What they’re saying about the 2012-13 schedule

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As you might imagine, the release of the 2012-13 schedule elicited a lot of reactions from the NHL community. Here’s a sampling of some of the immediate thoughts and facts brought up by hockey writers and staffers on Twitter following the unveiling.

Let’s start out with some good news for the Buffalo Sabres:

“Sabres will play a franchise-low 11 back-to-back sets next year after averaging 20 since 1970 and leading the league in 2010-11 and 2011-12.” — Buffalo Sabres PR staffer Ian Ott

Of course, not every team will be happy with the schedule and the Pittsburgh Penguins might end up feeling like they got a raw deal:

“Pens start season at home on Oct. 12 against the Islanders. Later in the month, they have a very bizarre 6-game road trip … Check out this road trip for Pens: at Ottawa, at Washington, at Columbus, at NJ, at Chicago, at Toronto. That makes a lot of sense … Pens play 12 of 14 games at home late in regular season. Very odd.” — Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Chicago Blackhawks schedule looks like a bit of a mixed bag. They do have several lengthy road trips ahead of them, as Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune pointed out. However, the news isn’t all bad:

“‪#Blackhawks‬’ seven-game homestand from Feb. 15-March 1 equals franchise-longs set in 1926-27, 1951-52 and 1969-70.” — Chris Kuc

The Florida Panthers will also enjoy a lengthy homestand:

“‪#FlaPanthers‬ tie a franchise record with a 7-game homestand, Feb. 24-Mar. 10” — Florida Panthers’ Official Twitter

Finally, here’s a few minor odds and ends:

“Winnipeg doesn’t make trip to ‪#mnwild‬ this season. So much for the momentum of a great rivalry started last year. Lost a sellout too.” — Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Good news for Sens fans: Of the 6 games vs. Toronto this year, only 2x is it the second of a back-to-back for Ottawa. Happened 6x last year.” — Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes

“Devils’ 2012-13 sked is opposite of 2011-12 in that almost all of out of conference travel is in 2nd half.” — Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.

Awful injury news for Blues’ Bouwmeester, Sanford

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Hockey’s training camps and exhibition games share a lot of similarities, big-picture wise, with other sports.

As much as they’re all about evaluating players trying to make rosters and rule tweaks heading into each season, the “winners” of a pre-season may just be the teams that make it out without any significant injuries. The St. Louis Blues aren’t one of those winners.

The team announced unsettling injury updates for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Zach Sanford on Tuesday.

Sanford is expected to miss five-to-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. That virtually wipes out an important season for a guy who was still trying to stake his claim to a full-time roster spot.

Bouwmeester’s situation is probably more troubling, potentially, as he’s already a key defenseman for the Blues (averaging more than 22 minutes last season, which was a slight decrease from recent work). The team announced that Bouwmeester suffered a fractured ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

As tormenting as day-to-day updates can be, “check back in three weeks” makes for even great anxiety.

It does open up some opportunities for other players in the Blues organization, for whatever that’s worth.

This news comes shortly after the Ottawa Senators announced that Colin White will miss multiple weeks with a broken wrist.

You almost wonder if we’ll start to see fewer practice updates like these:

Senators’ prospect Colin White out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist

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Bad news for the Ottawa Senators today.

The club announced Tuesday that prospect center Colin White is out six to eight weeks with a broken left wrist.

The Senators selected White 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. After two years at Boston College, he signed his entry-level deal in April and appeared in two regular season games for Ottawa. He also appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, though he only saw 2:39 of ice time.

That’s certainly disappointing for White, who could’ve had a shot to make the big club out of training camp. One of the question marks for Ottawa had been the status of fellow center Derick Brassard, who had offseason shoulder surgery with a recovery timeline of four to five months.

“I come here and worry about myself, do the right things on and off the ice, take care of my body. If I’m playing well and taking care of my game, I’ll fight for a spot,” White told the Ottawa Citizen prior to training camp.

It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai

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The Vancouver Canucks dealt with some adverse conditions as they hit the ice at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in preparation for this week’s 2017 NHL China Games exhibition series versus the L.A. Kings.

According to the pictures, it was a little on the foggy side for their practice.

Is that . . . Henrik Sedin in the distance?

The Canucks and Kings face off Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Arena, before traveling to Beijing for Saturday’s game at Wukesong Arena.

The good news? It appears the fog was lifted in time for the Kings’ practice.

NHL cracking down on slashing, faceoff violations to begin preseason

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The NHL has made it a point to crack down on slashing for the upcoming regular season. With the preseason underway, the foundation for the new standard is being set.

Dating back to late June, the NHL had vowed to call slashing more closely after a number of incidents last season, including Marc Methot‘s gruesome finger injury, which was the result of a slash to the hands from Sidney Crosby.

Monday’s game between the Islanders and Rangers featured nine slashing minor penalties. The Devils and Capitals were only 41 seconds into their preseason game Monday when Jimmy Hayes was called for slashing. A total of six slashing minors were called in that game — not to mention three faceoff violations.

From the Washington Post:

There’s been talk of being harder on slashing following several wrist, hand and finger injuries last season from dangerous stick work. “Now, as soon as your stick is off the ice and you touch the other players’ stick or hands, it was zero tolerance today,” Eller said. More surprising was the three faceoff violation penalties called in the first period of the game. That also represented a new emphasis from the league. “Cheating” on faceoffs has been commonplace, and for centers who’ve made their name winning faceoffs with a certain style and routine, staying perfectly within the red lines in the circle was an adjustment.

According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the Senators-Maple Leafs game Monday also featured three faceoff violations. It appears right now there will be quite an adjustment for players across the league to the apparent crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations, especially early on.

However, will this be the standard for the entire season? For the playoffs?

“I have a tough time believing that in the playoffs, in Game 7, that kind of call is going to be made,” Mark Letestu told Sportsnet. “Right now, there’s an overemphasis on it, and hopefully it doesn’t go all the way back to where it was.”