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Belated thoughts on Preds’ 2012-13 schedule

Last month the 2012-13 regular season schedule was released. At the time, I was in Pittsburgh for the draft and was unable to get a good look at it.

Over the last week, as I’ve recovered from oral surgery, I put together a few thoughts on the Predators’ schedule – which, by the way, may be irrelevant if the CBA negotiations extend into October (hopefully that’s not the case).

A month-by-month breakdown:
October – 4 home, 6 away
November – 8 home, 5 away
December – 6 home, 9 away
January – 5 home, 7 away
February – 8 home, 4 away
March – 6 home, 7 away
April – 4 home, 3 away

Longest home stand: 4 games (Oct. 13 – Oct. 20; Nov. 8 – Nov. 15; Nov. 24 – Dec. 1; Feb. 12 – Feb. 18)
Longest road trip: 7 games (Oct. 22 – Nov. 6)

National TV possibilities:
NBC – There is only one Sunday game in the second half of the season, and it is a 12 p.m. start in New Jersey on Feb. 24. However, there are no other headline matchups on the slate for that day, so one would assume that NBC will not have a game.

NBC Sports Network – It’s hard to get a feel for what the devoted network could do now that they have branched out from their usual Monday-Tuesday schedule when they were previously known as ‘VERSUS’. The Predators do have early-week games against Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota and St. Louis that could attract NBCSN. Will back-to-back second-round appearances change their approach to giving the Predators more of a national spotlight? Don’t count on it.

CBC – Last season the Predators had two games on Hockey Night in Canada, both at home (Montreal and Winnipeg). They have zero Saturday games against Canadian opponents this season, which means no CBC.

Observations:
– The Preds’ season-opener is on the road for the fourth time in the last five years. They will head to Detroit on Oct. 12 before returning to host St. Louis the following night for the home opener. It is the second time they’ve opened at home against St. Louis. Also, the Preds will close the season away from home for the sixth time in the last seven years.

– In 2010-11 the Preds had some serious home cooking to close the season, with 12 of the final 15 games coming at home. Only six of the last 15 games were at home last season. This season, eight of the final 13 games are at home.

– No matter how the team looks this season, the first road trip is going to be crucial. From Oct. 22 through Nov. 6, the Preds will go out on their longest road trip of the season. They will face six Western Conference opponents along with Winnipeg, whose building is tough to play in.

– The biggest stretch of home games occurs in the season’s first half, where the Preds will play nine of 12 at Bridgestone Arena from Nov. 8 through Dec. 1. They will need to take advantage of those games before a road-heavy month of December.

– First-round opponent Detroit (and Jordin Tootoo) comes to town on the following dates: Dec. 15, Mar. 28 and Apr. 11 (home finale). Second-round opponent Phoenix comes to town on the following dates: Feb. 14 and Mar. 19.

– Minnesota’s Ryan Suter makes his return to Nashville on Saturday, Dec. 1.

– Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Nashville on Oct. 20. Alex Ovechkin, Jack Hillen and the Washington Capitals come to Nashville on Dec. 29. Both games fall on Saturdays, which should equate to big crowds.

– The Preds will have a home-and-home with all of their Central Division counterparts, except for St. Louis.

– The Preds will have 11 back-to-backs, the same number they had a season ago.

– The three Eastern Conference teams the Preds face twice are Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington.

– For attendance purposes, the Preds always try to squeeze in as many Saturday home games as possible. This season they have 13 Saturday home games, the third-fewest in the team’s history and the fewest since 2000-01 when there were 11.

– Last season the Preds’ only home game to start earlier than 6 p.m. was the New Year’s Day game against Calgary. This season marks the return of the odd 5:00 start times on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 21 vs. Los Angeles) and Presidents’ Day (Feb. 18 vs. Boston), which are not a favorite for fans who do not get those days off from work (who does?).

– Last season the Preds played in three matinee games (at Calgary, at NY Islanders, at Boston). This season they have two (Feb. 24 at New Jersey, Mar. 30 at Colorado). For the second straight season, the Preds will have zero matinee home games. They had two of them in 2010-11.

– According to On The Forecheck, the Preds will travel approximately 43,739 miles this season. Last season they traveled 39,534.

– The Preds’ pre-season schedule was also released last month. For the second straight season they will open the pre-season with a rare doubleheader in Florida. Also, the Preds will only play two home games on the pre-season slate.

 
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