The NHL released the 2009-2010 schedule today. For the Rangers (and myself), it brings a mixed bag. Click here to see what's on slate for the Blueshirts.
Due to the Olympic break, there isn't a whole lot of time to rest over the course of the schedule. Much of the dates are packed in every-other-day rips, which is nice as that's the best way to get hot and stay hot. Then again, once you get in a losing streak it is that much harder to get out of it. And with the aforementioned Olympics, Torts will have to be super-sensitive to when Hank will get some rest - the last Olympics cost the Rangers a legitimate Cup run because Hank, Jagr and co. had played eight games more than most of the league.
The Rangers open their official schedule with the mighty slap across the face of having to stand and watch as the Penguins raise their Cup banner. Nice, right? Then they have to rush right back home for the Garden opener against Ottawa the next day - a Saturday! It should be a bloodbath in the Garden as they try to mix weekend family fun with Saturday night drunkenness and (hopefully) not the massive disappointment of a loss. At the least it will be interesting to see the reception for almost-Ranger Dany Heatley. I wonder if I should try bringing my Redden sign back ... hmmm ...
Personally, I don't like how things were laid out too much. As someone who works weekend evenings, I will have to beg and plead to get someone to cover me a helluva lot more than I wanted to as 13 of the 41 home games fall on Saturday or Sunday - and only three of those are day games. The 5 pm Sunday start against the Ducks on October 11th (the second home game of the season) doesn't count. And what is up with that? Are they trying to accommodate the 1 pm Giants game against Oakland of all teams?? I'm sure that will be one big draw and definitely one worth pandering to - for both Big Blue and the Blueshirts. /sarcasm
The rest of the schedule is mediocre - it will be nice to see the Red Wings in the Garden but Marian Gaborik's lone game against the Wild will be in Minnesota. That the Rangers don't have a home game against every Original Six team is also annoying; the Blackhawks won't be coming to New York. We don't see the Islanders in the city until the middle of December; hopefully by then DiPietro should be out for the season and Tavares will have proved to be a bust.
There are two long rips of days without home games aside from the Olympics, a 11 day rip in early November and a 13 day rip right before the final two games of the season. The Blueshirts Off Our Backs game - i.e. the season-ender - is against the Flyers on Friday April 9th. That will certainly be good to go out and drink our sorrows away, should the team not make the playoffs.
Well, there is a whole lotta time before that comes so let's just dread one thing at a time - starting with the two months of hockeyless days before camp opens ...