No question: Los Angeles are the kings of the road in 2011-12

With the 2011-12 season rapidly approaching, the gang at PHT decided to take a look at all 30 NHL teams’ schedules. Each team’s highs and lows will be studied in detail to give you an idea of what the future might hold for each squad.

Note: Mileage figures via On the Forecheck’s “Super Schedule.”

Los Angeles Kings schedule analysis

Total mileage: 55,591 (most miles in NHL; most in Pacific Division)

Back-to-back games: 15

Toughest stretches

The Kings start the season off with a tough stretch as they travel nine time zones to open the season with a back-to-back in Berlin and Stockholm. When they come back to the United States, they’ll make a pit stop on the East Coast to face the Devils and Flyers before they make it back to the West Coast.

By far, the toughest span for the Kings will be in the second half of the season between February 3 and March 11. The Kings will play 14 of 18 games on the road, including five separate back-to-back situations. Within the run of away games, they’ll face off with teams in the Midwest, Southeast, and New York before finally finishing with a pair of games against the Red Wings and Blackhawks.

Easiest periods

The month of January should be kind to the Kings this season. Their friendly stretch of 10 out of 13 games at Staples Center actually starts on New Year’s Eve and runs through February 1. A pair of games against the Flames, Avalanche and Blue Jackets; in addition to games against the Stars, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, and Senators should set up nicely for the team looking for a mid-season hot streak.

Los Angles also has a seven game stretch starting on November 3 when they won’t have to leave California for two weeks.

Overall outlook

By just about any measure, the Kings have a ton of traveling to do this season. They’ll travel more than any other team this season—by a sizeable margin. The Kings 55,591 miles they’ll travel this season is almost 3,000 more than the next closest team (Florida). Starting the season with back-to-back games in Europe set the tone (both of which are somehow “home” games). In fact, they don’t play their first game at Staples Center until October 18.

It’ll be important for the Kings to take advantage of their favorable schedule in January because afterwards they’ll have to deal with an extremely difficult five week stretch of games.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.