Tonight the Penguins will play their second game in three days, something not all that uncommon through the years in the NHL. In fact, that's close to par for the course. This year, though... not so much.
The Penguins game Wednesday was their first since the previous Saturday, a span of four days between games. Later this month, after Thanksgiving, the Penguins again go from a Saturday to Wednesday without playing a game, only to see their schedule loaded with back-to-back's. This is only repeated once more this season, in January. Speaking of January...
In January there's an entire WEEK without Penguins hockey, the very first week. That's right, January 1st-7th the Penguins play ZERO games.
It's made it difficult to get in the flow of things as a Penguins fan, and I can only imagine how it is as a player who is trying to find his footing after a long off season. The continuity on the roster should help but still makes for shaky footing.
All of this is coming about because of the NHL All Star Game and the World Cup. Here's how:
When the NHL felt it needed to retool their All Star format they went to the NHLPA and negotiated the 3-on-3 format (or the John Scott special) for a bye week starting in January and running through the end of February.
When you add a schedule already condensed by a late start due to the World Cup, it's a lot to cram in to one 82 game schedule. Mandatory days off and other such built in days make for a really, really weird start to a season that levels out towards the end.
It's made figuring out when the Penguins play frustrating, it's made waiting really hard, and made you really bored. It's kinda butt. Unfortunately for us it's here to stay. The players? You probably won't hear too much from them about it.