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The Unbalanced Schedule In The AHL

from Tim Leone of PennLive,

Yingst is a member of the AHL's Board of Governors, which last week made it official that the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings), San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks), San Jose Barracuda (San Jose Sharks) and Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) will play 10.5 percent fewer regular-season games.

It was that or risk their potential AHL exit....

As a practical matter, it will only affect the Western Conference teams, particularly the Texas-based members of the Pacific Division. The San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars will play 76 games (standings positions will be decided by points percentage rather than straight points).

Every team in the Eastern Conference will play the same number of games.

"It would be nice if there was some common ground where everybody was playing the same amount of games," Bears head coach Troy Mann said. "But from our perspective, the Eastern Conference is all set at 76.

"You hope maybe once everybody gets a feel for the new teams, the new division alignments, that maybe they come to some agreement where everybody can play the same amount of games. It's not for me to determine that. Overall, we can't really worry about it. We've got to just worry about the conference itself."

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Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl

Comments

Primis's avatar

What a joke.

They should have told the Pacific teams to go f*** themselves and told them to go dark for next season if they didn’t like the 76-game schedule.  Those markets can’t afford that either, and the AHL had all the leverage in the world.  They KNEW the AHL is 76 games when they joined, and then once they joined they cried that they can;t manage it?  How f***ing stupid is this whole thing?

Instead, now what they’ve done is create the precedent that the Pacific teams can ALWAYS dictate their own terms w/ the league.  So not only will they likely never, ever play the same amount of games, but you can bet next season those Governors will be seeking even *more* special exceptions for travel and then some.  Because now you’ve done it once.

If the AHL had any balls, they’d have agreed to the less games but told the Pacific teams that playoffs would still be point-based.  “So…. have fun qualifying for the playoffs that way, losers!”.

Did those markets want in on AAA hockey or not?  It sure doesn’t sound like they did.  They want AA schedules and AA travel exceptions.  This ain’t the ECHL…  just a terrible precedent for the AHL to set.

I hope every single one of these Pacific teams is an unmitigated disaster next season.  I hope they bleed so much money next season their NHL clubs give up on them en masse and they all go dark.  Screw them, screw that entire division.

Posted by Primis on 07/14/15 at 09:30 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Posted by Primis on 07/14/15 at 09:30 AM ET

but how do you really feel?

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/14/15 at 09:39 AM ET

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It really is absolutely absurd that they would do this.

Posted by Garth on 07/14/15 at 10:22 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

Primis, the AHL is trying to work with the NHL to make this work. The top priority is player development, and if that means an unbalanced schedule and potentially unfair outcomes for their clubs/league, so be it. It’s a developmental league. It seems better that, for instance, LA call-ups won’t have to fly from Manchester, NH to LA each time their summoned. Instead, they can drive from Ontario, CA. With the priority of the league being player development and cohesion with the parent clubs, this seems like a better solution than no western teams at all.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/14/15 at 10:25 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

They’re*** summoned.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/14/15 at 10:26 AM ET

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It seems better that, for instance, LA call-ups won’t have to fly from Manchester, NH to LA each time their summoned. Instead, they can drive from Ontario, CA.

Why?

Unless there are catastrophic injuries to the Kings we’re talking about maybe a handful of trips being made.  This isn’t a case in which there are going to be players streaming back and forth between the teams.

And is it better that, instead of playing hockey, the western-based teams will spend days on a bus traveling across the country to get to a road trip?

Posted by Garth on 07/14/15 at 10:50 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

Garth, I feel like AHL players shuttle pretty frequently from the AHL to NHL and vice-versa pretty frequently, no?

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/14/15 at 11:46 AM ET

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Can anyone point out any other professional sports league that does this?

Posted by neffernin on 07/14/15 at 11:55 AM ET

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Garth, I feel like AHL players shuttle pretty frequently from the AHL to NHL and vice-versa pretty frequently, no?

Well, 26 players played at least one game for the Kings last year, and the starting roster is 23 players, so three got called up last season, and I’m sure there were a couple more who may have been called up but didn’t dress for a game.

Is that worth an unbalanced schedule?

Not to mention that we don’t know where those three players were when they were called up.  Unless the Pacific Division teams don’t play ANY games on the East coast, how does this situation help the Kings of the Reign are playing in Grand Rapids when they want to call a player up?

And how does it help Calgary and Edmonton, whose affiliates are still 2000 and 2800 miles away, respectively.  A Bakersfield Condor, being called up from Edmonton, will have 22 hour drive or 5 hour (with connections!) flight from Bakersfield to Edmonton in order to get there.

Not to mention that it’s not even like an entire division has fewer games than the rest, the California teams play a different number of games that the other teams in their own division.

This is a complete clusterfuck.

Posted by Garth on 07/14/15 at 12:06 PM ET

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I didn’t realize that an entire division is not affected. This is ridiculous if it’s not even inside a division let alone a conference. Ridiculous. They should make the parent clubs supplement the bottom line of the AHL clubs’ budgets rather than destroy the integrity of equality and parity.

Posted by teldar on 07/14/15 at 12:44 PM ET

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Hmm, I am confused.  Did the AHL delete some Eastern teams to add the Western teams?  If not,  the sponsorships that moved West, what about the teams in the east are they in limbo?  Strange???

Posted by jhpcarrier97 on 07/14/15 at 01:49 PM ET

Paul's avatar

jhp, here are recently KK posts with the AHL tag, maybe your question can be answered.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/14/15 at 01:51 PM ET

shazam88's avatar


Well, 26 players played at least one game for the Kings last year, and the starting roster is 23 players, so three got called up last season, and I’m sure there were a couple more who may have been called up but didn’t dress for a game.

Posted by Garth on 07/14/15 at 12:06 PM ET

When the Voynov incident went down there was an emergency call up and I’m pretty sure we played short one game before David Van Der Gullik (sic?) met the team. It seems to happen once every couple of years that there is a scenario where an emergency call up is needed, but sometimes AHL call ups simply weren’t made due to the time from Manchester. Pretty sure Brayden Schenn was called up on an emergency basis from the WHL once because they couldn’t pull in a player from the AHL in time. Either way, as much as I love hockey I just don’t get that worked up about it, so Kings playing short or funny AHL schedule…c’est la vie.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/14/15 at 04:36 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

When Abbotsford had a team, they were as far west as the California teams and they had it worse since they were to only team in the time zone.  They didn’t get a reduced schedule.

The idea of a reduced schedule is dumb and goes against the basic fairness in a league.  It seems strange that idea is coming out now instead of a few years ago.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/14/15 at 05:48 PM ET

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I don’t know why they don’t just take whatever they have in mind now and make the California teams play an extra home-and-home against each other to make it an even 76 for everybody.

The AHL already had a wickedly unbalanced scheduling system with each team getting its own custom-tailored, geography-based matrix. Take, for example, Utica (Western Conference, North Division) last season. Within their division, 12 games against Adirondack, 10 against Rochester, and 8 against Toronto and Hamilton. They played 6 games apiece against relatively nearby (but out of conference) Syracuse, Albany, and Binghamton. Meanwhile, most teams (for example, Grand Rapids) played a grand total of 0 out-of-conference games all year long.

Competitive balance and fairness is a secondary consideration for a league whose primary purpose is development (rather than on-ice success) and teams are operating on much smaller budgets than the major leagues. But teams playing a differing number of games is just stupid. If the NHL wanted the AHL in California so badly, then the NHL can pony up the extra travel costs.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/15/15 at 12:01 AM ET

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I don’t know why they don’t just take whatever they have in mind now and make the California teams play an extra home-and-home against each other to make it an even 76 for everybody.

That’s the thing.  A solution is very simple.  Having them play eachother more than other divisions do would not be 100% “fair” but it would be way, way, way better than this garbage.

Posted by Garth on 07/15/15 at 10:43 AM ET

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Its bad to play less games then rest of the league but the real travesty will be come playoff time.  The eastern conference will have played on a larger area of the country while the western conference had short bus trip along the coast (in nice weather)  Eastern conference players will be a little more worn out come playoff time then the western players.  The AHL should of had balls enough to avoid this.  The very very least they could do is come playoff finals the eastern conference WILL have home ice advantage.

Posted by Beast of the East on 08/09/15 at 11:44 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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