That sound you heard around 1:30 p.m. ET was millions of Canadian men ruffling day planners, and furiously clicking through their Blackberries. ‘Tis the wedding season, a time in which you’re either walking down the aisle (congrats!), or you’re participating in the cash grab holy matrimony of a friend or family member.
The nightmare scenario amongst all of this marital bliss is the appearance of Lord Stanley’s cup on the same day. Thankfully we’ve dodged that bullet this year, unless you’re involved in some bizarre mid-week wedding. But missing any Stanley Cup Final action is painful, so my heartfelt condolences go out to those of you who will be buried in your handy mobile devices during Game 2 on June 4.
With Vancouver already holding home ice advantage no matter who wins Game 7 between the Lightning and Bruins, the NHL was able to release the schedule for the Stanley Cup Final earlier this afternoon. All games will start at 8 p.m. ET, and a two-day break between games will occur twice (between games one and two, and again between games five and six).
Sadly, Supertramp is the schedule’s first victim. The band that’s usually bloody well right was scheduled to be on stage Wednesday, June 1 at the same time as the opening faceoff of Game 1. Now, before we throw barbs at Canucks Sports and Entertainment for scheduling an 80′s smash hit band when their Stanley Cup contending team would probably need the ice, let’s remember that Tampa Bay had to work around four nights of Toy Story on ice.
The latest possible date for the cup to be awarded and for Gary Bettman to make a poetic speech in which he says something about trying really hard is June 15. That’s a whole nine days before the start of the draft.
We understand that the league and most hockey fans have fallen in love with the rigid format of the 82-game season, and the gruelling marathon that’s a rite of passage before sipping from the cup. But does that marathon really need to start in September and end halfway through June? As Rick Moldovanyi noted while making the case for a shorter season, there’s only one month in which nothing of consequence happens in the league’s calendar.
The NHL will never consider even just a slight tweak similar to the 76-game schedule adopted by the AHL. It probably has something to do with money, but we’re just operating on a hunch. The tiny window provided by six fewer games would do more than just give the league a shot at avoiding the weirdness of hockey being played in June.
The small gap would help with promotion, giving the league a chance to prop up the draft and free agency, and two of the most important events of the year wouldn’t blend in and be overshadowed by the Stanley Cup Final.