Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he doesn’t necessarily buy in to the notion that starting a new season with a generous cluster of home games generally correlates to immediate success.
Rather, he said, “ideally, we’d like the schedule to be balanced.”
But granted, even with the team set to host nine of its first 13 games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where it has matched a single-season franchise-record 25 wins in each of the past two seasons, the Bolts’ 2012-13 slate appears to be pretty much on par with their general manager’s wish.
“I look at it from [the point of view of] game travel, where we’re playing, and back-to-backs, so, again I’ve seen it and it’s not too bad.”
The debate over whether a team benefits more from starting the season at home or on the road stems from two distinct schools of thought, Yzerman said.
“Some say it’s better to start on the road, to go out and get some games, bond and what not, but then there are those who prefer to stay at home, practicing, they want to get settled in, hopefully get out to a good start and have a positive feeling around the organization and around the city to build off of.”
Yzerman pointed to several stretches of the team’s schedule that present somewhat of a concern. There is a three-game trip out west towards the end of October that sees the Bolts play three times in four days against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, respectively. The Lightning will host six consecutive games at home on two separate occasions, which Yzerman called “kind of long for a home stand.”
Still, the upcoming campaign seems to be more proportionate in contrast to that of last season, giving Yzerman reason to be optimistic, yet also concede what is fact.
“In general, it’s pretty good,” he said. “But the bottom line is, you have to win games.”