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Should NHL Consider Shorter Season?


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The NHL schedule currently last around 180-185 days and features 82 games; each team plays once every 2.1 days, often featuring back to backs and three games in four days. A truly gruelling grind.

The improved schedule that I would propose would start a week earlier and finish by the first Monday in April. This would be a 180-190 day schedule featuring 60 games—home and away against every NHL team—meaning a game every 3.1 days.

Every team would play at least one midweek game and one weekend game every week. There would be eight game weeks where teams would play three games. These weeks would never feature back-to-back games and would always be intra-conference, meaning that teams will not have long road trips on their busier, three game weeks. Teams would also be facing other teams on their three game weeks to avoid a more rested team getting a competitive advantage.

This new schedule would also compensate for an all-star break and a Christmas break so the players and league can keep their scheduled breaks.

The playoffs, however, would be left untouched because there is no reason to change a formula that is currently working and liked by everyone involved in the game of hockey. However, the one change would be giving each team a one-week break prior to the playoffs so they can have a rest before the rigors of the playoffs begin. As things stand now, teams are lucky to have four days off before the playoff madness begins.

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Ouf course Canadian teams have first bid on dates to schedule their games. But what about the MSG in New York? Or elsewhere where teams share their arenas with a NBA team or where concerts generates more revenues than hockey? The league has to play with those factors when comes time to put up a schedule.

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