The next NHL schedule is expected to be released next week, and at least one of the features that defined the schedule in the pandemic-affected season of 2020-21 will be incorporated into the new one.
That feature will be more of the back-to-back home/road “series” format that was so much a part of this past one, a league source tells National Hockey Now Sr. reporter Adrian Dater. While it will not be as heavily a part of the last division-only schedule, because every team is expected to play each other at least once in the 2021-21 season, there will still be many instances in which teams play back-to-back games in the same city.
That became a popular innovation to the 56-game, inter-division schedule forced by the pandemic. Players enjoyed not having to run around as much and hopping on airplanes after every road game. It also greatly cut down on teams’ travel expenses and, frankly, cut down on carbon emissions from all that airplane fuel. CHN was the first to break the news of such an innovation last December.
The Flyers had several short trips and enjoyed their low-mileage schedule last season. The results didn’t show up on the ice, but it was nice to have all Flyers games start at a (relatively) normal time. Hopefully, in a full 82-game season, the Flyers can bounce back in a big way. The acquisition of Ryan Ellis will certainly help them out.
It is something that may become a permanent part of the NHL landscape beyond this coming season too.
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