It’s that strange lull day today between the glitz and awkwardness of the NHL Awards and the excitement of the NHL Draft, so the National Hockey League was nice enough to dump the regular season schedule onto our laps to give us something to talk about besides expansion.
The Calgary Flames will play 82 games in 2015-16 – 41 home and 41 away – just like the rest of the league. Here’s the rest of what you need to know about the upcoming schedule for a season that starts in three short months.
WHO DO THEY FACE?
Everybody! But if you’re talking about dates at the Saddledome that you’ll want to steal from the people you share season tickets with, here are the biggies:
- vs. Vancouver: Oct. 7, Feb. 19, Apr. 7
- vs. Edmonton: Oct. 17, Dec. 27
- vs. Montreal: Oct. 30
- vs. Pittsburgh: Nov. 7
- vs. Chicago: Nov. 20, Mar. 26
- vs. Winnipeg: Dec. 22, Mar. 16
- vs. Toronto: Feb. 9
- vs. Ottawa: Feb. 27
The Vancouver Canucks are Calgary’s first and last home dates of the regular season. Connor McDavid makes his Battle of Alberta debut on October 17 in Calgary. The New Year’s Eve game is earlier this year because it’s on a Thursday against the Kings, so it’s a 7pm start. There’s no Valentine’s Day game this year.
Oh, and the final dozen days of the regular season once again look insane, with Calgary playing the Kings twice, along with Anaheim, Vancouver, Edmonton and Minnesota.
ANY GOOD ROAD TRIPS FOR TRAVEL?
If you have some vacation time burning a hole in your pocket and you want to use it on hockey, here are four trips that might fit the bill:
- New York City in October: The Flames play the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on October 25 and make their debut in Brooklyn against the Islanders the next night. Fly in a day early and fly out a day late, and you have a nice four-day stint in the Big Apple!
- Florida in November: The Flames head to Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on November 10 and then head up the coast a bit to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 12. This trip is immediately followed by a back-to-back game in Washington, but it also follows a two-day gap in their schedule.
- Two Trips To California: The Flames give you two chances to head down to the greater Los Angeles area to see a couple games. In February, they play Anaheim on February 21 and the Kings on February 23. This may be the ideal trip, as you can arrive a day early and leave a day late and you have five days in sunny California. There’s another trip in late March – with Calgary playing a back-to-back with Anaheim on March 30 and Los Angeles on March 31 – so that trip would be a wee bit faster.
HOW ARE THE BACK-TO-BACKS?
Not bad. Calgary only has a dozen back-to-back seats, but the weird thing is that only three of them involve a home date:
- Home/Road or Road/Home: Winnipeg/Calgary (October), Calgary/Edmonton (October), Calgary/Vancouver (February)
- Road/Road: Manhattan/Brooklyn (October), Tampa/Washington (November), Arizona/San Jose (November, St. Louis/Detroit (December), Carolina/Dallas (January), San Jose/Arizona (February), Philadelphia/Boston (February/March) Toronto/Montreal (March), Anaheim/Los Angeles (March)
Again, most of the travel isn’t terrible, except for that Carolina/Dallas trip which just seems ill-advised.
- The majority of games are on Tuesday (17), Saturday (15), Thursday (13) or Friday (12).
- Games are generally at logical times with the expected large number of 7pm, 8pm and 5pm games. There are two games at 1pm MT (December 19 in St. Louis and March 5 in Pittsburgh) and two games at 4pm (January 24 in Carolina and the February 15 holiday Monday game in Calgary against Ducks).
- No Brier this year means that the longest Flames road trip is five games, and that generally the travel schedule isn’t horrendous.