agents can sign up to seven year deals with their own club or up to five years with another team. The NHL feels this is crucial to the long-term financial health of the league. The belief is it only takes one contract to cripple a franchise’s value, which then becomes a burden on the rest of the league. Along with the NHL’s five-percent year-to-year variance proposal, the term limits would help put an end to cap circumventing contracts (see Kovalchuk, Ilya).
The NHLPA was initially calling for a ten-year maximum, but came down to an eight-year max and and a twenty-five percent salary variance to be applied to seven and eight year contracts.