This afternoon, the Detroit Red Wings announced their 2009-10 regular season schedule. We already learned what the preseason schedule was last week, but now we know how this upcoming season will shape up. For the complete list, you can visit DRW.com.
Upon returning to Detroit from Sweden, the Wings will host Chicago and two days later, the Washington Capitals (I'll be looking forward to that one). Detroit will go on its first western road trip in mid- to late October hitting Phoenix all the way to Calgary over five games. The Wings will hit all of the California teams in early February and the western Canadian teams in mid-March.
The Wings will host their traditional New Year's Eve game once again, playing against Colorado on December 31. This season's Winter Classic will take place at Fenway Park as expected, hosting the hometown Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Detroit will face the defending Stanley Cup champs (man, that was hard to type) at Mellon Arena on January 31 and later at the Joe on March 22.
Seven of Detroit's last 10 opponents will be Central Division teams (no surprise there).
What do you guys think of the schedule?
Update: Thanks to the great work of Dirk, a fellow SBN blogger behind On the Forecheck, we have some more interesting stats and comparisons regarding the schedule.
- According to Dirk, the Wings' travels will increase by 2,835 miles (from 39,642 last year to 42,477 this season). But before you start yelling conspiracy, there are 13 other teams who have to travel more than us and yes they are all Western Conference teams but one (the Florida Panthers).
- The league average this year is 40,638 miles traveled. Who has to travel the farthest? Calgary (55,351) and Dallas (51,182). The least? Buffalo (25,911) and Philadelphia (29,073).
- Detroit has 13 back-to-back games this year with a majority of the second game in these situations happening on the road. We kick off the season with back-to-back contests in Sweden against the St. Louis Blues. Last year, we had 16 back-to-back situations. The league average is 15.1.
- Thanks to the Olympic break in the second half of February, the schedule is a lot more scrunched up this year. Every team will see a lot more games on every other night or every third day and not as many extended breaks in between games like we saw last season. As Dirk mentioned, it is impressive that they managed to keep the league average of back-to-back games exactly the same (15.1) this season as last year in spite of the Olympic break.
- The Wings' longest road trip is set at five games and happens three times (Oct. 22-31, Jan. 2-12, and Jan. 31-Feb. 9). I think we got pretty lucky in that regard because some teams have some not so fun road adventures. For example, the Atlanta Thrashers have 13 road games out of 17 between Dec. 5 and Jan. 5. Happy holidays -- or not. The Vancouver Canucks play 14 straight road games in February before the Olympic break, setting an NHL record. But they will have an eight-game homestand to help make up for it.
- Detroit's longest homestand is four games from November 12-20.
- Assuming I can count correctly, the Wings have 39 games over the weekend (Friday-Sunday). The breakdown includes 23 Saturday games (only eight of which are at home), 9 Friday games (all but three will be at home), and 7 Sunday games (all but one are on the road). Ten of the weekend games are slated to begin at 4 p.m. EDT or earlier, including the two games in Sweden which both start at 3 p.m. EDT.
- Because I'm a University of Michigan student and sports fan, I always run and look to see how many U-M football and hockey games conflict with the Red Wings schedule. Not including playoff games, there are three home Michigan hockey games that are played on the same evening as home Red Wings games: Nov. 20 (Fri), Nov. 27 (Fri), and Dec. 11 (Fri). There is only one conflict between Michigan home football games and Red Wings games played at the Joe -- Oct. 17. That Saturday, the Wings host the Avs while the Big House welcomes Delaware State.