The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens were going to need to have their postponed games from last week rescheduled. It was obvious there wouldn’t be many ways to make that necessary changes without tightening an already condensed season, but the new dates the NHL has set for both the Oilers and Habs is painful.
The NHL has made official the new schedule for both the Oilers and Canadiens after their three game series was put on hold last week due to COVID protocol issues. There was talk that the games might have to be tacked onto the end of the season and just before the playoffs. For the most part, that’s exactly what has happened.
For the Oilers, the game on March 22 is now scheduled for March 30, which means Edmonton will play in back-to-back games versus the Maple Leafs and Canadiens on Monday and Tuesday this week. The game slated for April 20 will now be played on April 21 and the games listed for March 24 and March 26th, will be moved to May 10 and May 11th (the season ends May 11).
For the Oilers, travel this week will be arduous as they go from Toronto to Montreal, then head back to Edmonton to take on the Flames on Friday, April 2nd. But, that’s nothing compared to what they’ll be dealing with at the end of the regular season with five games in eight nights, all on the road. They’ll start in Vancouver, head to Calgary and the finish in Montreal.
The Canadiens got blasted by the NHL as well. As the try to fight for their playoff lives, they’ll play six games in nine nights to close out the 2020-21 campaign. Every game could be huge for the team and a win or a loss could mean making the postseason or being on the outside looking in.
This Is Tough, Even For Players Used to Quick Turn Arounds
While the NHL tried to keep things simple by having the Canadiens playing three games this week and from then on, four games a week to close out the season, as Allan Mitchell of The Athletic writes, “This is wildly unfair. Seriously. All these teams are playing too often, but the odds of injury for Montreal are through the roof with that kind of turnaround. Extend the season a week.”
It doesn’t appear the NHL wants to delay that start of the playoffs so both teams will have to play a ton of hockey. What’s interesting is that the league chose not to cancel the by-week this season. That extra seven days could have helped spread games out a little better and the Oilers and Canadiens certainly would have preferred that.
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