Friday on Puck Daddy, Leahy took a highlighter to the NHL schedule like it was a college textbook, making special note of a few can't-miss dates.
Jarome Iginla's return to Calgary. John Tortorella's return to New York. The Winter Classic. Undoubtedly, some games are better than others.
And some are lesser. Let's be honest. If there are can't-miss dates, and there are, there are also some seriously can-miss dates.
I have found them for you. Here are five games that, unless you're being paid to watch, you can probably skip.
No offense to either of these teams -- I'm sure they'll be playing some truly entertaining hockey -- but no one is going to be watching this game. Across the country, a half hour earlier, the traitorous Daniel Alfredsson will be in Ottawa in a different jersey for the first time in his nearly two-decade NHL career. Shawn Horcoff's second game versus his old team probably doesn't have the same drawing power.
Yeah, you can probably go ahead and skip the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic. For one thing, it will be in BC Place stadium, which has a retractable roof -- that's hardly an outdoor game. For another, there will already have been five real outdoor games, so this one is likely to underwhelm. Furthermore, it almost always rains on March 2 and there's no flipping way it will be cold enough to snow, so for all we know they might close the roof. It might not even be an outdoor games. Finally, Vancouver and Ottawa have no rivalry to speak of and they're both Canadian, leading one to wonder why this game is scheduled to take place, inexplicably, on Hockey Day in America.
There are nine games scheduled for Thursday, March 20. At the top of the list, and included on our list of can't-misses, is Zach Parise's return to New Jersey. At the bottom is this one. Puck drop is just after 10 p.m. ET, and if you're planning to stay up for the late game after Parise's homecoming, you'll have your choice of Washington versus Los Angeles, Anaheim versus San Jose, or this intra-conference game featuring the impenetrable defensive shell of the Phoenix Coyotes.
We're late enough in the schedule that the Flames will likely have nothing left to play for, and it's entirely possible the Predators won't either. So why would you stay in on a Friday night to watch this game or watch it over Boston visiting Colorado, which begins at the same time? I submit that you would not.
5 | Sunday, Apr. 13 - NY Islanders at Buffalo Sabres
And speaking of teams that won't be in the playoff hunt, who, outside of Buffalo, is watching the Sabres' last game of the year? This one takes place on the final day of the season, a day which is sure to feature all sorts of divisional playoff battles and struggles for seeding. Meanwhile, the schedule also gives us this match between two likely non-playoff teams that aren't even in the same division, and it begins at 5 p.m. ET when four games that could all have playoff implications are just finishing. The only guy watching this game will be Arthur Staple.
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