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Teams that face the most travel, back-to-back sets in 2014-15

Jun 22, 2014, 11:49 PM EDT

Ryan Miller, Tim Kennedy, Steve Ott AP

Hockey fans love to brag about the toughness of players, so it only makes sense that there’s also a subset of fans who frequently bellow about which team faces the toughest schedule.

With the release of the 2014-15 schedules for all 30 teams, it’s likely that those arguments began to crop up on Sunday. Dirk Hoag’s annual “Super Schedule” post has been a godsend for such trivial – if entertaining – debates, so there were a few people who were quite excited when he put it up on Hockey HQ.

We can quibble about the impact of stronger divisional opponents on a team’s schedule and the timing of road/home stretches, yet people generally lean on two overarching standards: 1) how much travel a squad faces and/or 2) the number of back-to-back sets in a season.

As subjective as these debates can be, things get more black-and-white when you look at it from a numbers standpoint:

Travel

Click here for the full lists, but let’s break things down by the top five and bottom five in travel first:

Most travel

1. Arizona Coyotes – 49,818 miles
2. Dallas Stars – 48,216
3. Anaheim Ducks – 46,967
4. Edmonton Oilers – 45,597
5. San Jose Sharks – 45,318

(Vancouver’s just behind at 45,173.)

Least travel

1. Philadelphia Flyers – 31,272 miles
2. Pittsburgh Penguins – 32,444
3. New York Islanders – 33,214
4. Ottawa Senators – 33,421
5. New Jersey Devils – 33,597

Notes: The Toronto Maple Leafs (34,020) and Detroit Red Wings (34,179) have pretty light travel loads, too. In 2013-14, the Coyotes (then Phoenix) faced the second-largest amount of travel miles at 52,633, second only to the San Jose Sharks (57,612). As you may notice, no team will travel more than 50,000 miles this season. The New York Rangers and New York Islanders faced less than 30,000 miles last season.

Back-to-back games

Most back-to-back sets

1 (tied). Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets – 19 back-to-back sets
3 (tied). New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs – 18
5. Pittsburgh Penguins – 17

Five teams are tied for sixth with 16 back-to-back sets (Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins.)

Fewest back-to-back sets

1. (tied) Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings – nine
3. Calgary Flames – 10
4 (tied) – Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers – 11

Notes: Three teams (Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Detroit) are next in back-to-back sets with 12. In 2013-14, the New Jersey Devils (22) and Carolina Hurricanes (20) eclipsed the 20 back-to-back set mark. The Jets tied for the fewest back-to-back games with 10 last season, too.

***

If there’s one clear takeaway from comparing this season’s super schedule to the 2013-14, it’s that schedules are quite a bit more balanced this time around. After all, there’s no lockout or Olympic break to wrestle with this time around. Maybe Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said it the best/worst, though:

*Scratches head in confusion*

  1. esracerx46 - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    Wouldn’t that be longhand for toughest schedule?

    How they can have teams that have more than double the amount of back to backs as others just seems unfair. As for Todd Richards comments, I’m pretty sure that’s a yogi-ism.

    • strictlythedanks - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:44 AM

      Fun factoid about Todd Richards, after he was fired in Minnesota he gave these remarks to reporters:

      “I’m going to a movie, I think it’s that new comedy called ‘Your Highness,’ that one with Natalie Portman and that guy I like from ‘Eastbound and Down,’ I think his name is Danny McBride,” Richards, chuckling, told the Star Tribune on Monday. “That’s exactly what I’m doing next: I’m going to a movie.”

      “Whenever I need time to get away and relax and take a deep breath, that’s my escape.”

      Todds clearly got a good sense of humor and if I had to guess is a bit of a Clayton Stoner.

  2. nj666 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    The most and least travel teams are all in locations where its a pretty much no $ hit situation…

  3. steelcity333 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Oh my God, the Penguins travel the second least amount of miles. The NHL clearly is setting them up for a great season. The fix is in.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:16 AM

      Actually, the fix would be if a WC team had the least miles. So, in the interests, EC teams should have the most back to backs. Still would not be fair as they would still likely have more rest than WC teams.

      So what’s the EC’s excuse for having inferior inter-conference play and SC results year after year?

    • 950003cups - Jun 23, 2014 at 5:36 AM

      The league is clearly making it hard for the pens to tank again for a top pick. Bettman is upset that they took his golden boy Crosby and got him only one cup. However I also heard Mario Lemieux has a master plan in effect.

  4. howintensive - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    Look at home/away distribution. I know that Detroit has a lot of home games early on and more away games later in the season. Are any other teams like that?

  5. kc114 - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    For the most part the regular season doesn’t mean much. Wake me up in April.

    • scoochpooch - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      How could people thumbs down this comment?
      in 19 of the past 30 years, a #4 seed or lower has reached the Stanley Cup Final.
      The regular season means very little and will do so until you give incentives to the #1 and #2 seeds in each conference.

  6. blomfeld - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    TRAVEL SCHMAVEL !!!

    We SC Champion LA Kings couldn’t give a crap about your ‘pathetic travel concerns !!!!

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

    • parkway4 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      U2 sucks. Go back to being a Lakers fan.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      I hate U2 and the hypocrite Bono in particular…. their album with Sunday Bloody Sunday was their best, everything else was downhill…

  7. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Less teams in the west, no doubt, they would travel the most

    • esracerx46 - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      That doesn’t even make sense. But since your having trouble with why Western Conference teams travel more, do yourself a favor and look at a distribution map of NHL teams.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Probably the biggest perk about Philly’s travel schedule is that they could go on “road trips” and still be home sleeping in their own beds at night because there’s so many teams close together. I singled out Philly but really that goes for pretty much the entire Patrick Division….yes that name is better than Metro.

  9. 950003cups - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    Why do they always screw the devils? Last home opener, and 2nd most B2Bs. Rags not even on the list again. The league bends over backwards for the blueskirts.

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      Payback for the “LW Lock?”

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      hate the blueskirts

  10. cavafox - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    What about home and homes?

  11. Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    IMHO, Travel time is not an issue. Look how much better the western conference was than the east last season. Travel time has little to no effect on results… It’s not like players are stuck sitting in un-air-conditioned buses for half a day. They take a few hours to fly. Not a big deal in 2014.

  12. scoochpooch - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Is this a veiled complaint article. If we’re judging player toughness on how their schedule is laid out, then we’d have to surmise that there is a lack of toughness present. Compare the teams’ schedules pre-1994 to today. There are so many more off days, sometimes teams only play once a week. And then look at the playoffs, in 1993 teams played every 2 days without question. In today’s game, matchups often get 3-4 days off between games in the same city. Terrible scheduling has forced the season from a mid may conclusion to mid June end. Hockey in June is ridiculous.

  13. dueman - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    I agree with everything except your last sentence…”Hockey in June is ridiculous” – I love hockey, and would enjoy even more games!

  14. adambath - Jun 23, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    4 teams are tied at 12 back to back sets, not 3… Dallas also has 12…

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