Plenty of challenges facing Edmonton Oilers as NHL announces revised schedule

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Olympics? What Olympics?

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Not only will NHL players not be playing in the quadrennial showpiece for the second Olympiad running, hockey fans on this continent will have plenty of alternate programming from which to choose besides the cavalcade of winter sports emanating from the 2022 Games in Beijing.

The NHL and NHLPA announced their withdrawal from the erstwhile best-on-best tournament some weeks ago, requiring that ~three-week window to make up numerous games postponed due to COVID and related attendance restrictions in Canadian markets. On Wednesday afternoon, the NHL announced a revised slate designed to complete the regular season on the originally planned date of April 29.

For the Edmonton Oilers, 9 previously postponed games have now been rescheduled. 8 of those are compressed into a busy fortnight in mid-February, with the 9th slotted into what had been a 3-day break in early March. The club has provided details in this release .

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We have incorporated those revised dates in the below schedule of the remaining 47 games on the slate:

Home games are shown in bold , day games in italics , while all rescheduled games can be identified by a corresponding entry in the “Prior Date” column. Start times are shown in Mountain Standard Time.

If you wish to generate a printed copy, click on the schedule first to open it separately, then print (portrait mode works best).

8 of the rescehduled games will be played during a difficult 13-day span right after the newly-added All-Star weekend in Las Vegas, in which Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will participate. The main event is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Feb 05.

After that the going gets hot and heavy. The Oilers will have a 3-games-in-4-days homestand on Tue-Wed-Fri of the next week against Vegas, Chicago and the Islanders. They will enjoy a brief 2-day respite before a very tough 5-games-in-7-days the following week with a busy travel itinerary that necessitates a flight after each game. The Oil will play back-to-back in San Jose and Los Angeles on Monday-Tuesday, a home game vs. Anaheim on Thu, a road game in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon, then it’s straight back to Edmonton for a single home date against Minnesota Wild on the Sunday night.

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After that the regular season will pick up as already scheduled, with a tough 5-game roadie through the southeast. After a single game back at home vs. Montreal, one last rescheduled game will be inserted on Monday, Mar 07 at Calgary to fill a multi-day gap in the skeds of both Alberta clubs. That one at least involves minimal travel.

Add it all up and the Oilers will play their last 40 games in just 81 days following the 5-day All-Star break. They will face 6 back-to-backs of which 3 will be in the cluster of games in mid-February, the other 3 as previously scheduled. Oil fans can only hope that the goaltending situation has been resolved by then.

There’s some good news here in the sense that Oilers stars including McDavid and Draisaitl and possibly others no longer face the daunting mid-season trip to China with its attendant jump of 13 time zones from their expected departure and return destinations which were both on the eastern seaboard. It’s a lead pipe cinch that both would have been given major roles for their national sides. If anything, the new slate of 8 games in 13 days will be less strenuous than two flights across the Pacific and a high-intensity tournament sandwiched in the middle of what had been an 8-game eastern road trip.

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Of course, equivalent silver linings can be divined for other NHL clubs, many of whom would have had more Olympians than the Oilers. Fair to say each team will face its own challenges during the make-up period, though it will surely be toughest on those teams who currently hold games in hand.

Only 2 clubs, Ottawa and NY Islanders, have more games left to play than the Oilers’ 47. On the other hand, 4 divisional rivals including Vegas and all 3 California teams have at least 5 fewer games to play than do the Oil. All 4 squads currently enjoy a cushion of 6-10 points more than Edmonton’s 38, which will pressure the Oilers to win most of those games in hand.

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