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SYLVESTER'S BLOG: REDUCE THE SCHEDULE

by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
Jaroslav Spacek (Photo: Bill Wippert)
There are too many regular season games in the NHL. 


The evidence was Monday night at HSBC Arena when the Sabres and Predators trudged through the first two periods. Neither team had any legs because they were each playing their third game in four nights and for the Sabres, their fourth in six nights. 

The result of the compact week is uninspired hockey and a poor product.  It’s not fair to the owners, coaches, players or fans. 

The owners want to provide the best possible product to the fans and pay huge sums in salaries to see it, coaches want the best chance to win, players want to compete at their highest level, and I don’t need to tell fans what they deserve. Playing three games in four nights does not allow any of that to happen.  

So, what’s the solution?

There are two that I can think of: fewer games or a longer season. 

To reduce the number of games in the regular season would take a seismic shift all the way around.  The NHL and the NHLPA would have to agree on a reduction of games and that would mean a reduction in revenue. 

Translation - less money paid in salaries to the players, and less potential profit for the league. 

The only solution I can see would be to raise ticket prices for fewer games (supply and demand), but we are now officially in a recession and any price increases may force fans to go to Congress to beg for a bailout.  

As for a longer season, there is no chance of that.  One could argue it’s already too long with the Stanley Cup Finals ending in mid to late June.  

The bottom line is the system is not perfect and every owner, coach, player, and fan in the league has to live with it.  I can’t imagine how complex putting together the NHL schedule is with 30 teams all looking for dates, some competing with NBA teams, and all competing with ACDC for primetime in their own buildings. 

What I can imagine is an inspired effort by the Sabres on Thursday in Florida to make us forget all about the reason for this blog.


Thanksgiving Leftovers
Some responses to e-mails and comments from fans at the games:


  • Yes, it was extremely tight quarters in Pittsburgh during the Sidney Crosby interview.  The cameraman and I had to walk underneath the stands, over mousetraps, to reach the hallway to the Penguins dressing room for the interview.  The Hallway was slightly wider than two doorways combined.  The fun part was having two minutes to make it back to the hallway “studio” by the Sabres dressing room.  We ran.  I may start wearing sneakers on the road.
  • A friend asked me if I knew I was on camera in Montreal the other night or if I was trying to hide behind someone.  There was no room to move further out to get position for the camera because they had to close the Zamboni doors and the fella in front of me was sitting on a stool with his camera and would not budge.
  • And if you ever go to TD Banknorth Garden in Boston do not trust the lids for the coffee cups in the press lounge.  Prior to each game there in November (the 8th and 19th) I grabbed a cup of coffee and put the provided lid on to prevent spills.  False security!  The first time on the 8th wasn’t bad, but the one on the 19th was a soaker.  The sad part was I didn’t even know until my cameraman said, “what happen to your tie” before rehearsal.  It looked like a map of Florida!  Coffee and silk do not mix.  Consider yourself warned.    

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know.
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