Poll results: Canucks edge Sharks for toughest schedule


Earlier on Sunday night, it was revealed that the New York Rangers have the easiest 2013-14 schedule, at least according to PHT readers. So, who faces the toughest road?

As you can see from the top five, the Vancouver Canucks’ combination of heavy mileage and back-to-backs gave them the nod. Their 403 votes (24.69 percent) edged the San Jose Sharks’ 19.55 percent share (319 votes), as those two teams took a hearty chunk of the 1,632 total votes:


If you want another idea regarding the popularity of the Chicago Blackhawks, chew on this: they were in the top five for both the easiest and toughest schedules. Another interesting fact is that the Rangers came in at eighth place among the toughest schedule poll with 50 votes, although that only accounted for 3.06 percent.

In case you want some context, here’s how the top five toughest schedules look from the context of On the Forecheck’s super schedule.

Vancouver: 48,510 miles traveled, 17 back-to-backs
San Jose: 57,612 miles, 10 BtB
Boston: 42,389 miles, 17 BtB
Phoenix: 52,633 miles, 12 BtB
Chicago: 38,680 miles, 18 BtB

Judging from that snapshot, it seems like voters weigh both mileage and back-to-backs quite a bit.

Here are the teams who drew the least amount of votes:


Colorado, Edmonton and Nashville were in the bottom five of the easiest poll, too.

Related: Rangers take the easiest schedule vote

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.