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Penguins One-Timers: Murray, Malkin and Bad Scheduling



Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins goalie battle took the expected turn, Evgeni Malkin has asserted himself over his opponents but still hasn’t received the proper recognition, and the Penguins have six games in the next 10 days. But hey, they get the All-Star break and the bye week, right?

The Penguins schedule is nothing short of crazy. It’s not really time off if you have to work 80 hours before your weeklong vacation. The Penguins will have almost 10 full days off as the ASG and bye week created a gap in their schedule; their last game before the break is Jan. 21, then they resume play on Jan 31.

NHL players are at greater risk of injury, fatigue and general burn out because the NHL must run teams and players into the ground before giving them time off. Then again, how many more Penguins can be seriously injured?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Do we really need an 82-game schedule? The argument has always been, and always will be, that cities want to see the stars from the other conference. Why, what would happen if Vancouver fans didn’t get to see Sidney Crosby once per year?

The argument is based on superficial logic. In reality, only 18,000 fans get to “see” Sidney Crosby but millions more watch on TV. The shrinking world and exploding technology have delivered Crosby on-demand to fans across the league.

Let’s not get into how many teams truly make money on regular-season home games. Perhaps a shorter regular season would allow a better NHL All-Star Game and the World Cup of Hockey? And Olympic participation? When Seattle begins to play, the league could adopt a 75-game season in which each team plays its division rivals five times, conference foes three times and the other conference teams once. Or conference teams play each other four times and the opposite conference once which would create a 76-game schedule.

There. We just shaved two weeks off the season and added an event which brings in millions of dollars to offset the loss of three home games (which most teams lose money on anyway).

Pipe dreams.

Evgeni Malkin

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.