The Key Dates

After having about a month to digest the upcoming schedule, I’ve compiled some must see dates, otherwise known as the nights before the mornings I will be calling in sick at work. In no particular order:

11/16/07 So let me get this straight, the Islanders take on the Devils in New Jersey and I will not be getting on a port authority bus bound for “The Land of Meadows”. Instead, we’ll all be taking the PATH train to Newark to see our neutral zone trap loving rivals. That will take some getting used to. Although this is not our building, it will be exciting to see the Isles play in a new local arena. I believe the building will help the Devils improve their attendance for a year to a year and a half and guarantee a better atmosphere than Continental. Look, however, for attendance to wane as the new car smell of the arena fades.

10/11/07 Isles at Leafs. Jason Blake is really the only departing free agent I will have difficulty getting used to seeing in another jersey. If any of you saw the press conference introducing him in Toronto, you would have noticed that his jersey seemed way too large for him. Is this some sort indication of how he will fill expectations in Toronto? Only time will tell. I do know that given the contract he received 20-25 goals a season may be considered underachieving. And Toronto is one of the last places a hockey player wants to underachieve. I thought he was a good player, and seemed like a likable person. I wish him and his family the best.

2/5/08 Stanley Cup defending champs at NYI. We will see the defending champs, and at the same time a team we very rarely play, in one night. It will be interesting to see how the Ducks handle the post Cup season letdown that has afflicted other teams in the past. See Carolina Hurricanes.

11/3/07 Al Arbour Night. If you told me Al Arbour was flying in from Canada to coach the NY Dragons, I would be tail-gaiting by late morning. This, to me, is the must game to attend this season. There’s too much to write here, so look for a separate post as 11/3 approaches.

Some general notes. The eight games against the Rangers are heavily weighted to the beginning and end of the season. I know some have complained about this scheduling. I am more concerned with the frequency for which we play them (along with all divisional rivals), than the timing. Eight games is simply too much. I feel it weakens the intensity when you see a team so many times. You know something’s wrong when you hear a fan incredulously ask “The Flyers…again?” A final observation, look for a potentially grinding Spring, as from March 21st through the end of the season, its all Atlantic Division games.

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