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Modano Blog: Schedule Thoughts

by Michael Modano / Dallas Stars

Well we have eight games left and all of them are against our division. Every team in the league has the same format too, with divisional play closing out everyone’s schedule. I like this format to the schedule a lot. It makes divisional races more interesting and it’s all decided on the ice. You’re in a situation where you control your own destiny.

Divisional play is perfect for this time of year, but playing each team in your division eight times is a bit much. It’s bad for the fans, first of all. They get tired of seeing the same teams over and over again (so do the players). And I bet if you took a poll of the players they would overwhelmingly like to see us go back to the old schedule where every team visits every building every year. Fans want to see Ovechkin, Crosby, Kovolchuk, Malkin, Heatley, and everyone else in the league, and they should come through every city, every year.

It’s good that the league is at least changing it next season to where every team plays each other at least once, but there still is the issue of every team visiting every other city each year. Hopefully that final change will come about soon.

Playing your division eight times was not the answer. The league was trying to develop some rivalries with this schedule but it has not worked. Rivalries are made in the playoffs. You could see that with the older version of the playoffs in the late 80’s and early 90’s, where each division would play each other in the first two rounds. I can remember how much Chicago and Detroit and Minnesota hated each other in the old Norris Division. It was easy to do when you meet in the playoffs each season.

I like the way the playoffs are today, for the most part. I like the variety of playing different teams. One thing I don’t like is the automatic seeds that division champions get. I would rather seed them 1-8, by record in the conference and go from there. Where you fall is where you fall.

This team has some things to prove. We’re trying to get back to playing solid hockey like we were a few weeks ago. No one likes this current streak we’re on, but we’ll do what we can to turn it around. The timing of the streak is the worst part of it. It raises more eyebrows in March when you go 1-5 over six games than if you do it in November. We’re getting to the end now and everyone wants to be playing our best heading into April.

The guys on this team are a year older and we have a year more experience playing together. The disappointments of losing in the playoffs the last few years only creates that hunger to establish ourselves and adds a great deal of motivation to erase the past.

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