With today's announcement of the 2010-11 NHL Regular Season schedule, the debates will naturally begin over which team has the toughest or easiest schedule, who has to travel the most, who has the most games on back-to-back nights, etc.
For years, those debates were founded in ignorance and partisanship, so for the fourth consecutive season, I'd like to present the NHL Super Schedule to help inform your arguments.
Follow after the jump for a freely downloadable version of the schedule, along with all the details as to which teams will travel the most and least this upcoming season...
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As you can see in the table below (which covers the upcoming season along with the last two), after yielding their title to Calgary for a season, the San Jose Sharks resume their position as the Most Frequent Flyers in the NHL, traveling an expected 56,254 miles during 2010-11. The least-traveled teams will continue to be those in the New England area, like New Jersey (27,152) and the New York Islanders (28,210).
Another concern is the number of times each team has to play on back-to-back nights. The typical "points percentage" for an NHL team is about .560 (they earn 56% of all possible points), but that dips by about .050 for teams which are coming off a game the night before. This year, the Buffalo Sabres face the greatest burden there, with 22 back-to-back sets, whereas the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks have the fewest with 11.
Surprisingly, even without the Olympic break sandwiched into the season, we see an increase in the number of back-to-back sets that teams have to play this year, with the average going up from 15.1 to 15.8 per team.
|Team||08-09 Miles||09-10 Miles||10-11 Miles||08-09 B2B||09-10 B2B||10-11 B2B|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||41,305||40,410||44,600||20||12||18|
|Detroit Red Wings||39,642||42,477||39,793||16||13||14|
|Los Angeles Kings||44,917||45,682||39,348||15||12||13|
|New Jersey Devils||29,289||31,340||27,152||18||19||20|
|New York Islanders||28,126||31,550||28,210||17||19||20|
|New York Rangers||34,603||33,615||29,063||15||13||18|
|San Jose Sharks||56,111||46,415||56,254||14||13||14|
|St. Louis Blues||41,248||44,971||41,473||19||18||17|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||45,812||37,722||40,522||16||12||17|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||33,240||32,313||33,470||13||18||14|
Click on any of the column headers to sort by that value. Data corrected 7/26/2010.
For travel miles, I've set up a matrix outlining the distance (as the crow flies) from each NHL arena to every other NHL arena. Thus, as each team goes through the schedule from Game 1 to 82, I track the distance from each site to the next. Accommodations are made for the teams opening the season in Europe (with the assumption that they travel home from Europe before their next road game) and the All-Star Game (if a team has road games immediately before and after the break, I insert a trip home).
Below, you can get a preview of what the spreadsheet looks like. You can download it from Google Docs into your favorite spreadsheet application, and hammer away at it as you like, whether that's performing a Strength of Schedule analysis that splits out 5-on-5, PP, and PK work, counting the number of times each team has to go through a Time Zone change, or determining the number of one-game road trips and home stands (which is something that's often complained about).
Scroll down for the column explanations, where needed. If you go through the spreadsheet and notice anything odd, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a question or clarification.
Game: Game number for that team within the 82-game campaign.
H/R: Home or Road game.
Days Gap: The number of days since that team's previous game. Days Gap = 1 means a game on back-to-back nights.
Opp Win%: The opponent's winning percentage from the 2009-10 season. The columns that follow (Goals/G, GA/G, etc.) also come from the opponent that night.
Date Value: A numerical expression of the date, useful for formula purposes.