The NHL schedule is out, and I want to point out a few things that bug me most of the time:
1.) Starting the season overseas. Honestly, I don't think this is a terrible idea in and of itself: the NHL has to keep spreading the world in Europe, and Stockholm and Prague are great hockey cities. And Stockholm - think about the crowds that would turn out to see the goalie that led Sweden to a gold medal in 2006!
...Too bad Lundqvist is playing in Prague. Oh well - you know, Jagr plays for the Rangers, they'll turn out to see him...ooh, right. Avangard Omsk. Well, I'm sure the Czechs will turn out to see journeymen like Petr Prucha and Michael Roszival and Vaclav Prospal as the Rangers play two games against the Lightning - winners of the draft lottery. Not sure why Elias and Hejduk weren't invited - Rangers-Devils would certainly be a more interesting game.
Sweden gets to see the Senators and the Penguins. So certainly, I can understand sending out Sid Crosby to rally up the faithful, and the Sens have Danny Alfredsson, so no complaints there. Alfie is the only Swede on either roster, however.
2.) Opening Night
The NFL starts the season with the Super Bowl champion getting a home game against a rival, all alone on national TV Thursday night. Giants and the Redskins. We're given the cup champions, versus an out-of-conference team that didn't make the playoffs and whose most notable offseason move is adding someone named Finger. Yes, the Red Wings get to hoist the banner in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs, not, say, the Blackhawks, the Stars, or the Avs. The NHL then treats us to fewer than THREE 10:00pm EST games on a Thursday night, featuring neither conference runner up, and forcing Bruins fans to start their season in a semi-meaningless game in Colorado.
Needless to say, you'll have to have Versus to get the Red Wings - Leafs game - NBC wouldn't touch it.
3.) The Cup Rematch
You'll have to wait until November, which isn't too bad, but then the game is somewhat randomly a Tuesday night affair on Veterans day, of all times.
Philly and Pittsburgh also don't get to settle that score in the first month of the season, despite being in the same division, and Dallas and Detroit don't meet up until November. These rivalries are fresh NOW, Bettman.