August 25 2009 09:57AM
I don't know what the Flames have done to the NHL schedule makers, but Calgary is faced with the ugliest itinerary in the league this season. According to Dirk Hoag, the Flames will log 55,331 miles in 09/10 (up from the 52,941 they saw last season). They'll also play in 14 back-to-backs over the course of the season, which, considering the fact that B2B's were to the Flames what garlic is to vampires last year, isn't good news either.
Anyways, here's some dates to keep in mind -
Oct. 1 - Flames open the season against the Cancucks, as is customary. The game will be shown on CBC.
Oct. 3 - The first Battle of Alberta of the season.
Oct. 12 - 13 - The first B2B, starting in Chicago and ending in Columbus. The Blackhawks went 6-2 against the Flames last year (including the playoffs) and could probably be considered Calgary's nemesis. The Blue Jackets - as well as the entire Central Division - will probably be improved, so this will be a difficult couple of games.
Nov. 14 - Flames visit the Maple Leafs.
Nov. 30 - Calgary rolls into Nashville for the first time. For whatever reason, at least one game per year between these two teams turns into a total gong show. 7-6 was the score of last year's annual WTF? contest.
Nov. 21 - Dec. 7 - the Predators game falls in the middle of an ugly road trip for Calgary. Starting on the 21st, the Flames will play 8 of 9 games on the road, with only a single home game versus the Coyotes to break things up. The opponents during the trip will be, in order: Kings, Ducks, (Coyotes), Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Predators, Coyotes, Sharks and the Kings again. Not the toughest crowd, although I suspect the Kings will be greatly improved this season and won't be an easy win anymore.
Dec. 17 - Jan. 2 - The Flames get a reprieve in the form of their longest home stand. Opponents will include: Kings, Predators, Blues, Canucks, Kings, Oilers and the Maple Leafs...with a an out of town Battle of Alberta sandwiched in the middle for good measure. And, yes, the Flames play the Kings 4 times between Nov. 21 and Dec. 30.
Dec. 31 - The annual New Years Eve classic will take place in Calgary against the hated Oilers. Mark this one down on your calenders, it should be a good one (even though the Oil will likely be out of a playoff spot by this time anyways).
Jan. 13 - The Stanley Cup champs roll into town.
Jan. 30 - The final Battle of Alberta of the season (I know...hard to believe).
Feb. 5 - Jay Bouwmeester returns to Florida for the first time.
Mar. 5 - Brent Sutter faces his ex-charges, the NJ Devils.
Apr 4. - Apr. 10 - In what could be a pivotal point of the season, depending on playoff position and such, the Flames will face The Blackhawks, the Sharks, the Wild and, finally, the Canucks. Not an easy stretch of games, so let's hope things don't come down to the wire (again).