Earlier today, the National Hockey League announced 29 re-scheduled games in light of postponed games involving the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, and Minnesota Wild among others. Unlike the last re-scheduling, 4 postponed games did not lead to 13 changes for the Devils’ schedule. This time, three postponed games yielded six new dates. The New Jersey Devils’ website highlighted the six new dates and times:
- New Jersey Devils will visit the Washington Capitals on February 21 at 7 PM instead of on March 7.
- New Jersey Devils will visit the Boston Bruins on March 7 at 5 PM instead of on February 15 (which was postponed).
- New Jersey Devils will host the New York Islanders on March 14 at 5 PM instead of on April 27.
- New Jersey Devils will visit the Philadelphia Flyers on April 25 at 6 PM instead of on February 11 (which was postponed).
- New Jersey Devils will host the Philadelphia Flyers on April 27 at 7 PM instead of on April 1.
- New Jersey Devils will visit the Philadelphia Flyers on May 10 at 7 PM instead of on February 13 (which was postponed).
With these changes, the New Jersey Devils’ season will end on May 10 instead of May 8. They will also play back-to-back every weekend except on the weekends of April 3, April 10, May 2, and May 9. Even on those dates, the Devils will still have two games in three days. The already compact schedule became much more compact. There will be little time for practices and for minor injuries to heal up. I would expect the Devils - and pretty much the whole NHL - to make a lot of use of their taxi squad.
The changes in the schedule also mean that the Devils will be playing almost exclusively on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the week. They only have two games on Monday, which are both in May; and three on Fridays. If you must see every Devils game - and you should for you are a Devils fan and a Person Who Matters - then make any non-hockey plans on Wednesdays. The Devils have no games set for that day in the remainder of this twice-adjusted schedule.
In terms of the opponents, the Devils will be seeing Washington for the first time this season a week earlier than originally scheduled. It also means that March is less heavy on the Capitals games as three of them are now in this month and two are in April. Due to the last set of re-scheduled games from the league, Pittsburgh will now be the last opponent the Devils face this season. They will not face the Pens until March 18. They will get very familiar with the Penguins in April as they will face them six times in that month with four of those games surrounding the Week of Hate(TM) from April 12 to April 19. That is correct; the NHL schedule makers kept the four straight games against Our Hated Rivals intact. At least there is that.
The biggest point to make is that, again, all schedules are subject to change. Even in the NHL’s announcement, there are six games yet to be given a new date and time. Three of them are Philadelphia games, which could lead to further changes for any of the other East division teams if needed. These changes did not extend out the Devils’ season much. However, there is nothing stopping other teams in the East from having an unfortunate outbreak like the Devils, Sabres, and Flyers endured and are still enduring for some players and staff members. That could cause additional changes and further move things around. Still, the NHL has least maintained its objective of having a 56-game schedule for the Devils with these changes announced today. I hope they are able to play as many of these as possible.
What do you think of the schedule changes for the Devils that were announced today? Do any of the new dates interest you? Are you keeping Tuesdays, Thursdays, and your weekends clear as much as possible for Devils hockey? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the NHL’s second re-scheduling of Devils games in the comments. Thank you for reading.