With the draft coming up on Friday, it's easy to forget that there are a few other big events and announcements taking place this week. Tomorrow night is the NHL Awards (CBC 6:30 MST) where players on other teams will be recognized for their excellent play in 2009-10. Later on today a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer will be announcing his retirement in Anaheim at almost the same time that the Hockey Hall of Fame will announce several new members. Moments later "Mark Howe" will be a trending topic on Twitter as angry fans flood the internet lamenting his being overlooked yet again. And of course, earlier today, the 2010-11 schedule was released. The full schedule will be posted with a few thoughts after the jump.
The Oilers have a pretty plain schedule for 2010-11. They have two fewer official pre-season games (this doesn't include the prospect tournament in Penticton where the Oilers will have games against the Flames, Canucks and Sharks) but the two that have been removed were both "road" games so while the players might get a break, season-ticket holders don't. Good luck selling those!
The Oilers play eleven back-to-backs in the regular season and ten of them see the second game played on the road. In five of those ten instances, they'll also be traveling across time zones. On the other hand, the Oilers play other clubs on the second night of a back-to-back on fifteen occasions, with eleven of those games in Edmonton and eleven of them seeing the opponent travel across time zones. Hard to complain about that!
In the past the Oilers have sometimes had a large imbalance to start the season with either many home games or many road games. This season, that's not really the case although the Oilers do start with ten of their first sixteen games on the road. They also have three "long" road trips during the year, each one being five games. None of the other trips are longer than three games. There are also four long homestands, two six-gamers, one with five games and one with four.
Below is the complete schedule. Orange games are on the road, blue games are at home and any games highlighted in yellow in the right-hand column are games where the opponent played the night before.