Every year, one of the days that I look forward to more than any other, is that sweet summer day when the NHL releases its schedule. In a way, for me, my personal fall, winter, and early spring are being scheduled "for me" right before my very eyes. But in what I should now come to expect, every year, this "holiday" turns into a nightmare.
This year, the Islanders start the season in Buffalo. I mean, couldn't the scheduling making gods switch things up once in a while? Buffalo? This is the 3rd time in 5 years that the Islanders start in Buffalo! That is ridiculous. Not even a divisional opponent. What's more, while the Islanders continually start in Buffalo, they NEVER start at home. To date, in Islanders history since 1972, they have started the season at home only 4 times, not once since 1998! Every year, the Islanders are given a tough road game to start the season, never are they given a home game, and as a fan who would like to attend the first game of the season, it is almost never even a possibility--I did drive to Buffalo in 2005 though.
Ok, I have addressed how the Islanders openers are horrible. But how about these holiday day games. I am a college student and I have classes during the days like Columbus Day, MLK Day, and President's Day. I am willing to blow of some classes to watch the Islanders but the fact that I have to do so is ridiculous! I'm sure I'm not the only loyal Islander fan who has an issue with these games either. How do you sell your product to your fans when they are in school/or work during your home games? Answer: You can't. There are many fans that don't like missing games and the Islanders make this almost impossible with the continual scheduling of weekday holiday--nobody gets off- games. This makes me sick. ( I won't even mention how they play in Boston at 12:00 the day after Thanksgiving!)
Which leads me to one other area of concern. 7:00 weekday night home games. As many fans are, I am an unbelievably busy person. But although I am busy, what I love more than anything is being able to come home to sit and watch my favorite team--win or lose. On game days, I rush, and rush, and rush, and still am barely able to get in front of a TV by 7:30. But 7:00. That is almost an impossibility. I mean, 7:30 games usually end at about 10:00. That really isn't that late. Unless you are still in diapers, you can stay up to 10:00. I mean if you can stay up to 9:30, you can stay up to 10:00.
This may just be personal, but all I want out of a schedule is for it to be watchable. But the perpetual string of road season openers, holiday day games, and 7:00 weekday starts put a tremendous strain on my life that I--and I'm sure many others-- would like to have changed.
COME ON GARTH, IF YOU AREN'T GOING TO GIVE US A GOOD TEAM, AT LEAST GIVE US A TEAM THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY WATCH!