More rivarly games? Consider the NHL very interested.
Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams is reporting that the league is considering aggressive changes to its schedule so that teams like the Capitals and Penguins can play more local rivalry games against each other.
While the change would be good for fans, it’d also be good for the players and the league at large. The players would travel less and the league believes it would improve its bottom line.
The idea, according to Sportico’s reporting, has been discussed “multiple times over the past few months” and could begin as soon next season.
Other NHL rivalries that we could see more often include Flames-Oilers, Bruins-Canadiens, Devils-Rangers, Blackhawks-Red Wings, and Leafs-Canadiens.
This season, the Capitals play every team in the Western Conference two times — once at home and once on the road. The in-conference schedule is a little odder. The Capitals play every Eastern Conference team at least three times. The Capitals play five of the seven other Metropolitan Division clubs four times (CBJ, NJD, NYI, NYR, PHI), but only face off against the Penguins three times this season.
Currently, the NHL schedule is focused on parity — no team has a more difficult schedule than another — and bringing NHL stars to every market. But the pandemic season in 2020-21, where the league went to an all-divisional schedule, likely opened eyes to just how fun and easier a permanent change would be.
What do you think about the idea? Let us know in the comments.
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