OK, Mr. NHL Schedule Maker. I realize that you have a difficult job due to building conflicts, All-Star Games and outdoor game schedules. Yes it's a challenge to keep 30 teams happy (just ask the Atlanta Thrashers and their crazy schedule of late). Here is a suggestion that may make your job a little easier.
The Christmas break schedule has always been an interesting discussion. No, don't even think about Christmas Day games. We are hockey people - it won't work! End of conversation. But we could be a little more creative scheduling games during the holiday season.
This year Mr. NHL Schedule Maker, you did fairly well sorting out the games on December 26th - the one day during the season where teams have to travel the day of the game. Although still, Toronto at New Jersey, Montreal at Long Island, Pittsburgh at Ottawa? Maybe you can do better than that!
Here is a suggestion that I have heard around hockey circles that makes some sense:
A three-game, three-team mini-tournament during the Christmas window: December 23, 26, 27, 28 if you need those dates. Keep the teams close to home: Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal; the three New York area teams; Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver); L.A., Anaheim, San Jose; Florida, Tampa Bay, Atlanta; Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington; Phoenix, Colorado, Nashville; Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh; Detroit, Chicago, St Louis; and Columbus, Minnesota, Dallas; The last pairing wouldn't be perfect, but that's your job Mr. NHL Schedule Maker. This would be a win-win for everyone involved. The players would be a little more rested on December 26th. The families of players, officials and all involved would be happy. The NHL would have their buildings full with rivals playing off and most importantly the fans would benefit from that as well.
There is not a hockey person I know that doesn't feel the NHL schedule needs some work.
Perhaps this is a start.