Creating a 1,230-game NHL schedule is no easy task. Re-creating one is about as difficult as shoveling your car out of a snowdrift.
Now that the NHL has canceled the Capitals’ games against the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguinson Friday and Sunday due to this weekend’s winter snowstorm, what are some possible dates for makeup games?
It’s entirely possible the NHL will have to extend the Capitals’ regular season beyond April 9.
Let’s start with the Ducks, who are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings at 7 p.m. Following their game against the Red Wings the Ducks have two days available on Sunday and Monday before visiting Boston on Tuesday night.
The Wizards are at Verizon Center on Monday night against the Boston Celtics, so the only way the Caps and Ducks could play on Monday is to face off in the afternoon, but that appears unlikely at this point. (By the way, the Caps will not practice on Saturday orSunday and are planning a practice at Kettler on Monday).
Looking beyond the NHL All-Star break, which begins on Thursday, the Ducks return East on Feb. 7, but they have four games in six days on that trip with stops in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Columbus and Chicago. CBA bylaws prevent teams from playing more than four games in a six-day span, so there are no available dates during that trip.
The Ducks are back East again on March 19, but play every other night that week as well with Canadian stops in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.
If the NHL can’t coordinate a Caps-Ducks game during the regular season, as a last resort it could tack on a game at the end of the regular season schedule, perhaps an April 11 date at Verizon Center, when the Wizards are in Brooklyn.
You would think rescheduling Sunday’s game between the Caps and Penguins would be a little easier because of travel. Think again.
The Pens are home against the Devils on Tuesday, so that’s out of the question. There are no other dates in the regular season in which the Verizon Center is available , both teams have open dates, and a CBA violation does not occur in terms of playing more than four games in a six-day span.
So, we could see the Caps extending their regular season beyond April 9, which theoretically could delay the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.