Hockey experts break down player additions and subtractions, goaltending, overall team talent, coaching and various other attributes. Yet when people make predictions or judge teams, it seems like a club’s schedule rarely gets the attention it deserves.
The Carolina Hurricanes must be happy they took the maximum four points out of their European vacation, because their schedule might get even tougher over the next few weeks. They play their next five games on the road, play one other contest in New York and their two October home games are against Stanley Cup favorites Pittsburgh and Washington. Here is a screen shot of that brutal schedule from the Hurricanes official Web site.
Jeez, did the Hurricanes make some enemies in the scheduling office? Joe Corvo was incredulous about the team’s start, as you can read about in the NHL.com article.
No, it is ridiculous,” Corvo told NHL.com when the topic of the Hurricanes’ schedule upon their return from Finland was brought up. “From the start here (in Helsinki) to the West Coast trip and then to starting at home against Washington and Pittsburgh, it’s just like, how much can you guys handle in one month?
“It’s going to be a test. A mental test more than anything else.”
The key, though, is to note the article’s “having said that” paragraph regarding where the Hurricanes’ schedule will be soft during the 2010-11 season.
Sure, they get 16 of their final 24 games of the season at home, and that could be fruitful timing for a team that figures to be in the pack chasing a playoff spot all season, but the Hurricanes can’t look that far down the tunnel for the light right now.
Getting those four points in Finland is huge, though. If Carolina could get hot in October, they’ll put themselves in a great position to make the playoffs – and maybe make a run at the division title – by earning those tough points while they’re fresh and then they can take advantage of the softer parts of their schedule.
Either way, it’s a tough start to the season, but if the team can not only survive but thrive under that pressure, they could end up with a gem of a 2010-11 season.